I thought I would write about something I think we have all experienced.

Over the years I have baked many, many dessert items and shared them.  I’ve brought them to my kids’ school events, happy hour events and even holiday events at relatives’ and friends’ homes.  Most of the time I’ll get my containers back because I put my name on them, but it’s a little tacky to put my name on a dish that I’m bringing to a friend.

For some reason, I have to ask for the dish to be returned.  Is there an unwritten rule that says once something is borrowed, it becomes the property of the borrowee?

I have lent out garden tools, ladders, chairs, etc. never to get them back.  When I need them and can’t find them, I have to try to remember who might have borrowed the particular item. I really should have a check-out card for each item, but that might be too anal.

I have even seen my items in the possession of others, and asked if they were mine.  The answer in many instances is, “Yes, it was, but it’s mine now.”

Many years ago, my parents lent a wrought iron table and chairs to a relative who had moved in to a new house without much furniture.  After a few months, they sold the table and chairs and was asked why they didn’t return it instead of selling it.  The answer was “you gave it to us, so it was ours to do with what we chose.”

The key word in all these situations is “lent vs. give.”  Either give something without the expectation of getting it back, or don’t lend anything to anyone.

This is especially true of money. The first rule of loaning money to friends: Don’t do it. The second: If you do, don’t loan what you can’t afford to lose. The third: The relationship will rarely, if ever, be the same.