We’ve all been in an awkward money situation before. Sometimes it’s splitting the check, sometimes it’s a group gift. Sometimes it’s having a friend or family member ask you to lend them a few clams when you just know you’ll have a tough time paying it back. But not all tough money situations have tough solutions.

Often, the best way to save face when you find yourself in an awkward money situation is to go with the simplest, most direct response. Our bank accounts can be a sensitive subject, but we’ve got a few easy answers to some of the most common, embarrassing money situations.

Here’s how to gracefully make your way out of the 6 awkward money scenarios:


Scenario #1: If Your Credit Card Gets Declined

A color photo of some credit cards in a wallet.

A declined credit card doesn’t have to ruin your day. Just stay calm and deal with the situation quietly.

Ouch. Having your credit card declined when you try to use it in front of someone else is never a pleasant experience.

The best way to handle a declined credit card is to speak with the business manager in private.

If you’re at a restaurant, for example, quietly tell the waiter that you’ll pay with some other means or ask if you can duck out and get some cash from a nearby ATM.

If you’re honest and straightforward, it shouldn’t be a problem.


Scenario #2: Unreliable Borrower Asks You For Money

We’ve all got friends or family who aren’t responsible with their money. Sometimes, this person asks you for a loan. It’s never fun to say no to someone you care about, especially when you genuinely wish that you could help them.

But it’s your money, and if you know your friend or family member won’t pay you back, it’s not worth the financial or emotional hassle.

When you’re approached for money, diffuse the situation by telling this person that you’re not comfortable loaning them anything right now, and leave it at that. Be polite but firm.


Scenario #3: Splitting a Giant Group Check

Ah, splitting the check. Perhaps one of the most annoying money-related issues that can arise among friends. A common scenario but luckily one that’s easy to dodge.

Simply speak up ahead of time and ask your server for a separate check, or break a $20 and pay your part of the bill with exact change instead of tossing down your card.

A color photo of several hands holding some money.

Splitting the check between multiple friends at a restaurant can be awkward, but it doesn’t have to be.

Scenario #4: The Rich Friend

Sometimes having a wealthier friend can can be…taxing, for lack of a better word. You may feel like obligated to keep up with his or her lifestyle, or maybe your friend keeps suggesting restaurants and bars that are just a little too pricey.

Again, speaking up is the best policy here. Just tell your friend you’re on a budget and that you’d like to do something less extravagant. Decline their invitations by offering your own suggestions.


Scenario #5: Dinner With Co-Workers

Getting a bite to eat with your colleagues can become awkward when it’s time to take care of the bill. Here are a few easy tips:


  • Assume you’re paying for yourself.
  • If someone else picks up the tab, you should do it next time.
  • If the boss is with you, ask whether dinner’s on the company or if you should hit an ATM first.


And if dinner is on the company tab, remember not to go too crazy ordering extravagant meals or pricey cocktails.


Scenario #6: The Group Gift

The pressure surrounding a group gift can be nigh unbearable, which makes it easy to simply announce that you’ll be getting your own gift.

Friends pressuring you to chip in on a group gift for a mutual acquaintance? This can a difficult social situation if you can’t afford to share the cost. Handle the awkwardness by announcing that you’ll be getting the birthday boy-or-girl your own separate gift.

And if you’re seriously strapped for cash, it’s easy to show that your friend means something to you without spending money. Make a card, write a nice note, make a playlist of their favorite songs — there are plenty of ways to appreciate someone without spending money on them.


How Do You Escape Uncomfortable Money Moments?

Do you have tips for any similarly uncomfortable money situations? Let us know in the comments!


See Also

5 Ways to Lend Money without Losing Friends
Protect Your Money with 5 Online Banking Security Tips Everyone Should Know
Smart Money Guide: How to Pick the Best Financial Planner for Your Needs

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