General Etiquette > Family and Children

Help with neighbors borrowing things! This is LONG!

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seriously?:
We have lived across the street from a large family since they moved in around 10 years ago, we used to be very close, but gradually drifted apart and my friendship with the mother is now just very casual. From time to time we'd borrow items from each other (an egg, a spice, etc on my end) On her end: garden tools, endless jars of pasta sauce, halloween costumes, a bottle of irish cream, etc. Not a big deal but, she NEVER returns the items that are not consumable.  NEVER EVER. I always have to ask for them back. Not to mention the times when we were close and if I was going out to the store, she'd ask me to pick her up something (not cheap mind you, ie, saline solution!) and NEVER pay me for it.

So, here is my problem right now.  One of her children (she has 6) borrowed a Halloween costume my daughter used last year to use for a party this past Halloween.  I remembered that I didn't see it in my daughter's closet, so I sent her a text around the end of November.  She said she thought it had been returned, and if it wasn't it was packed away with the Halloween stuff. So I checked with my DD who said it had been returned.  However, my DD obviously didn't check because it's not here.  There was an activity at school today where you could dress up as a character from a book (which was this costume) I sent her a text on Monday, apologizing that we were mistaken, the costume had not been returned and we needed it by today.  She said she'd get it back to us by Wednesday (yesterday).  I had a business dinner and didn't get home until close to 10pm (too late to call or text) and found that the costume had not been returned.  Thank Goodness my DD had a 2nd costume in backup that was appropriate for the theme.

I am really annoyed at this point and want to let her know that it's not acceptable to do this.  How can I (without being a big jerk)

Daffydilly:
Start saying no to them borrowing things. It will solve the lack of returned items and ease your concerns.

NyaChan:
Get the item back, and mention (as I think you should have when you first reminded her) that you needed the costume for an event.  Then stop lending her things.  Saying no is okay.  We have a friend and neighbor who used to borrow food items from my mom all the time rather than drive 5 minutes to the grocery store.  Finally mom started either not picking up the phone (neighbor would leave a message if it was important) or saying she didn't have the item.  Neighbor stopped asking.

mmswm:

--- Quote from: NyaChan on January 31, 2013, 04:03:13 PM ---Get the item back, and mention (as I think you should have when you first reminded her) that you needed the costume for an event.  Then stop lending her things.  Saying no is okay.  We have a friend and neighbor who used to borrow food items from my mom all the time rather than drive 5 minutes to the grocery store.  Finally mom started either not picking up the phone (neighbor would leave a message if it was important) or saying she didn't have the item.  Neighbor stopped asking.

--- End quote ---

This.

TootsNYC:
Just walk over to her house and knock on the door. Say, "I'll wait while you look in the Halloween stuff."

When she's done looking and has either returned it or announced that it's not there, then say, "I'm not going to be able to loan you anything anymore. I'm sure you can understand. Please don't ask again."

If she starts to argue with you, then repeat, "I'm sure you can understand."
(because even if she DID return it earlier, and your DD lost track of it, she still didn't return it for a LONG time and she still has made you come ask about it)

And then never, ever, ever loan them anything again.
Come up with a phrase ("I'm not going to be able to loan you anything a nymore. I'm sure you understand" is a nice response) and practice it, verbally, out loud.

Teach it to your kids, in case the kids ask.

Then say it.

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