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Teen Voices on Money Matters: Part 4

Ahuvah Sofer with the Mesila Staff

We live in a close-knit society and are usually happy to lend cash to one another if need be. It’s all fine and good, but are we always displaying healthy boundaries and a strong sense of responsibility? When can things get patchy, or downright wrong? Teens share their experiences with borrowing and lending.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Photo: Shutterstock

Mesila & Mishpacha: Do you feel there’s a healthy attitude toward borrowing and lending among your friends? 

“For the most part, yes,” says Ayala, 18. “Most girls trust each other and are comfortable with both borrowing and lending. I’m not saying it’s perfect, girls do sometimes forget to pay back, but for the most part, the attitude is positive. 

“I like it that girls are comfortable about borrowing,” says Shiri, 16, “because if someone borrows from me one day, I feel comfortable borrowing from her the next. It’s sort of understood that we’re there for each other.” 

It’s beautiful that you girls have that perspective! Lending to someone in need is actually a form of chesed! 

M&M: It’s nice that your attitudes are positive and generous. But are boundaries ever crossed? When can things get a little sticky? 

“There’s one thing that really irks me,” says Faigy, 19. “And that’s when friends think my purse is public property. They’ll say something like, ‘I need five dollars. I’m taking it from you now, okay?’ I mean, doesn’t borrowing mean taking with permission? If not, isn’t it stealing?”

Photo: Shutterstock

“I have a different pet peeve,” adds Esti. “How about when a girl says, ‘Can you just lay out five dollars for me,’ and then never gives it back? Is it petty to be upset about it or expect someone to give back what you lent them, even if it’s just five dollars? 

“I feel like some girls turn into compulsive borrowers,” agrees Faigy, “and then when it comes to spending, they think that the sky is the limit.” 

“It definitely becomes much harder to remember to pay back if you’re always borrowing from everyone,” says Ayala. 

“I think,” adds Shaindel, 16, “that there’s a sensitivity issue here, also. People are so quick to borrow that they don’t consider that maybe their friends don’t have the money or they really need it, but still feel uncomfortable saying no.” 

What you girls are bringing up are legitimate concerns. Let’s not forget that crossing the line can mean stepping over boundaries of halachah. Borrowing irresponsibly can easily turn into stealing.

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