You Better Have My Money: Collecting Debts by Personality Type
Loaning money to friends is a tricky business – few friendships are genuinely improved by the addition of financial obligations. We may find ourselves more willing to loan money to friends because we care about them and trust that they’re good for their word. But, in an economy of ups and downs and a busy world of distractions, timely repayment is never a guarantee. To make matters worse, some friends – consciously or not – may take advantage of our goodwill, treating the terms of the loan much too casually.
When a friend fails to pay us back, speaking up about it can be a difficult thing. While some people have no qualms about demanding to be paid the money owed them (a certain Rihanna song comes to mind), for others, broaching the subject can be painfully uncomfortable. There’s a lot at stake, after all: our money and our friendship.
To determine which personality types struggle the most with collecting debts, we asked our community whether they agreed with the statement, “You find it difficult to ask a friend to give you back the money they owe you.”
Overall, 68% agreed, meaning that only about a third of our community feels strongly capable of following up with friends on money owed. But notable differences emerged between certain personality traits, particularly those relating to the Nature and Identity aspects. Lend us a few moments of your time to better understand the results below.
Diplomats (78% agreeing)
Diplomat personality types reported having the most difficulty requesting repayment of a personal loan. We can attribute this to their core Feeling trait. In fact, the Feeling trait was the most influential factor in our community’s responses: Feeling personality types were 20% more likely to agree than Thinking types (76% vs. 56% agreeing, respectively).
Diplomats’ empathetic connections with their friends and natural desire to help others makes them more apt to extend financial aid out of compassion – but it makes them equally reluctant to ask for the money back. A Diplomat personality may even feel guilty for trying to claim what is rightfully theirs, if doing so would cause their friend any stress or embarrassment. They’ll also be considering the larger consequences in terms of their friendship, and worrying about the situation will soon take a toll on their own emotional well-being.
Sentinels and Explorers (68% and 67%)
Sentinels and Explorers were clearly divided in their responses between personality types with the Feeling trait and types with the Thinking trait. For instance, Defenders (ISFJ) (82%) and Entertainers (ESFP) (68%) agreed at notably higher rates than Logisticians (ISTJ) (59%) and Entrepreneurs (ESTP) (47%). As with Diplomats, Sentinel and Explorer personality types with the Feeling trait can struggle to initiate uncomfortable or pointed conversations with friends who owe them money.
Sentinels in particular are usually averse to conflict, and Explorers tend to prefer living in the moment to dwelling on unresolved issues from the past – both characteristics that can make it difficult for members of these Roles to ask for their money back.
Working in Sentinels’ and Explorers’ favor, however, is their shared Observant trait, which makes them more pragmatic and practical than their Intuitive counterparts. At the end of the day, money owed is money owed, and Observant personality types will be more assertive about making sure that loans are settled according to previously agreed-upon terms.
Only a slight majority of Analysts agreed. It’s not necessarily easier for Analyst personality types to put pressure on their friends who owe them money, but their core Thinking trait helps them separate business from personal matters. More so than other Roles, Analysts are able to disregard emotions and prioritize the logical facts of the situation – they lent money, and it must be paid back. Sentinels and Explorers with the Thinking personality trait may share this approach.
Constant Improvement (80% agreeing)
Aside from the Feeling trait, the Turbulent and Introvert personality traits also correlated to high rates of agreement. As both Turbulent and Introverted types, Constant Improvers struggle the most with asking friends to pay them back. Their Turbulent Identities make them prone to stress and less confident in their ability to deal with it. They may go as far as blaming themselves for the situation, as their tenuous self-esteem can sometimes cause them to direct responsibility inward. And as Introverted personalities, they’re highly averse to emotionally fraught social situations, so the mere thought of confronting a friend over money can stress them out.
Turbulent Advocates (INFJ-T) agreed with our research statement at the highest rate of all personality types (86%). The ultimate altruists, Advocates tend to put their compassionate concern for other people ahead of concern for themselves, even in financial matters. This can make them very soft-hearted when dealing with friends who owe them money and reluctant to do anything that could make them feel bad, even if it is a completely fair and appropriate request.
Social Engagement (72%)
Social Engagers share with Constant Improvers a Turbulent Identity that can create emotional vulnerability, especially when it comes to their desire to maintain strong relationships. These personality types may worry that asking a friend to repay borrowed money could drive a damaging wedge into their friendship, and furthermore, that doing so would make them responsible for any discord. As Extraverts, however, Social Engagers are in a slightly better position than Constant Improvers – they may have the social skills to engage their friends in difficult conversations without ruffling feathers.
Confident Individualism (65%)
As Introverted personality types who value self-reliance, Confident Individualists may actually refuse to lend money to friends in the first place, likely finding the concepts of debt and obligation in conflict with their ethos of personal freedom. When they do find themselves in such a situation, they are likely to resent having to ask their friend to pay them back. Thanks to their Assertive Identity, however, these personalities are unlikely to internalize any tension with their friend or feel they are responsible for the situation, and they can stay cool and deal with it directly, if not always easily.
People Mastery (57%)
Only a slight majority of respondents in the People Mastery Strategy agreed, as their Assertive and Extravert personality traits give them more personal confidence in dealing with people, making challenging conversations easier. Although People Masters have a deep regard for their friends’ welfare, they also have high self-esteem, so they can assert their own needs clearly while still taking care of the needs of others. They are the most likely to find a charismatic way to make their request and convince friends to agree to pay them back – and then move on with their friendship.
Of all the personality types, Assertive Executives (ESTJ-A) and Assertive Commanders (ENTJ-A) agreed the least (40% each). Skilled administrators and strong-willed leaders, these types possess Thinking and Judging traits that give them an emotional objectivity and a desire for order and closure. Thanks to their Extraverted and Assertive traits, they can confidently remind friends of their responsibilities in a direct and honest way that gets results.
It’s doubtful that any of us are completely comfortable asking a friend to give back the money they owe us. In doing so, we place our needs above theirs, which can feel like an awkward or selfish way to treat a friend, even if it is only fair. But those personality types that have a cool, rational mind-set, strong personal confidence, and adept social skills usually find this task less difficult.
Agreeing, in writing, to clear, specific terms for loans can help us avoid such awkward situations, as well as the impulse to blame ourselves or preserve our friends’ feelings. And before choosing to lend money to a friend, we may all do well to ask ourselves, as the saying goes, which we would rather lose – the money or the friend.
What about you? Do you have difficulty asking friends for money that they owe you? If so, why? Share your thoughts in the comments below.