I wrote a few days back about lending money to friends and the approach I take. I came across a fairly straight forward article about how you should approach this issue if you are on the other side: ie if need to borrow money.
I especially liked this advice:
Make an appointment to discuss your request privately. When you do meet, state your case in a businesslike manner, not emotionally. No tears. No crying. No desperate pleas. Explain why you need the money, how much you need and for how long. Spell out where the rest of the money to buy your house is coming from. And, make it very clear that you will pay interest.
While I still will only lend money never expecting to get it back, I would feel much more comfortable lending it to someone who has taken the time to thoroughly think through the situation and why they need the money.