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In this article, we’ve provided 11 effective, fool-proof strategies on how to shame someone who owes you money and prompt them into paying you back sharpish!
It can be incredibly frustrating when you’ve loaned someone money out of the goodness of your heart and yet when it comes time to pay you back, they show no inclination to cough up the cash whatsoever.
Whether you want to stay amicable with this person or have no qualms about naming and shaming them publicly, in this article we’ve provided you with 11 fantastic strategies to shame someone who owes you money into paying you back.
Think first: What are their intentions?
Being owed money by someone who is being slow to return your kindness can be extremely frustrating. It can make you angry, feel taken advantage of, and even consider ending your friendship or relationship with that person altogether.
A word of caution: consider the bigger picture before you aggressively shame someone. Are they an asshole just too stingy to pay you back, or could there be another reason? Could they have genuinely forgotten, for example, or could they perhaps be going through some extreme financial difficulty and simply not have the funds to pay you back?
You are justified in feeling upset with someone who owes you money, but it’s important to consider their own motivations and how you want to approach the situation first. Do you want to give this person the benefit of the doubt, or are you convinced they’re deliberately avoiding paying you back?
These are the questions to think about first and allow you to guide which of the strategies below you’ll choose from.
1. Be Direct
First, consider being direct with the person who owes you money. Want to know the real secret of how to shame someone who owes you money? Be the bigger person, and talk to them frankly and honestly about your situation.
No attempts to manipulate, no tricking them or publicly shaming them – just asking, when are they going to pay you back?
Sometimes, this is the best first step you can take in opening up the discussion.
2. Make A Joke About It
If being frank with your debtor just isn’t your style, how about making a joke about it?
For example, wait until you’re out in a social situation and make a joke about being a bit skint this month, and then nod at your friend and say something like “probably because I’ve been playing bank for (their name)!”.
That might be a bit of a bad joke in your eyes, but you get the jist. Make it light-hearted and funny, if you can, but the point sticks: you haven’t forgotten that your debtor owes you money, and you’re reminding them that they still need to pay you back.
The benefit of this is that it gives them a gentle nudge without making a big deal of the situation (ideal for someone who may have simply forgotten!).
3. Tell An Extrovert
Want to shame someone who owes you money? Tell an extrovert you both know that they’re refusing to cough up.
An extrovert won’t be able to hold themselves back from bringing up the situation and helping you resolve it! The perfect solution for an introverted person who doesn’t like confrontation.
4. Mention You’re Tight On Money
Assuming the person who owes you money is inherently a decent person, mentioning in conversation that you’re tight on money (with the unspoken meaning that you’re short on cash because of them!) might be enough to shame them into coughing up.
This is a slightly more indirect way to shame someone into paying you back – but tugs at their heartstrings and for many people who may have simply gotten too caught up with their own lives.
5. Send A Text
There’s no shame in hiding behind your phone for a situation like this! You could send a friendly, gentle text or go full force and demand they pay you back.
You can even send them a payment link from a money app such as PayPal or Cash App, making it easy for them to transfer the funds to you asap (no excuses!).
Keep in mind that if you go in too aggressively, that person could just block you and you’ll never get your money back. Stay friendly to avoid a hostile situation that is significantly harder to repair.
6. Trick Them Into Paying For You
Ok, so this option might be less shaming them into paying you back and instead, downright manipulating them. But, needs must!
Invite your reluctant debtor out for dinner, order a big, expensive meal with all the sides and cocktails.
Then, ditch them and leave them with the bill.
Admittedly, you’ll probably end your friendship with this option (unless you make up some excuse like your cat got sick and you had to leave urgently), but it might at least even you and your friend out money-wise.
7. Make A Passive Aggressive Post Online
Want to shame someone who owes you money but not quite at the point where you’ll happily publicly shame them?
Make a post online (ideally on a social media platform where you know they follow you) about the situation. It could be something vague about feeling taken advantage of, feeling disappointed that your generosity hasn’t been reciprocated, or you could even find a funny meme or video about people not paying you back and share it on your story!
This might just shame your debtor enough to contact you and cough up the funds. Worth a shot.
8. Indirectly Shame Them Amongst Friends
If the person who owes you money is in your friendship group, you could mention the situation to mutual friends.
You could even be bold enough to mention you loaned them money in front of them – not directly saying you want the money back, but making sure everyone knows they’re in your debt. Often, that social pressure of knowing everyone is expecting them to do the right thing is enough to prompt action – perhaps not immediately, but quickly.
9. Call Them Out
Fed up of hinting and passive-aggressive attempts to regain your money? Call them out.
If you’re done with whatever relationship you had with this person and have explored all other options, then your last resort is to call them out and ask them why they’re not paying you back.
Yes, it might be uncomfortable and awkward, but you deserve to get your money back and sometimes an assertive approach is necessary.
10. Approach Their Workplace
If someone owes you money and your relationship with them is not a friendly one (for example, maybe you did some contract work for them or something along those lines), you could approach their workplace about the problem.
Their boss may not be able to do anything to help you recuperate your funds (unless they owe you money in a professional capacity), but you will be shedding some light on the type of character they are.
They might pay you back quickly out of shame and to avoid their professional reputation being damaged.
11. Consider Legal Routes
If the amount owed is below a certain threshold (which varies by jurisdiction), you may be able to take the person to small claims court. This is a simpler and less formal process than a full court case, and you often don’t need a lawyer.
If the amount owed is larger, you may need to file a lawsuit in a civil court. This can be a complex and lengthy process, and you will likely need a lawyer to help you.
So there you have it, 11 great strategies for how to shame someone who owes you money into paying you back!
Remember: the more amicable you keep the situation, the less likely they are to disappear on you and never return your funds!
Some people are stingy and will just avoid paying you back, but some people might make genuine mistakes in life and it’s important to be able to differentiate between the two.
Good luck – and fingers crossed your money flows back to you soon!