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Borrowing without asking...

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#1 of 20 OFFLINE   Ryan Wright

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Posted April 07 2003 - 11:37 AM

My best friend lives down the street from me. We have had the password to open their garage and get into their house for quite some time now, as we watch their dog when they go out of town. Yesterday, we went out of town for the day, and for the first time gave our friend & his wife our garage password so they could, in turn, watch our dog.

Quick history: This guy has been my buddy for over 10 years. I went to school with both him and his wife. I trust the both of them, which is why I gave them access to my house.

At any rate, today our dog ate something in the yard she shouldn't have and threw up on the carpet. Posted Image My wife called me @ work to tell me, so I called my friend and asked if we could borrow his steam cleaner. He said no problem and told me it was in the garage. So my wife went over and grabbed it. While she was there, she noticed our doggie pooper-scooper was sitting in their garage - which she had been looking all over the place for today so she could clean out our yard. Later, my friend's wife called her and also mentioned that they had borrowed a DVD while they were over. She made no mention of the pooper-scooper.

Let me start by saying I don't loan my DVDs to anyone. I am a strict ass about it because I've had too many returned in bad condition, or not returned at all. Even with this attitude, I make two exceptions: One is my father, and the other is this couple. They're the only people other than my own wife who treat my items as well as I do.

My problem is not that they borrowed. It's that they borrowed without asking. I have a cellular phone. It's always with me. They're welcome to borrow virtually anything in my home, but damnit, I want to know about it. They could have at least called. Hell, they could have simply left a message that says, "We're borrowing this and this. Hope that's OK." I wouldn't have cared. They could have even stayed at my house, ate my popcorn, drank my beer and watched a DVD on my home theater. I still wouldn't have cared. My problem is they didn't ask, and they still haven't mentioned the dog scoop they borrowed.

I'm going to tactfully bring this up tonight, as it is a major issue to me. I'm not posting this so much to ask questions, but to hear the HTF's take on the situation. Am I out of line in demanding prior-notice to my closest friends removing items out of my home? We rarely borrow from them, but when we do, we always ask beforehand...

#2 of 20 OFFLINE   Todd K

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Posted April 07 2003 - 12:08 PM

OK, complete stranger's perspective: I wouldn't worry about the pooper scooper yet. Actually, maybe you should wait on that. Since they did take your dog out the other day, could they have taken the pooper scooper as well and it just slipped their mind to return it? The DVD situtation is the real concern here. However, they may not know about your no-borrowing policy (do they?) if they are one of the two exceptions to your rule. I don't know your relationship with these people, but if they are your best friends it shouldn't be a biggie. Mention the DVD first, and while you're on the subject of borrowing, ask if they took your pooper scooper, because you know they took your dog out. This way, you're more asking out of curiosity, and not in an accusatory fashion.

#3 of 20 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted April 07 2003 - 12:24 PM

Another stranger's perspective: Is this a hill you're willing to die on? Do you really want to go to war and possibly lose a friendship over this? I would not make a big deal out of this. In an ideal world they wouldn't have done this, and they are, in the abstract and theoretical sense, wrong. But in the real world this is such a venial sin that almost anything you do or say about it is going to be out of all proportion to the actual offense/injury. The pooper scooper I'd forget about completely. They were watching your dog, they may have grabbed it, brought it to their house and forgotten about it. On the DVD: the most I would do is maybe mention to the husband, at a time when it is just the two of you, that you'd been looking for that particular DVD and accused your wife of misplacing it - and that it would have saved you a lot of grief if he'd left you a note when he borrowed it. He'll understand that. And you're tacitly shifting the blame onto your wife, who is not part of the conversation, so there's no "bad guy". Then drop the subject. The next time you go into their house when they're out, make a point of borrowing something, even if you don't need it. Leave a note. Setting the example might get the lesson across to them in a way that spelling it out in conversation won't. Regards, Joe

#4 of 20 OFFLINE   Peter Kim

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Posted April 07 2003 - 01:30 PM

I'd never do these things to anyone, not to mention close friends. Am I strange when I feel the need to be more considerate of my friends and family than strangers? However, wait and see. Wait and see whether they return these two items on their own (don't bring it up for awhile - it's up to you to determine a reasonable time frame). Then, when they do, listen for their explanation. It's up to you whether it's acceptable. This gives you an opening to politely and 'casually' mention that you'd prefer a note or mention that something was borrowed. However, consider the bigger problem that arises if they don't return either items. EDIT: overlooked the fact that the wife eventually mentioned that they borrowed the dvd. Perhaps in the future, if still in a key-exchange relationship, remove the 'cheese' from the traps?
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#5 of 20 OFFLINE   DaveF



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Posted April 07 2003 - 01:38 PM

It's not unreasonable to have your friends ask first before borrowing something. Since this is important to you, it's good that you're going to bring it up promptly to get things settled.

Just be tactful and gracious. That makes these things go much smoother. You don't want to lose a friend over a DVD. Posted Image

#6 of 20 OFFLINE   Andrew Grall

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Posted April 07 2003 - 02:29 PM

Personally I'm not sure if it is worth all the fuss. Is it worth potentially straining a friendship over such insignificant things?

#7 of 20 OFFLINE   Allen_Appel


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Posted April 07 2003 - 02:44 PM

I'm guessing your friend doesn't have a kick-ass home theater system, otherwise he'd be a member here and you wouldn't be posting the question. So, he probably doesn't view DVDs as precious as you do. Would you be this upset if you noticed he drank a beer or borrowed a book without asking? The pooper-scooper was probably used to clean up your dog's poop. Let it slide, this is a ten year friendship that you are jeopardizing (yes, you, since your friend is probably clueless that he did anything wrong).

#8 of 20 OFFLINE   M_a_r_k^NE



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Posted April 07 2003 - 03:23 PM

Always notice a persons track record with you. Some people are reliable and others are not as much or never. I would let this one incident slide if they are good friends. But you need to tell them the rules of borrowing. You probably never told them. Some people need to be told. Tell them hey you can borrow anything just let me know before hand. Just dont take my crap without asking. They will come back no problem. They should of told you about taking the DVD just to be considerate and have normal courtesy that it is your stuff. But if they said nothing about your DVD. That is kinda inconsiderate. People need second chances. People make mistakes. Like I said give them the rules above and should have no more problems in the future.
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#9 of 20 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted April 07 2003 - 04:02 PM

[quote] Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity [quote]

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#10 of 20 OFFLINE   Scott Leopold

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Posted April 07 2003 - 07:34 PM

I'd personally just let it slide. Wait a couple days to see if they return the pooper scooper. If not, mention that it's missing, and I'm sure they'll return it. When they return the DVD, just ask if they can leave a note next time. From what you said, they sound reliable, so I wouldn't worry about them having or returning the DVD. Growing up, some friends of my mother were notorious for borrowing stuff and never returning it, particularly videotapes. My mother never wanted us to bring this up, so one day when we went over for dinner, before we left I went to their VCR, grabbed all the tapes I knew were ours (about 15), and walked out with them without saying a word. My mother was quite embarrassed, and I said I'd never do it again as long as she never loaned them to those particular people again. She finally agreed after loaning them one of the movies she liked (all the others had been mine, my brother's and my dad's movies), and having to wait over a year to get it back. Several years later, I stupidly loaned my camera to one of the daughters in the family so she could take a photography class. A year after the class had ended, I still didn't have my camera back. Although I was in college, I definitely wasn't beyond the old standby tactic of "tell mom". I got the camera, but not my case, film, etc. It took a couple more months to get those. In these case, although they were sort of close family friends, they were not at all reliable borrowers, and I felt the risk of alienating them was worth getting our goods back. Since you mentioned that these are your closest friends, I would be even more inclined to let the issue drop. Years back, I learned that my best friend wasn't the most reliable person when it came to the matter of loaning money. We had a couple difficult situations that put a real strain on our friendship for some time. Thankfully, we got past that. The incident made me realize, though, that some friendships are a lot more valuable than money. Since then, whenever I loan money to friends it's always with the assumption that I won't get it back, or even ask for it back. I'd rather help them out and think that they'd return the favor if I'd ever need it. Even if they didn't or couldn't return the favor, it's just money. (I should note, though, that this didn't work out quite right on one occasion. I let a close friend borrow $75 to help with a surprise party for his dad. I knew that he was in a rough financial spot at the time, so I told him to forget about the $75, and just buy me and my wife a couple beers at the party ($1.50 apiece). He was insulted by this, and wouldn't talk to me for a few weeks--despite having only bought us one round ($3), and never paying back the money.)

#11 of 20 OFFLINE   Todd Hochard

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Posted April 08 2003 - 12:03 AM

[quote] Is it worth potentially straining a friendship over such insignificant things? [quote] That's where I stand on it.
I'm of the opinion that, if you bring it up, however tactful, however gentle you may try to be, it will put a wedge, if even a small one, into your friendship.
I hear so many people say today "I have so few close friends." Perhaps it's this sort of rigidity that contributes to the problem.
For the pooper scooper- just take it back, when you return the steamer. Then tell your friend "I got the pooper scooper. Thanks for looking after Fluffy." and leave it at that.

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#12 of 20 ONLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted April 08 2003 - 12:13 AM

Yes, usually if you frame the "taking it back" as a "I need this because of such-and-such" situation, rather than a "this is MINE! Gimme!" declaration, there's less tension, and the "friend" actually thinks they are doing you a favor by letting you have your own stuff back. Posted Image
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#13 of 20 OFFLINE   JasenP



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Posted April 08 2003 - 12:58 AM

OK, OK here is an easy "in" for introducing the pooper scooper question. In this scenario, your dog's name is Max and your friends name is Violet. You: Hey Violet, did you happen to put the pooper scooper in a different place when you took Max out? Your Wife can't find it anywhere and it's driving her nuts!
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#14 of 20 OFFLINE   Shayne Lebrun

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Posted April 08 2003 - 03:23 AM

Hell, just state your case. "Buddy, I don't mind you borrowing my stuff, but you need to let me know, ok? Cellphone, little note, whatever. Thanks, man."

#15 of 20 OFFLINE   TimDoss


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Posted April 08 2003 - 05:07 AM

Let it go, man... this is one of those things that can so easily get blown out of proportion, I can understand that it's not so much the objects that were borrowed, as it is the principle of the matter, but they're good enough friends that you allow them into your home when you're not there... friends like that do not come easy. Distancing them should not come so easy either. I don't think I'd bring it up at all... I cannot think of a tactful approach that wouldn't possibly put them on the defensive. Or you can go over, have a beer with him and say, "oh, there's my damn scooper! I've been looking all over for it you fucker... I finally gave up and just used my hand", and at that rub your hand on his shirt. I definately wouldn't make an issue out of the not asking permission. When I have friends watch my house I tell them they can borrow whatever they want, just leave me a note or something so I don't look for it.

#16 of 20 OFFLINE   MickeS



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Posted April 08 2003 - 05:25 AM

I'm with you here, Ryan. I would NOT "let this slide", that'll only build up more resentment towards them. Tell them that it is NOT under acceptable that they borrow things from you without asking. If they are friends, that's all you'll have to say about it. Don't raise your voice, don't sound angry, just firm and serious. Don't explain your reasons unless he pushes for it. If he excuses himself or gives reasons why he did it, just say "I understand, just please, don't do that again." If he's a friend, I'm pretty sure he'll accept that.

I'm a pretty easygoing guy, but this behaviour by one of my friends would be totally unacceptable to me. You gave them your trust when you allowed them access to your home, they have misused it. That to me is the bigger issue here.

To "get back at them" by borrowing something from them would be childish and will possibly lead to confrontation, IMO.


#17 of 20 OFFLINE   Ryan Wright

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Posted April 08 2003 - 05:29 AM

Wow - lot of great replies here! Thank you!

[quote] Or you can go over, have a beer with him and say, "oh, there's my
damn scooper! I've been looking all over for it you fucker... I finally gave up and just used my hand", and at that rub your hand on his shirt [quote] Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image That is hilarious!

Thanks again for all of the great advice.

#18 of 20 OFFLINE   MickeS



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Posted April 08 2003 - 05:33 AM

Or they now feel comfortable doing it, since you seemed OK with it. Posted Image


#19 of 20 OFFLINE   TimDoss


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Posted April 08 2003 - 05:35 AM

Glad to hear it's all worked out.

#20 of 20 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted April 08 2003 - 05:59 AM

Stick to your guns. I'm with you on that one. Mine go to no one, no matter how "close." I'm not a free rental outlet.

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