Not a career Q but I would like to know what a bullish gentlewoman might do. My ex owes me $2k from when he quit his job and I paid for his expenses while he didn’t work (he may have been depressed at the time). We broke up over a year ago and he’s repeatedly accused me of cheating on him (I didn’t) and now blocked me on FB and I’ve lost hope he’ll pay me back as agreed. I think I should wear the debt because I was stupid to loan him money but friends think I should hassle him.What do you think?
If he’s blocked you on Facebook, he doesn’t plan on paying you back. If he did, he’d have said, “I don’t want to talk to you socially, so I’m defriending you. I’ll send you a check for $200 every month, other than that we don’t need to talk.” Yeah, he didn’t do that.
Hassling him is not going to help. You’re going to send him emails he’ll ignore? Start a fake Facebook profile? Try to call him at his job? Pointless.
Your choices are to let it go, or to sue him in small claims court. The point of small claims court is that you don’t need a lawyer. It’s easy to file. Get a mountain of documents together. All your household bills, any record of you giving him money or you paying the bill in full. Any email correspondence about the debt. Gather an overwhelming amount of evidence.
Find out the rules for small claims in your state. I once read a short book about NY small claims court; the book had a specific template for a letter you were advised to send the person you’re suing basically giving them 30 days to comply before you actually sue. That’s interesting. But here‘s the page for Missouri’s Small Claims Court (I just picked a state and googled) — it’s a very simple form intended for anyone to be able to use.
If you sue in small claims court and he just ignores it — as in, a court date is assigned and he doesn’t show up — you’ll get an automatic judgment against him.
If he shows up and starts blathering about you cheating on him, he will make an utter fool of himself, because that’s completely irrelevant to whether he pays half of the electric bill.
If you’re not willing to take him to small claims, then leave it alone. If you’re willing to pursue, then send him ONE very professional, well-documented communication offering him a chance to pay you back. Wait 30 days. Then file.
Keep in mind that handling this matter head on (and filing suit) will be good practice for many forms of conflict that will inevitably occur in your future life and career.
See also: this, this, and this.