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The Top 10 Rules About Borrowing Anything from Anyone

Concerned about lending family members or friends your favourite
possessions, your toys, your tools, a favourite sweater? Learn how to say
"No" or establish a clear understanding of expectations and
consequences. Share a copy of this list with the borrower or prepare one
which is uniquely right for you and the article in question.

1. Ask permission and indicate the date or period for which it is needed.

2. It is your responsibility to return it quickly. Say when you will do so,
ask if that is acceptable and honour your pledge.

3. However well the owner looks after it, do so ten times as well. Regardless of the item's material value, to the owner it may be beyond price.

4. If it is washable, cleanable or serviceable, indicate your intention to do so before returning it and ensure that that is acceptable. Note that we are not looking for excuses to avoid having the item washed, cleaned or serviced: we are ensuring that there are no special requirements for doing this of which we are not aware. You don't want to be responsible for shrinking a family heirloom, having the item irreversibly change colour or grind to a halt because an oil has been changed for another which is inappropriate.

5. Ensure it doesn't get damaged by yourself or anyone else while in your
care. Whatever happens, you are responsible.

6. If anything unexpected happens to it, confess!

7. If it does get damaged, have it repaired - immediately!

8. If it cannot be repaired, replace it with another of at least the same value.

9. If it cannot be replaced make an incredible gesture of gratitude and remorse. Tailor this to the person from whom you have borrowed. It might not be a personal gift, it may be a generous donation to their favourite charity.
And what is generous? Depends on your circumstances, the sum may be $5, $500 or $5000 but the key is that it is enough to hurt.

10. Make an entry in your daytimer, put 'post-it' stickers in conspicuous places to ensure you return the item, preferably before the agreed date: in everything, underpromise and overdeliver!

About the submitter:
This piece was written by Martin Sawdon who can be reached at or visited on the web at

Martin has a special interest in people in the workplace and the creation of Sustainable Workplaces, corporations which are extraordinarily profitable, extraordinarily effective if public sector but get there by growing people rather than consuming them like a fossil fuel. He coaches clients with integrity and great senses of humor, who are determined to realize achievements beyond their wildest dreams.

Coaching-Works! has been featured on radio and television.

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