Sunday, January 15, 2017

The bad borrower

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri, 

I have a sister who is about four years younger than me (I’m 18) and, ever since she was little, she would “borrow” my stuff. She was always destructive with my things. None of my other brothers and sisters ever did anything like this.

I’m the oldest, and my mom, who is a single mom who works all the time, always taught us that if we borrowed anything from anyone (including family) that we had to give it back in the same shape it was in.

All of the rest of us have borrowed each others things and always returned them without any problems, except this particular sister.

Since my dad left, she has gotten worse.

I recently found a favorite shirt under her bed with a thousand other bunches of stuff and it had stains under the arms that I was going to have the dry cleaners get out.

But, the dry cleaning man said he couldn’t get the stains out because it was from not wearing deodorant and the shirt is ruined. I was so mad, I yelled at her and got into a huge fight with her.

My mom got angry at me for not being the more mature one and handling the situation better.

I don’t think it’s fair that I got yelled at. Nothing like this goes on at the other family’s home where I babysit other kids.

I can’t wait to graduate and go to college and get away from having to be the babysitter all the time at my house and have my sister ruin all my stuff.

Signed,
 Sister of a bad borrower

Dear Sister,


you are to be complimented on being a responsible person. However, we think you may have too much responsibility on your young shoulders.

There’s an old saying from our society, when we were a more civil society, which goes something like this: “Give back borrowed items in better shape than you received them.”

In today’s culture of entitlement, people have a tendency to not be as polite in the borrowing arena.

Good habits of lenders:

• Tell them your expectations, i.e., “ I need this (item) back by (certain date and time) and I need it to be in the same or better shape when you return it.”

• If someone borrows money, have them sign a note.

• The expectations of both borrowers and lenders are that accidents do happen, problems will occur, items may not be able to be repaired or returned in a timely manner.

• Try to be patient with those who try or are contrite about losing, damaging, or not being able to return whatever was borrowed.

• Don’t lend something you really want or need back.

Borrowers, don’t borrow unless you intend to repay and don’t ignore the lender – let them know you care, you are trying, and you are sorry.

Now, good sister, we encourage you to ask your mom to sit down with you and your sister and communicate in the most civil manner (with rules like no yelling, no throwing, no dirty looks, etc.) to discuss this big problem together ASAP. Tell your sister you love her but she has been hurtful and disrespectful.

You can then express to Mom your concerns over the care of your brothers and sisters and how you feel too much responsibility is on your shoulders. It’s not that you aren’t capable of helping; it’s that you are young and need some carefree time.

Get some exercise, have fun, and let go of things that aren’t your responsibility – starting now.

Signed,
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

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