Dear Nicole: How do I get a friend to pay me back?

Dear Nicole,

I lent my friend $500 about six months ago. She was in a bad spot and, while I had the money, I would really like it paid back, as I’m not in the strongest financial situation myself. She has basically dropped off the face of the Earth since I sent her the check. What can I do?

Loan Goldfish (as opposed to Shark)

Lending anyone money, friend or family, is asking for trouble. The rule is you don’t lend any money you would be sad to never see again, and now you know firsthand why. People don’t think of situations the way you and I do (I hate owing anyone any money); they feel sorry for themselves. They see you as some rich person while they are very poor and needy. They see themselves as still being in this dire situation and how can you even expect to be paid this money right now?

So propose a payment plan: $25/week until it is paid off and follow up several times over the course of a couple weeks so she knows you’re serious. If she doesn’t respond to your emails, phone calls or visits (depending on your relationship), you can kiss that money goodbye. You’d spend more going after her in small claims court. Just be thankful that it was a relatively small amount of money (think of those people who have cosigned for cars or $100,000 college tuition!) and resolve not to lend again and to only give from here on out.


Dear Nicole,

Every time I go to a wedding, it seems I end up hooking up with some girlfriend of the bride for a one-night stand. One minute we’re doing the Hokey Pokey and by the time we turn ourselves around, bada bing. I always regret it the next morning. It’s awkward for me and always strains my friendship with the bride when she finds out I don’t really want to date her friend. Should I just lay off the booze and try not to get into the spirit of the moment? What fun would that be?

Suited Stud

I saw a friend a few days ago who hasn’t been dating in several years who was psyched she recently hooked up at a wedding. Maybe you two know each other? Seriously, some people are looking for a bit of indoor (or outdoor as the case may be) recreation, both male and female. As long as everyone is up front about their intentions before taking their clothes off, it is fine.

I would ask you to probably stop doing this if any of the following is true:

The women you are doing this with are not conscious enough to give you actual consent.

You didn’t or don’t want to have a ‘this is just for tonight,’ one-minute conversation.

The strained friendship with the bride is not worth more than a short hookup.

If you can’t stop yourself, or can’t imagine a world where you could have fun not getting drunk, you may want to stop drinking and start talking to someone about that.

Honestly, I just had a wedding and was hoping someone would hook up at it (it was a brunch, so the morning aspect of this would have been impressive). Didn’t happen… that I know of. Here’s hoping I was wrong.


Dear Nicole,

I just got some of my wedding pictures back (well, uploaded to Facebook anyway) and I look fat. I am so disappointed because we paid a lot of money for photography and it is the first time our families have been together. What should I do?

Self-conscious Bride

OK, I’m just going to say it: I made this question up. (You guys need to send more in so I don’t have to do this, by the way.) But, also, I figure if it’s something I am feeling, maybe other people have felt it too.

When the initial photos of me went across the Facebook news feed, my first thought was how fat I looked. Which is a DUMB reaction to have on a pretty amazing day. So I am going to advise myself (and anyone else in a similar situation) to do the following:

Replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. So when I look at pictures, I’ve been saying to myself ‘I look radiant’ over and over, because I do. And if I’m not believing myself, I look at the comments to remind me I am magnifying my flaws in my own mind. I feel my brain starting to change when I look at the same shots that horrified me Saturday night and think about where they’ll go in a wedding album.

Un-tag truly unflattering pictures. Just because they are all wedding pictures, doesn’t mean I need to be tagged in ALL of them. I see my friends tagged only the most flattering ones (they are familiar with my opinion that it is our universal Facebook right to only have fantastic pictures of ourselves attached to our profiles).

Get over yourself. Here’s the thing about dealing with any event: something is bound to be not perfect. There is some detail that bugs the crap out of you but no one else notices. And this is why Derrick and I didn’t spend more than we could pay on our wedding… and why I didn’t starve myself or put myself through crazy workouts weeks beforehand. I wanted to keep the day low pressure so that I could ‘get over myself’ a little easier.

And you know what? The pictures are great. It is just my mindset that needs a little correcting.

Nicole Ouellette

Nicole Ouellette

When Nicole isn't giving advice she's completely unqualified to give, she runs an Internet marketing company in Bar Harbor, where she lives with her husband Derrick and their short dog Gidget. She loves young adult novels, cooking and talking French to anyone who'll talk back. [email protected]
Nicole Ouellette

Latest posts by Nicole Ouellette (see all)