If I had a dollar for every time a friend has helped me when I was in a tough financial situation, I'd probably finally have enough money to pay them all back.
The thing about it is, a lot of them would never ask me to and it's totally mutual. My mom always told me to never mix friends and money and I've been careful about drawing boundaries in my personal life because of her advice. You will never see me asking a friend to pay back money I loaned, because it was never a loan. It was a gift, and according to our favorite rich auntie, that's how true friendship should be.
Recently, longtime besties Oprah and Gayle slid through with a new episode of The OG Chronicles with some clutch advice on how to maintain a nearly 20 year relationship like theirs.
"You really can't pick your family, but you can certainly pick your friends. So that might be why friendship issues can sometimes seem even more complicated than family drama. We may not be experts, but I do think we know a thing or two about friendship."
According to this dynamic duo, one of the secrets to keeping your friendship tight is to never lend money. One viewer wrote in to Oprah and Gayle with this question:
"My friend has owed me $500 for six months now. I've been trying to be understanding, but she just bought a new designer bag. How can I say something without seeming like I'm trying to tell her how to spend her money?"
Counting what's in your homegirl's pocket is never cool, but if we made an agreement, I also need my $500 back, sis. That's why Oprah says offering any amount of money to a friend that you will expect back at some point is probably a bad idea.
"Just have it as a standard policy: Don't loan friends money. Give your friend the money and say, 'Look, I'm just gonna do this for you, you don't even have to pay me back.' 'Cause loaning friends money will cause you major issues in the friendship."
According to Oprah and Gayle, their friendship has always followed this mantra, even back when Oprah was making $20K a year and Gayle was making 12. These two are the definition of "started from the bottom," and now they are here; both rich aunties in their own right, but say they couldn't have maintained that friendship without setting clear boundaries.
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In a past interview, Gayle shared a memorable moment of when her bestie first started to get "Oprah money," while she and her ex husband couldn't scrounge up $10 for a movie date.
"I remember that once Billy and I didn't have $10 to go to the movies. He was in law school and I was the only one working. So for her to pull out $482 was like, wow! She goes, 'God, where'd this come from? You want it?' And I went, 'Oh, no. No. I'm good. I'm fine.' But I'm thinking, 'God, that would pay the light bill, the phone bill, the gas bill.' And she just puts it back. It's probably still in that damn pocket. She was just extending a gesture, just being nice: 'Oh, you want it?'"
In that moment, although Gayle could have certainly used that $500, she declined; and Oprah stuck that money right back in her pocket. If that's what it takes to be a good friend, then chile, maybe I don't have it in me because I definitely would have taken those lil' dollars. Later, Gayle told her homegirl that she really did need the money, but to Oprah, this was a pivotal moment in their friendship.
"You know what that's like? That is incredible for somebody like me who lives in a world where everybody wants a piece of you. I mean, people feel they deserve a piece of you. Strangers think that."
The reality is that Oprah and Gayle may never be equals in terms of financial assets, but that doesn't keep them from treating each other with the same level of respect and transparency. Oprah continued:
"She's never asked me for a dime. There is a level of mutual respect that comes from being with somebody you know doesn't want anything from you but you. There will never be an ulterior motive. I have to say, this would have been a much different relationship had that ever happened. Not that I wouldn't have done it, but in order to have a real friendship, you have to be equals."
Watch the latest episode of The OG Chronicles here!
Friends | OG Chronicles | Oprah Magazine www.youtube.com
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