Dear Katie, When A Neighbor Borrows

Dear Katie/Katherine, My neighbor is constantly borrowing stuff from me and then she forgets to return it. I really like her and don’t want to hurt her feelings. But how do I get my things back? Signed a Follower of your sweet blog

Dear bloggy friend, lending to friends and neighbors is a generous thing to do.  Life as you know can be very hectic and sometimes things may not be returned promptly only out of chaos and not out of rudeness.

If you’re lending things like a cup of sugar or a couple of eggs I would just consider those gifts to your neighbor and not loans. If you feel as though you’re being taken advantage of, then just say you’re sorry but you do not have what she needs (i.e. sugar, eggs, etc.) to spare at this time.

But, if you’re lending things of value, or things that you need to use yourself, then my favorite way to handle it is through humor. It has worked well for me in this type of situation.

For example, go to your neighbor and ask to” borrow” whatever it is she’s borrowed from you and forgotten to return. Smile and laugh and let her know you realize how busy life is and how it must have slipped her mind. After she provides you with the item invite her to join you for coffee, tea, etc. Thank you for writing :-)

P.S. If you have a friend or neighbor who borrows and returns promptly the same item repeatedly, and if it’s within your means. I suggest buying that item as a gift and presenting it to him/her for his/her birthday or at the holidays. Or maybe just because. All of this within reason of course.


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  1. What a great advice! As a neighbor who borrows, I always try my best to return within a few days. (But as you say, sometimes things get hectic and I forget!) But when I do return the item, I normally return the item along with a treat as a thank you. I like your suggestion of buying that “constantly” borrowed item as a gift! Brilliant! :P)

  2. I have a hard & fast rule as to this delema…….. I NEVER give anything that I can’t afford to never get back!! That goes for everything from a cup of sugar to money….. ( I also have learned how to say NO!!)

  3. Some very wise advise here today I think Katherine! Luckily I do not have neighbours that borrow stuff. :)

    Hope you are having a wonderful October!
    xo Catherine

  4. My neighbor loves my cat….many days I wish she would borrow the cat and not return it!! Seriously, so far everything has been returned, but there is great advice here just in case that does not happen.

  5. I think our neighbor uses our lawnmower more than we do….they hired a lawn service for 14 years, but money is tight now, so……all I can say is that I appreciate this post!

    Ricki Jill

  6. Great advise! I usually just say keep it, it’s easier that way and it fulfills my need to be needed! Have a great day!

  7. Nicely handled! :)

  8. Katherine says:

    Hi, Katie

    I am hosting a link party today. Love for you to stop by!

    Have a great day!

  9. Great advice, Katherine! I would also mention at the time of the “borrowing” that it is an item that you do use and would want it back right after she is done. I agree about the food items, just consider it good Karma. :) xo

  10. I love your answer and your advice at the end! Good post! Hugs, GraceinAZ

  11. Now that is wonderful advice!

  12. Many years ago, the occasional egg and sugar, back and forth, was comfortable because I knew and was friends with my neighbors. Not so much anymore, people come and people go and we aren’t really comfortable enough to even do that. However, other things… I’m not much of lender. Nobody cares for my things like I do, plus, they conveniently forgot to return them. Therefore, if you need something bad enough, I’d rather just buy it for you, than get ticked off that you didn’t return mine.

  13. Jodi Hall says:

    This is great advice!

  14. Great answer! Humor is always my approach too! Hugs to you Katherine :)

  15. that was very nice.. i wish it would work on my neighbor/cousin, 😀

  16. Sandy Foster says:

    Good advice.

    I really appreciate your sympathy on the loss of my Belle.



  17. Awesome post Katherine! I like how you have dealt with this. I hope your Wednesday is going well and I look forward to participating in your favourite things Hop tomorrow. Take care.

  18. I don’t like to lend things out for that very reason. I get very grumpy when someone doesn’t return something.

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