When Gerard Massey covers the bill at a local pizza parlor in Tallahassee, Fla., he tells his friends who owe him money straight-up: Debit or credit only.
"I don't carry cash," he said. "I would rather have the money right away where I can see a track record." In order to do that, Massey, 24, keeps Square -- a little fob that can turn an iPhone or iPad into a payment center -- on him at all times.
But when it comes to collecting money from friends, Massey is likely an outlier. For most whose friends owe them money, getting any kind of money back at all is something to celebrate. Amidst news this week of multimillion dollar claw-backs aimed at banking executives and corporate attorneys by their former employers, it raised the question: Why don't ordinary people have claw-backs for money and other stuff loaned to friends?
Here are five reasons your friends will never pay you back:
1. They never planned to pay you back in the first place. Emily Post, the mistress of manners, offers up this cardinal rule of lending things to friends: Don’t lend out items you really care about. In other words, don't ever plan on ever seeing that borrowed item -- ahem, money -- ever again.
2. You're being way too nice. Manners expert Thomas P. Farley, who runs the website What Manners Most, says the polite thing to do, if it's a small amount of money, is not to make an issue out of it at the risk of hurting the friendship. "If you're out with a friend, when bill arrives, say, 'Is it okay to put that $10 toward my tab?' Then it is nonthreatening," Farley suggests. "Bring it up once but don't harp on it." In other words, being a pushover is actually a hidden cost of being good friend.
3. You're not using robots to do your dirty work. Your friends are ignoring you because it's easy to do that. So use technology to do your dirty work and save yourself the mental anguish. Free app Venmo, available for both iPhone and Android phones, can help you collect debts from your friends. The app allows people to make and receive payments to and from each other -- for coffee, drinks, babysitting, whatever -- for free. It will even send reminders to those who are overdue on their bills. Or, like Massey, ask for a card swipe. On the downside, mobile payment companies like Square and PayPal Here take a small percentage of the payment for processing fees. On the plus side, the technology tracks the repayment and even emails both lender and borrower a receipt. Massey says he is okay getting $9.72 -- which represents the 2.75 percent processing fee on Square -- for a $10 loan because it's convenient.
4. The loan never happened. Here's some free legal advice: Get it in writing. If it's a large amount of money -- several hundred dollars or more -- a loan gone bad can effectively kill a friendship. But for the lender, that slip of paper can do something else: It could provide evidence for a write-off on taxes should the borrower default. IOUs can be as informal as an email or something more official like a legal contract. Website LendingKarma.com provides contracts for friend-to-friend loans, an effective tool should you need longer claws for getting your stuff back.
5. Your friends know you won't break up with them. If you have friends who borrow stuff and don't give it back, then you have a different problem: either bad friends or bad boundaries.
Below, Huffington Post readers tweeted us their favorite ways to claw back money and other stuff:
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article miscalculated the fee that would be paid to a mobile payment company on a transfer of $10.
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