My lesson from borrowing from a friend
Probably 8 years ago when I was in love with driving cars with manual transmissions (because I had always had automatics) I begged my friend to let me drive his car. He was reluctant because he had just bought it used a few weeks earlier. He finally agreed and so I was off in his car (by myself) and not more than 200 yards later I heard a loud weird noise and the car stopped moving.
The transmission had gone out. I don’t think it had anything to do with my driving ability, but after the awkwardness of the following few hours drilled a lifelong lesson into my head: don’t borrow from friends.
Of course I haven’t followed this advice all the time. But that situation was enough to make me think twice about borrowing for the rest of my life.
For the borrower
I have always heard that the rule of thumb for something that breaks while it is being borrowed is to replace it. In fact it’s what the Bible says about it:
“If a man borrows anything from his neighbor, and it is injured or dies while its owner is not with it, he shall make full restitution.”
This is the guideline that I try to follow in the rare instance when I do borrow from friends. Before I borrow anything from anyone I ask myself, “can I afford to replace this if I break or lose it?” Most of the time, I find I can do without or I decide that I would rather just buy the item myself.
Personally, I would much rather pay a lot more by buying the item to avoid the weird situations that come up from borrowing. I still wonder if people have lent me things that I just forgot that I borrowed. I just don’t want to be “that guy” who borrows stuff, forgets to return it and then completely forgets that he ever borrowed it.
I guess I just don’t like the pressure of borrowing. I always feel obligated to treat the object better than I would if it were my own – which is a good thing. But, I just like the comfort of not having to worry about it.
For the lender
SmartMoney Magazine has 5 obligations of lenders:
- If the borrower is not aware of the value of the object, make sure they understand the value of it.
- If the borrower is careless, you don’t have to lend it.
- If the borrower loses or breaks the object, don’t insist on being made whole.
- When you are better off financially than the borrower and the object breaks or is lost – as an act of charity you should forgive the debt.
- Don’t lend to someone who can’t afford to replace it – unless you are okay with replacing it yourself.
I do enjoy lending to people, but I make sure that I always assume I will never see the object again. If I do, then it is a great surprise, but if not I don’t worry about it, because I wasn’t expecting to get it back anyway.
I used to get frustrated with lending to people who didn’t return the items that I lent to them. But, I quickly realized that it is a very common occurrence and I was either going to be needlessly frustrated with a lot of people or I could just consider it GIVING rather than borrowing. I like the giving approach much more. It makes my life easier and it takes everyone else off the hook too.
This is what the Bible has to say about it…
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great…
Find out more of what the Bible says about lending
Do you borrow from friends?
Have you learned any lessons the hard way like me? Do you have any rules of your own for borrowing or lending?