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I borrowed money from a friend, but the terms were unfair | Dear Mariella

Mixing money with friendship is a bad idea, says Mariella Frostrup. It sows resentment and poisons relationshipsThe dilemma I made the classic mistake

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Mixing money with friendship is a bad idea, says Mariella Frostrup. It sows resentment and poisons relationships

The dilemma I made the classic mistake of mixing friendship and money which, of course, turned out to be disastrous. Two years back I ended up in a tight spot. My best friend of 25 years offered me a loan that, in her words, I could pay back in my own time. It was a sum that I’d have struggled to borrow, but it would save my business. In return I felt obliged to offer her an interest in my business.

Before signing the contract, she proposed partially merging our businesses, for which she’d knock off part of the debt. I had doubts, but it felt difficult to deliberate the situation properly among the chaos in my life. When I was able to sit back and think, I decided to renegotiate. It ended in disaster. She gave me an ultimatum: go along with her plan or pay the whole sum back in a few months’ time. If not, there would be lawyers involved.

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