My husband and I live on a greatly reduced income from a few years ago. During better times, we had acquired an extensive library for my hobbies as well as for spirituality matters. My social circle includes many who share not only our interests, but also our spiritual beliefs.
6 months ago, I had guests to our home, for New Year’s Eve. We watched movies and enjoyed our time.
One female expressed interest in a recovery fellowship that I have the literature for. I offered to show her the books, and she took them with her, without my knowledge or permission. I attempted many times to get the books back from her, and there was no real effort made on her part to return my property. I was offered many excuses, and while I did not believe them, I could not take any legal action.
When I was hospitalized for a surgery, she promised to return the books as soon as possible.
I was on restrictions after the surgery, so I could not meet with her to discuss the situation, or to diffuse retaliatory behavior. When I next spoke to her, I was reprimanded for leaving the hospital, as well as for not being there when she showed up, 4 days after my surgery.
Shortly thereafter, I decided to just replace the books out of my limited budget because it was obvious I would not have my property returned to me, and the female in question soon left our social circle after taking property from our group in a similar fashion. The books cost more than I could afford to replace, but I was able to do so over several weeks.
Last week, I was in a local shop, where one of my friends works. It is a second hand store, and the culture of this shop is for those who wish to come in and visit for as long as we are not interrupting the business of the shop. The female who took my property came in, and insisted on a hug. I gave the hug, rather than cause anyone discomfort, and said little other than pleasantries of the day. I was fuming inside, however, and had a brief talk with my friend after the female left. At this late date, there is nothing I can do to get my property, or our groups property returned to us, and so I am turning this into a lesson learned.
Now for my question, I have since stopped mentioning my library to anyone, and have decided to no longer lend my books, either with or without my permission. I have moved my books to another area of my home, so that they are not available for anyone to see.
What is the most polite way to enforce this policy, as I do not wish to offend, or be offensive, also, what is the best way to greet this person who has no boundaries, or respect for others’ property. I have no illusions about her returning to my home, yet my anger persists. 0604-12
As for how to enforce a policy, you simply say, “No, I do not lend out my books.” There is an obligation of your friends and family to not insist they have a right to your possessions and to honor your “No”.
As for how to deal with despicable people one would rather not have much contact with, I think the main point is to be what I call “professionally civil”. You can give a business-like greeting such as “Hello”, and even superficially discussing inane topics like the weather. What you do not do is allow them into your head or heart or allow them access to the personal details of your life. You discuss nothing of substantive content as they are not worthy of that kind of relational intimacy. It is very possible to relate to someone you dislike by acting like you and that person are in a business interaction. You behave civilly, you get the job done with no drama, and you do not let business interfere with your personal life. I use this approach very often.