"Never borrow, never lend, if you want to keep a friend" goes an old saying. Generally, I'm a sucker for all things old and wise, but here, I beg to differ.
I vote for borrowing and lending for two reasons. One is environmental, the other social.
You need it, you buy it - is the mantra these days. This affordability is ruining our planet. On the one hand, we are ravaging our resources to increase production and on the other, we are choking the planet by disposing off things indiscriminately.
In my childhood days, items of occasional use were freely borrowed and lent. That big kadahi (wok) for making sweets, that stepladder for reaching upper shelves, that set of knitting needles - all were easily borrowed and gladly lent.
We kids were dispatched to get the desired tools and weren't we willing messengers! Not only were we treated to goodies by neighbours, we also got to play with our friends for extra minutes,:) In short, borrowing and lending resulted in increased dependence and communication in a community.
However, borrowing and lending comes with its own set of rules.
Borrowing Dos and Don'ts
1. Know what can be borrowed and from whom:
You should have the wisdom to know which things can be asked for and from whom. For e.g. you might borrow an expensive piece of clothing from your mom or sister (well, maybe!) but not from an acquaintance.
A good way to know if you are welcome to borrow something is to float your requirement. If someone volunteers to lend you, well and good; if not, use your good sense. You should think of borrowing only when you are comfortable in lending too.
2. Take care of the borrowed item:
You have to take utmost care of the borrowed item, even more than you would care for your own. Return it in the same or better condition. If you've borrowed a piece of equipment, clean it well before returning.
A friend of mine borrowed a scarf from me and got it dry cleaned before returning. The scarf looked fresher than before. I wouldn't mind lending to this friend again!
3. Return it ASAP with thanks:
Return the borrowed thing as soon as possible. Don't hold on to it after your work is done. At any rate, don't wait till the lender has to ask for it. Don't forget to say thanks!
4. No sub-lending:
This is a huge no-no. Don't sub-lend the item, at least not without the lender's permission and knowledge.
5. Avoid borrowing consumables too frequently:
Try not to borrow consumables like flour, sugar, potatoes....you get the drift, too frequently. If you do have to borrow occasionally, return when you get your supplies. Returning a cup of milk might seem awkward, so take the opportunity to share what you have in excess.
If you're going shopping for your refills, ask if you can get something for the lender.
6. Be ready to lend:
Don't hesitate in returning the favor when the need arises. It's a two way street. Keep the traffic and goodwill flowing!
7. Avoid borrowing or lending money:
Money is a sensitive issue. Many relationships get soured over money. So avoid either borrowing or lending it.
There might be situations when you have to do so. If you borrow, return it at the first opportunity. If the amount is large, offer to return with interest. If you're taking time in returning it, keep the lender informed about timelines, otherwise the lender might wonder if you remember taking the loan at all! You'll close your avenues for borrowing in future.
Lending Dos and Don'ts
1. Learn to say 'No' politely:
If you're not comfortable in lending a particular thing, let it be known politely. for e.g. if you don't like to lend your eye make-up or lipstick, explain the hygiene factor behind it. If you have received something as a gift and hesitate in lending it, explain the emotional reason behind it.
Avoid borrowing from friends who come up with unreasonable demands, so you can so 'no' more easily.
2. Don't hesitate to give instructions:
If there are any set of instructions for using the lent item, let the person know in advance. (For e.g. I don't like my books to be read in a loo! Keep that in mind if you're borrowing books from me :)
3. Take damages in your stride:
Lend only if comfortable. After lending, if the item gets damaged and the borrower doesn't get it repaired or replaced, take it in your stride. You can politely let the person know about the damage. But if she doesn't take the hint, don't spoil a relationship over a broken thing.
With these tips in mind, you are ready to navigate the world of borrowing and lending with confidence and without ruining those precious relationships.