On my way home from the chiropractor today, I had the radio on. I hate the radio. Too much talking and commercials. Anyway, a lady called in to talk about her friend who she had lent $200 because she was going through a financial rough spot. Said friend then stopped communicating with her, but would tweet that she was at various social hot spots, enjoying pricey leisure time. So she was getting pretty irritated that her friend was doing these things while having trouble making ends meet (hello! Sound financial decisions aren't what led her to borrowing money from friends!).
I am a big believer in the financial advice of Dave Ramsey, so I'm essentially just regurgitating here. Don't lend money to friends and family, please. Don't part with money that you are counting on getting back. It's a recipe for disaster and strained relationships. If you can't just give it to the requester, like as a gift, then you can't afford to help them. If you can, great. And if the requester is then a lovely responsible person and somehow repays you without you expecting it, that's just icing on the cake. But otherwise, that's why we have financial institutions and credit. It takes personal feelings out of the equation. It's business and Bank of America or whatever isn't going to be pissed that you went to happy hour without her because you're avoiding a conversation about borrowed money. And if they can't even borrow money, please, don't cosign on anything! If a financial institution can't trust that person to pay back the money on their own, why should you?? Unless you're completely okay with having to pay that money (which is what you have to do, should the person you cosigned for default!) and never see it again (again, a gift), you have no business doing it.
No one asked me, but that's how I feel about it :D