It’s a mystery in the Smith household - where did our Ken Burns Jazz DVDs series go? Every so often we try to remember who we may have lent them to. Did a person we lent them to forget to return them?
You may face similar situations.
Let’s take a look at the boundaries (and etiquette rules) of lending and borrowing.
Ownership implies that you have the right to allow or not to allow others access to your property. You probably wouldn't lend to someone if you didn't trust the person to return the item in a timely manner and in good shape,
A rule of thumb is to remember that whatever you lend, it is possible that you may lose it.
Will you have a 'no lending' rule for some things, but not for others? Will you lend physical items, but refrain from lending money? You are the one to decide.
The etiquette guidelines then easily follow. Your "No" and "Yes" categories are shared in whatever ways that are courteous and respectful.
Borrowers are sometimes embarrassed to ask. It's very kind to think of other ways you can help. If you have a "no lending money" policy, you might offer to help your family member with a budgeting plan.
If you are a borrower, you are indebted to the owner of whatever it is you’ve borrowed. This should be incentive for you to care for the item as if it were your own. Returning it in a timely manner and good condition will ensure the lender regards you as responsible and trustworthy.
You are also entrusted to:
The last responsibility of a respectful borrower is knowing when not to ask. This is when good boundaries come into play.
When it comes to borrowing from close friends and family, never assume anything.
Even though husbands, wives, and domestic partners definitely enjoy benefits of companionship and a sense of sharing, they still may have things they consider exclusively theirs.
The same is true of other family members. You may have a very close relationship, perhaps live in the same household, but assumptions on borrowing can easily lead to a necessary apology. “Oh! I didn’t think you’d mind,” won’t always get you very far.
Be willing to make up for any mistakes you make. For instance, if your sister said you could borrow one of her jackets and you take her favorite one, only to return it damaged, you’ll need more than an apology. Take her shopping for a new jacket – and a little bonding time.
There is a price for borrowing from someone. You pay by showing respect for the lender as well as the item you borrow.