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How to Borrow Money from Friends or Relatives (Without Ruining Your Relationships)

How to Borrow Money from Friends or Relatives (Without Ruining Your Relationships)

In the words of William Shakespeare, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” The problem with borrowing or lending money is that it poses a serious threat to your relationships. Borrowing money from family and or friends is especially risky because it puts you in an awkward situation and can easily taint a perfectly good relationship. For example, being in debt to your mother or best friend can lead to feelings of guilt and associated problems when you realize you can’t pay back your debt on time–or at all.

If you care about your relationships, you will try to avoid borrowing money completely. Even if you are able to pay back the money you owe in full and on time, it still can change the nature of your relationship forever. That being said, asking for money from someone you care about is often the surest refuge out of a difficult financial fix. If you must borrow money from family or friends, do it as the very last resort and only for temporary financial shortfalls.

Here are some basic guidelines to help you borrow money from friends or relatives safely without ruining your relationships:

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1. Be honest about your financial situation

Personal finance is a topic that most of us would rather not discuss. But, if you are asking for financial help, it is necessary to show some level of humility and a willingness to be honest about your financial condition. This is necessary because your lenders will want to know how you will use money they give you.

Don’t paint an eternally rosy picture of your financial condition when it is not all that rosy. Explain all the risks involved honestly so your friend fully understands what she is getting into from the outset. Being transparent will also create room for her to be honest too and give you genuine advice.

2. Borrow only for essential stuff

Never borrow money to obtain non-essential things like a new smartphone or to invest in volatile markets like the stocks. Borrowing money to obtain unnecessary stuff is not prudent at all. Your brother-in-law will also not be amused if you ask a significant sum from him and blow it all in a single event, such as a party.

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Ask for a loan from relatives to address real emergencies, such as hospitalizations. If you must borrow to invest, invest in solid things that appreciate steadily like an education or a house. Just be prudent about how you use your loan and make sure your friend or family member invests a comfortable amount, in case things go sour.

3. Put it on paper

Treat loans from family members and close friends just like you would treat any other loan. Put your loan on paper and document the loan terms, principal, interest rate, and repayment frequency. This helps to minimize risk of a misunderstanding in the future and ensures your friend is clear on when to expect repayments and when the loan should be fully settled.

Also, record any provisions for repayment extensions or reliefs in case you are unable to repay your loan as agreed upon. Of course, you can do away with this formality especially where the loan is only a small amount. But, it’s recommended you insist on documenting the loan just to be on the safe side.

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4. Pay up on time

This goes without saying. Once you agree on the loan repayment terms, be professional and stick to them. Pay your loan on time without making excuses. Remember that a personal relationship you turned into a business relationship is at stake here and not just another random relationship.

If your financial situation improves before the loan repayment period lapses, pay off the loan early. This will be a pleasant surprise to your friend or family member and may help you win back some of the “points” you lost by taking the loan in the first place.

5. Maintain communication

If you are struggling with your repayments, don’t run or start hiding from your lender. Hiding gives a bad impression that you don’t intend to repay the money you owe. Maintain communication throughout the life of the loan and be honest and sincere about your situation. Being honest might take away more “points” from you, but it at least allows you to keep some of your honor.

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Resist the urge to get agitated when your friend or relative starts to nag or hound you to pay up. Put yourself in his shoes and imagine how you would feel if you were the one on the other side. You would likely also remind him constantly to pay up. Take it in stride and pay some amount back even if it is only a fraction of what you owe to demonstrate sincerity and ease the tension.

6. Return the favor

Life has a way of turning things on their heads. In time, you may find the friend or relative who helped you out of your financial fix is in need of help themselves. Return the favor extended to you by offering yourself and your resources to help them out. Do this even if you repaid your debt with interest or had incidents when your relationship was strained by the loan. Showing this kindness to others is a mark of maturity and reflects well the favor paid to you—and it was a favor!

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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