When People Let You Down

Insolence, dishonesty, alienation, impatience, loss of integrity, uselessness.  When we work with people, there will always be disappointments. Do these terms apply to anyone you know? 


Last week, someone who owes me money sent an email asking if I hold grudges.  I didn’t know how to respond. 


If I say, “No, I don’t hold grudges” – does that let her off the hook?  If I say, “Yes” – does that make me a bad person so she is okay not to pay? 


When people are embroiled in insolence, dishonesty, alienation, etc…see list above…it is easy to be pulled down with them.  Yesterday, I opened a book and found a note that I had written a long time ago:  “True power lies in reticence, tranquility and detachment.”


Perhaps my “no response” was the best response.  What would you do?  I’m sincerely seeking your advice. – Shar McBee

16 thoughts on “When People Let You Down”

  1. Shar,

    Wow. I can’t believe your friend who owes you money responded with the comment. I don’t believe I would respond to her question, as it could be perceived in so many different ways and probably would be viewed negatively anyway.


  2. So much depends on the nature of your relationship: is it a friend or family member, someone you feel comfortable being real with?

    Myself, if someone I knew asked me this question–in writing no less–I’d be inclined to write back: What an odd question. I’m wondering why you’re asking this?

    It also raises the question: Is resenting someone not honoring their commitment to you the same thing as “holding a grudge”? Someone who is not repaying a debt who perceives it that way is certainly shifting a lot of the weight and responsibility in the relationship off of themselves in an unhealthy and dishonest way.

    As I’ve gotten older (matured?), I find myself valuing the power of reticence too. Sometimes (especially when not responding to an email) not replying all by itself speaks volumes.

  3. Meet People Where They Are…
    Your response could be a question. Call her on the phone and ask, “I was just curious, why did you ask if I held grudges?” Her answer will reveal what position she feels she is in with regards to paying you the money she has agreed to pay. The result of the call might be a conversation that could lead to a mutually acceptable conclusion for you both.

  4. This person asked me to use comments, without her name.

    Shar, I cannot resist responding to this…this is an issue we all deal with; pre-scripting for these types of situations is invaluable. I don’t agree that detatchment and reticence gives you power but I do believe that ‘you lose power when you use too many words’. Sometimes no response speaks louder than 10,000 words. Your reply to the grudge question could be “Why do you ask?” After a response you could reply, “Interesting – or good to know -I don’t think in terms of grudges; I do believe in the honor of keeping my word.” I love your Friday e-mail; your widsom is DEEP! I have most of your messages on my desk for inspiration! You’re amazing. Please use my comments if you wish but withhold my name. You are appreciated. Have a grand day!

  5. I would call them and ask the nature of the question. You have already assumed that it pertains to the money that they owe you and it may be completely unrelated. Go to the root of the problem, and ask the 5 why’s? Usually you will get to the root of it before then, but 5 is generally enough. Skipping the obilgation is not the same as holding a grudge. If they don’t pay, b/c they can’t, you are making that an emotional pain and it is a business decision/matter. Effective business decisions are based on facts not emotions. Work out a smaller payment plan, etc. if it truly is the case. $50/mo or some small amt. eventually you will get pd and it is better than no money ever. Then the relationship is presevered.

  6. “No I do not hold a grudge, I do, however, lose trust in people who are not honest with me.” If this person told you she would repay but does not, you need not hold a grudge but can no longer trust her word.

  7. My repsonse to this would be much the same as others here. Put the ball back in her court and simply say “That’s an interesting question, why do you ask?” It could be something completely unrelated to the bebt owed.

  8. Shar,
    I think I would respond with the following question:

    “I don’t know, Why do you ask?”

    At least it would give an opportunity for your friend to respond with clear intentions on her part, and you wouldn’t have to set the tone…

  9. “I am equal to everyone, and everyone is equal to me” is my deep belief and philosophy of life. “Be kind, everyone is facing some kind of crisis” is another thought that I apply to everyday life.
    In my case, when someone I have lent money to cannot pay back I look at their situation and can empathize that they are having a hard time. By pondering and insisting, I am only hurting myself and my own piece of mind. Let it go.

  10. I might say something like this – “No, I don’t hold grudges, I just hold people accountable.”

    And then I might mention that I am a fan of Maybury’s Two Laws – Do all you have agreed to do and do not encroach on other persons or their property.

  11. I think it depends on the nature of the friendship. And, to be honest-do you personally hold grudges? When I feel justified in holding a grudge because of some injustice to me, I remember what the Bible teaches about grace, and use that as the foundation on how to respond. I might ask her why she would think you would hold a grudge against her? This answer she provides, in itself, may give you insight on where your friend is coming from and take the situation to next level.

  12. ONS! Your no response is a clear ‘yes’ answer to the question asked! You forgive the person for your interests, not theirs; that doesn’t let them off-the-hook regarding broken agreements. I say respond, use this as an opportunity to let the person know you are or are not willing to renegotiate the agreement, and that following through with agreements is in her/his best interest.

  13. I probally would have said that I hold people accountable and that I would like my money back when promised. If I couldn’t lend the money to my friend I would tell them that, and not lend them money I would need to pay bills or buy food. That is probally why I don’t have close friends

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