We all borrow things from individuals in our personal and professional lives. Some of the most commonly borrowed items in our personal lives are books, CDs, DVDs, clothing, footwear and accessories, food or tools. We tend to borrow the first six items from family and/or friends and the last two items from neighbours. In our professional lives, some of the most commonly borrowed items are office supplies like pens, pencils, paper, scissors or paper clips; holders of electronic information like DVDs and thumb drives and containers of hard copy information like files, books, magazines and newspapers. We borrow money from individuals in both our personal and professional lives. However, we tend to borrow larger sums of money from family and/or friends and smaller sums of money from colleagues. Even though there are individuals who spend more time with and feel closer to colleagues than to their family and/or friends, money is something that is very private and powerful. Raises, bonuses and salaries are rarely discussed among colleagues. You may be fearful that any weakness like a need for money could not only damage your reputation but also be seen as a lack of maturity and responsibility that could result in you losing your job.
When someone asks you to borrow something, do you ever stop to think about how much you value the item before you give it to them? If it is something as readily available, easily replaceable and reasonably inexpensive like a pen or a book, you probably hand it over without giving it a second thought. You may allow others to borrow your things because you want to be liked, you want to be generous, you have never put a value on your things or you have convinced yourself or they have convinced you that they will return the borrowed item without you having to ask them to return it.
The next time someone asks you to borrow something, take a moment and ask yourself two questions: How much do I value this item? and How would I really feel if I never saw this item again? Then take another moment to think about the answers. If the answer to the first question is that this item is of little or no value to you then you will probably hand it over. Furthermore, if it is something that you would like to get rid of, you will be overjoyed that it has found a home with someone else. Remember one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. If, however, this item is of great value to you, be prepared to tell the person that they cannot borrow it under any circumstances and remain steadfast despite their attempts to persuade you to allow them to borrow it. This leads to the answer to the second question. If you would feel sad, angry or frustrated if this item was not returned to you by the person who is borrowing it then inform them that they cannot borrow it and explain that you value the item as much as you value your relationship with them. Remind them that it might devalue or destroy your relationship if they did not return the item to you. You are being proactive and perceptive by recognizing that even though it is just a thing, a part of you has a strong sentimental attachment to this item and a part of you would be borrowed along with the item. You realize that you would feel a tremendous sense of loss if the item was not returned to you.
Remember people view and value their belongings differently. Some people place a high value on pens and books regardless of their cost and money despite the amount. Others would never part with their clothing, footwear or accessories. Still others cherish their vast collections of CDs and DVDs. Look around where you live and where you work and see if there is anything that does not belong to you. Whether you borrowed the item an hour, a day, a month, a year or five years ago, somebody may have just thought of that item recently and wondered what had happened to it. So return what you borrow, today not tomorrow. Contact the person by text, e-mail or phone and make arrangements to return the item in person as quickly as possible. This gives you an opportunity to reconnect with them and express your gratitude for their generosity in allowing you to borrow the item. You will also feel great because you have returned the item to its rightful owner and have made them happy and who knows, you may be able to borrow something from them again in the future.