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Neither a Borrower nor a Lender Be

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Thanks for all your comments last week. I went to the neighbourhood council meeting last night and introduced myself. I have told them that I will probably join, but that I need a bit of time to think about it because of the cost.

I’ll let you know how it all works out.

Actually, money is the topic of this week’s blog as well. The title of this entry is taken from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It is a well-known saying in English-speaking countries.

Basically, it means that it is not a good idea either to lend money to people or to borrow it from them. I suppose it makes sense, but I have both borrowed money from friends and lent it in the past, and I was wondering what all of you think about this topic.

If someone wants to borrow money from me, I ask myself a number of questions:

1) Is this a person who would do the same for me if I needed it?

2) Is this an amount of money that I could afford to lose without getting into trouble?

3) Does the person’s explanation as to why they need the money seem reasonable?

4) Do they have a sensible plan as to how they are going to pay it back?

If the answer to all of those questions is “yes,” I am quite happy to lend money to people if they need it. If I am the one who needs to borrow money, I just ask myself the same questions in reverse.

So what do you think? Have you ever lent money to or borrowed money from friends? Do you have a personal “policy” about this?

Look forward to hearing your opinions.

このブログは英語学習者のためのものです。レベルの高い人もいれば、初心者もいますので、自分のレベルや学習経験を気にする必要はありません。「いつもコメントを書いている人は仲間みたいだから参加しにくい」と思う方もいるかもしれませんが、勇気を出してコメントを書いてみてください。必ず温かく迎えてもらえます。多くのコメントは英語で書かれていますが、もちろん日本語もOKですし、英語と日本語を混ぜて書いても大丈夫です。言いたいことが言えないときは、How do you say 「〜」in English? と聞けば、きっとだれかが教えてくれると思います。私のエントリー、または他のメンバーのコメントの中に分からないところがあったら、「”…”はどういう意味ですか?」と遠慮なく聞いてください。このブログで使われているフレーズや表現をたくさん吸収すると、より自然な英語に近づけることができますよ!

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  1. Biwa on 2014年03月25日 at 08:17

    Hi everyone,

    I wonder if this “borrowing money” includes borrowing just a couple of thousand yen. If so, I have both lent money to friends and borrowed it from them. When we were really young, we sometimes bar-hopped till very late and miss the last train, so we had to take taxis to go home.(Of course, we don’t do it anymore!) Anyway, we would check our wallets and borrow money from the one who had it if we didn’t have enough to reach home. However, we would pay it back on the next day, so it wasn’t anything that serious which means we never needed any IOUs. By the way, I didn’t know that IOU was “I owe you” which is the informal written note of the debt. It’s interesting!

  2. Kattie on 2014年03月25日 at 10:09

    Hi everyone,

    I’ve just finished painting for the evening and am enjoying a glass of wine while reading this week’s entry. I don’t really have a policy, I’ve never lent any large sums because I’ve never been asked but if a friend asks to borrow money, I lend it, if I have it.

    Hi Biwa,

    >we sometimes bar-hopped till very late and miss the last train, so we had to take taxis to go home (Of course, we don’t do it anymore!)
    Maybe you will get the chance to do it again when your sons are a bit older.

  3. David on 2014年03月25日 at 12:20

    Hi Biwa, I was thinking about larger amounts of money, but then I guess it’s interesting to know what people think of as a “large amount.” I think the most I ever lent a friend was 1,000,000 yen.

    Hi Kattie,

    Sorry I haven’t had a chance to say congratulations on your move. It sounds like that glass of wine was very well deserved! I’m looking forward to seeing the new place in the summer.

  4. YU on 2014年03月25日 at 15:39

    Hi David,

    >I have told them that I will probably join

    May I ask why you put “have” before “told” here?

    Hi everyone,

    I make it a rule not to lend money to people(except for my family) or to borrow it from them because I believe it could easily ruin your friendship if you or your friend forgot about it.
    I’ve lend a couple of thousand yen to my friends in the past too, but in those cases I always convince myself that I give it to them and don’t expect it will be payed back.

  5. Fumie on 2014年03月25日 at 21:57

    Hi David and everyone,

    I’ve never lent large amounts of money to anyone or borrow it from anyone. And what I think as a large amount to lend money to or borrow money from others is more than one million yen. I don’t want to lend money to or borrow money from my friends even close ones as the same reason as YU’s. But if my family or relatives asked me to lend money, I would probably help them.

  6. Biwa on 2014年03月26日 at 10:34

    Hi David,

    1,000,000 yen is certainly a large amount. A tenth of it is already large to me. I wonder what your friend wanted to use it for, and how long it took him(her?) to pay it back.

    I think I would lend money if I were asked, but to be honest, I can’t really think of a situation where I would have to borrow such big an amount from a friend. Maybe when someone in my family gets in a car accident and needs a sudden operation? It’s scary just thinking about it, but even in such cases, borrowing money from a friend would probably be my last resort because I don’t think I would be able to pay it back on the next payday, and if I had to owe a friend for a longer period of time, I would probably go to the bank first!

  7. Anne on 2014年03月26日 at 14:27

    Hi David and everyone,

    For me, a million yen is a large amount of money. I’ve never borrowed from or lent money to anyone because it could ruin a friendship. Luckily, I’ve never been asked to do so. Having said that, I buy tickets for trips or concerts for my friends when they and I go together and they do the same thing for me. Of course, they pay back to me! I’m not sure whether or not this is the same as borrowing or lending,though.

  8. Kai on 2014年03月26日 at 17:39

    Hi David and Everyone!

    I think, borrowing and lending money is not good even if he or her is good friend.
    I agree what Anne says about ruin friendships.
    Borrowing and lending money has a big risk which can ruin your life sometimes.
    So we must not borrow and lend money someone until cultivate perfect trust relationship.
    In that regard I agree what Davis says too.
    Relationship is really complicated haha

    I don’t know my sentence is correct or not.My English structure is messed up I think. So if you guys find any mistakes, please teach me why it’s wrong and how to make proper sentence.

  9. YU on 2014年03月26日 at 20:46

    correction ;

    >I’ve lend a couple of thousand yen
    -I’ve lent …

    Hi Anne,

    > I’m not sure whether or not this is the same as borrowing or lending,though.

    Good question.
    I think they’re slightly different. I would buy tickets for my friends too because I’ll have a chance to collect the money when I give it to them, but it’s not easy for you to press your friends to pay back the money you lent them when they completely forget about it, isn’t it? For the same reason I don’t really like to lend other things like books or CDs, either.

    Hi everyone,

    I would not easily lend large amounts of money like 1,000,000yen even to my brother, needless to say I wouldn’t do it to my friends. The main reason is that I have a family. I agree with Biwa that borrowing money from friends is my last resort.

  10. Kattie on 2014年03月26日 at 20:57

    Hi everyone,

    It’s not always easy to borrow from banks and, even if you do, the interest charged is often ridiculously high.

    If a good friend of mine wanted to borrow a large amount of money because they couldn’t borrow elsewhere and I thought they were trustworthy and could pay me back, I’m pretty sure I would lend it, providing I could afford to. Have you heard the expression ‘A friend in need, is a friend indeed.’

    Hi David,

    Thanks and we look forward to seeing you in the summer.

  11. Biwa on 2014年03月27日 at 08:43

    Hi Kattie and everyone,

    >It’s not always easy to borrow from banks and, even if you do, the interest charged is often ridiculously high.

    You’re right. That is precisely why I would think I need to pay it back to my friend as soon as possible, even just a day sooner. If you didn’t borrow the money, your friend could gain some interest from it, especially if it was a large sum.

    Having said that, if my friend wanted to borrow money, I would probably lend it, for the same conditions as you say. I find it interesting that some of us are willing to lend money, but we actually never have. I think it takes more courage to borrow a large sum from a friend than to lend it. By the way, we also have an expression “A near friend is better than a far-dwelling kinsman.”

  12. YU on 2014年03月27日 at 10:32

    Hi Kattie,

    I know the expression and I know exactly what you mean, but if I were you, I’d hesitate to lend a large amount of money to the friends as soon as I hear they couldn’t borrow elsewhere because I suspect that means they’re already deep in debt and I don’t think you can expect they would pay back as they explain.

    Well, I’d like to do the same as you if my family was rich and didn’t have an enormous amount of housing loan ourselves or if I were still single and didn’t have a young child who will need tons of school expenses. I think you should always be ready for that the money might not be payed back when you lend money to someone even if you thought that the person was trustworthy. In reality there’re any number of money trouble stories between good friends in this world, so like David, I always lend the amount of money that I could afford to lose without getting into trouble too and it’s never more than 10,000yen in my case.

  13. YU on 2014年03月27日 at 14:07

    Sorry, I forgot to mention this.

    ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed.’

    I suppose it makes sense, but if the friends broke with me because I didn’t lend them money for reasons, I would think they weren’t friends indeed.

  14. Anne on 2014年03月28日 at 05:46

    Hi Kattie,

    I know this saying and understand what you mean. If I were to lend, I’ll do it when I’m sure that I won’t blame my friend even though he/she can’t pay back to me. Of course, no one has such an idea when he/she borrow money, but it could be in such a result. Am I too sceptical about friendship?

  15. YU on 2014年03月28日 at 11:48

    Hi everyone,

    I agree with Anne.
    I’ve lent money, CDs or books to my firends. Some of them payed back/returned, some didn’t, but I’ve never pressed them to pay back/return because it’s not easy for me to say a single word “Pay back./Return.” to their faces. However, I have to adimit that I naturally came to keep distance from them. I might sound very ungenerous, but I couldn’t help remembering money, CDs and books I lent them whenever I saw them after that.

    I guess most of us have expereinced things like that, so we become careful with lending money to a friend because we don’t want to lose friends.
shemale lesbian.