Do You Let Friends Borrow Your Stuff?

by Broke Grad on March 12, 2009

One of my friends recently needed to borrow a computer to type some papers for a class. While I’m usually reluctant to lend out expensive stuff to anyone, I went against my logic and did it anyway. Girls tend to have that effect on guys.

Lending and borrowing can be a tricky business, especially when friends are involved. There’s more at stake than the stuff being lent or borrowed. There’s a friendship, which is usually the most fragile part of the deal.

Have you ever had a friend ask to borrow your car? Your clothes? Your money? I’ve witnessed and experienced plenty of situations like these over the years, and the outcome usually isn’t good. A fender bender, an accidental tear, or a convenient case of selective amnesia is all it takes to destroy what was once a good friendship.

So I let my friend borrow my netbook (with a slight hesitation). A week goes by and everything is fine. My friend tells me that she’ll be done with her papers in one more week, and then she’ll give it back.

The other night, I get a call from my friend at a strange hour. It’s not good. She had somehow managed to fray the power cord, making the power adapter useless. Great.

Fortunately, my friend offered to cover the cost of a replacement power adapter, so I didn’t really have anything to get mad about. (My apologies to those of you who were expecting a more dramatic ending.) It looks like our friendship will survive this netbook borrowing adventure, but I know that not every story has a happy ending.

It’s your turn to share. Do you let friends borrow your stuff? Have your experiences been good or bad?

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1 tom March 12, 2009 at 6:01 am

I seen friends and family borrow money to other friends and family members and most of the time never got any of it back.

So for me, I have never actually lent money to anyone, I see it as, if you lent them money, dont expect to get it back.

My only exception is lending money to friends that are close to me and I know they will be able to pay back.

2 Kris March 12, 2009 at 6:36 am

Tom’s comment reminds me of that old joke: “If you lend your brother-in-law $500 and you never see him again, was it worth it?”

I’ve had good experience with letting friends borrow expensive things; it’s always the little things that go missing. A few friends have not returned some books of mine…

A friend of mine recently co-signed a car loan for her boyfriend, and he already owes her a few thousand dollars. I told her that’s way too dangerous, and she needs to stop letting him borrow anything and make him get a better job. Ugh.

3 tom March 12, 2009 at 6:57 am

Ya I have heard of bad stories regarding co signing, I think people don’t realize the risk they are getting themselves into.

I mean you now have two obligations, to the creditor and your co-signer, making sure they stay on top of the payments.

This calls for tough love and not just “being nice” to others just because you are friends. At that point it becomes business and it needs to be treated differently.

4 Erin March 12, 2009 at 10:31 am

I’ve encountered a few girls in their twenties that had cosigned loans with now ex-boyfriends. Definitely not a good situation.

I think letting friends borrow things is slightly different. In college I let close friends borrow clothes and books. I always looked at it as a favor for someone I trust. Clothes always came back the next day fine, but some of the books didn’t survive as well. Given that, I try not to lend out new items or things I will need again within the next few weeks.

5 SJ March 12, 2009 at 11:19 am

I’ve always lent out w/e (ranging from books, clothes, money… etc.) to close friends. I mean, I trust them enough that if something did happen to w/e it was it won’t affect the friendship that much.
Same in the other direction…

W/ people I know less well I’m a little more cautious… and try to avoid it…

6 J. Money March 12, 2009 at 12:33 pm

yeah, i always rent out my stuff as long as it’s not money ;) so far so good too. in fact, my neighbor currently has my electric/acoustic guitar…i should probably get that back from him at some point. (although i have his too….but i like mine better)

7 Mike March 12, 2009 at 1:30 pm

I let friends borrow my stuff all the time, but I never feel good about it. Sure, I feel good that I’m helping them out, but I always have an uneasy feeling that something will go wrong.

8 Jill March 12, 2009 at 6:31 pm

I’m always hesistant to let people borrow my things, especially when it comes to money, even if it’s a few bucks (i know, I may seem like a cheapstake, but eventually, those few bucks tend to turn into a few hundreds laters).

I know someone that let a friend borrow a dress of hers, and it came back “with semen” on it.

9 Johanne March 13, 2009 at 1:30 am

Most of the time, I don’t. But when I do, it’s because that friend has earned my trust.

10 Betsy Bargain March 14, 2009 at 9:05 pm

I loan out things like clothes, books, games, movies, etc. That gives me borrowing privileges with my friends in return! I wouldn’t loan out anything really expensive or irreplaceable, though.

11 Tyler March 15, 2009 at 5:58 pm

I only let my friends borrow my stuff if they have something of equal value to let me borrow for that time period.

12 Kristy @ Master Your Card March 19, 2009 at 8:15 pm

I’m ok with letting friends and family borrow stuff. I have not come across a situation in which I’ve had it returned in less than perfect condition (knock on wood). I have never let anyone borrow my car and I’m not sure I would, just something about not having it available to me makes me nervous. I have lent money to a friend once before and she did pay me back, but it’s not something I do regularly. If they’re in serious need and I have the cash, then I may consider it; otherwise, I don’t.

I completely agree that letting other people borrow your stuff is a good way to ruin a perfectly good relationship. I’m glad this situation didn’t turn out to be so for you!

13 fathersez March 26, 2009 at 7:29 pm

I only lend when I feel that the value of the stuff lent is minimal, or the circumstances are extraordinary. And I have also never asked.

For example I have lent my car only once in my life. That was when a friend had a family emergency, a real life threatening one.

After a while everyone seems to know who to ask and who not to ask.


14 annie April 30, 2009 at 8:35 pm

I think I am horrible at this, simply because I can’t say no. People probably know about this by now.

Whenever I lend someone money they really do get selective amnesia, even though it’s not a big amount, still. You know?

I had a nice digital camera and my friend guiltied me up by asking me to borrow it in front of another friend. She lost the power cord, charger, extra memory card and usb cord. She did pay for it but it took a while to get it from her.

My other friend borrowed my ipod and i had to go to her place to get it. Imagine that.

I wonder if theres a balance, maybe just don’t borrow so you have a reason to not lend anything. You’ll never run out of friends too, so its ok if they ditch you for not being their bitch. I suppose you’ll also , in a way, know if this person is responsible enough to deserve help.

15 macy May 4, 2009 at 1:30 pm

i lent textbooks to friend. He couldn’t be bothered to return them. when i asked him about it he got upset as if i had no right to ask about my stuff.

16 Diane Gordon May 22, 2009 at 8:03 am

Those of us who are generous, and you probably are, have a problem with attracting certain people who are the opposite. As a matter of fact, people who are always borrowing things and asking favors are as equally likely to have some excuse why they can’t return the favor. Try this one, “I had a couple of bad experiences in the past, so I have a policy of not lending out my stuff anymore.” For some strange reason, the “policy” part works, probably because you get to avoid having to say, “No, I don’t want to let YOU have this.” If you’re in grad school, you’re probably relatively young. So lemme tell you, this dynamic is not going to change as time goes by. I have this “friend” who is unspeakably cheap, yet is so quick to ask for this and that. I just got a nice video camera – and within 48 hours of having it out of the box, she’s asking if she can not only borrow it, but take it away on a trip with her. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t pick up the phone when she calls, because she’s probably going to ask me to do, or loan her something. Time to redefine “friend.” Some people think of other people as marks – what can I get from this person? I realize it’s hard to say no when it’s not your nature, but you don’t want to have resentment building up. And don’t even bother expressing your feelings – trust me, they won’t get it. Just make a mental note of it and, in any way possible, tell them, gee, sorry, but I just can’t do it.

17 TOROX June 9, 2009 at 6:02 pm

I’ve been known as a generous one. But, I’ve also been burned. And I’ve learned that you don’t ever let even your closest friends borrow anything. They will hold on to it forever. And then, when they finally give it back, they will re-borrow it again, and again, and again. The lending out of things is more of a hassle than it’s worth. I had this one friend that kept asking to borrow my camera. Every time she needed to take pictures for something, she would ask to borrow it. Vacations, graduations, etc. It just annoys me! I would love to just tell her to go buy her own camera….but, then again, you are right. They don’t get it!

18 Bailey June 23, 2009 at 4:45 pm

hi. my best friend always borrows this cute black dress I have. I have always given it to her, it looks great on her, but she has worn it way more than i have. She wants to wear it tomorrow for this event we r going to be volunteering at, but i think its way too dressy for the event..and frankly, i’m sick of her wearing MY dress to events we are BOTH at, it makes me feel like i can never wear it again because ppl will be like “Oh, isnt that ur friends dress?” Plus, i know she only likes it because its low cut and she want to impress ppl. Maybe I could just show up wearing it instead….hmm.. . (am i being a total biotch?) Any advice on how i can tell her that I don’t wanna lend it to her anymore?

19 Mitchie August 4, 2009 at 2:40 pm

I have this Filipino friend who moved here to Canada last year. She was all like “I want to make Canadian friends” and we became good friends because we had quite a bit in common. But this all lasted a few months. She’s now always on Facebook with 300 people, all Filipino, so much for wanting to make Canadian friends! Well, I have no problem with her wanting to be friends with other Filipinos, I do have a problem for the way she changed in such a short time, ever since she’s been spending pretty much every waking moment on Facebook with these people that she knows in real life, and that she met on the internet. So she’s rude and a huge jerk now. unfortunately I borrowed her some of my DVDs, and last time I saw her she said she forgot them at home. Then a day later she got mad at me because I accidentally untagged a picture she sent me on Facebook! I e-mailed her and explained it was an accident, but she won’t reply. So I’ve got to phone her and try to get her to meet me and give me back my movies! If she wants to ruin our friendship over something so stupid like untagging a picture on Facebook, that’s fine with me, but I’m afraid now she won’t give my movies back. I’m never going to borrow anything out again!

20 Dan August 14, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Lending stuff is always a bit of gamble, there are even websites out there that let people borrow/lend stuff such as, which seams really weird, but you never know..people will do really weird things.

21 Kray Mitchell September 1, 2009 at 2:34 pm

I have always been the type of person that will help out a friend in need, despite having been burned multiple times in the past.

I think one of the most difficult things for most people is keeping track of their items once they have been lent out. But if you are in a tight spot, does it really make sense to shell out your hard earned money to buy something you are only going to use once or twice? It makes more sense to borrow or rent the item from a friend or neighbor.

Enter, an online marketplace to rent, lend, gift or sell the unwanted and rarely used items sitting in your garage and basement. Why not make some money and help out your neighbor while you are at it!

As a society, we have been preoccupied by consumerism. We are creating more waste and spending money we don’t really need to. Time to buck the trend people!

22 adam berk November 8, 2009 at 8:03 pm

You should use for all your borrowing and lending.

23 Mike January 16, 2010 at 10:49 am

Why do people get in to the habit of borrowing stuff? I was raised in a way that I never borrowed anything or asked for money from anyone. It’s just way too hard for me to go to a friend and ask for money or borrow their things. I would rather rent it from an stranger and pay a small fee than borrow it from a friend. But the problem is, even though I never ask anything, people often come and ask me to borrow my stuff. I say F*ck off, get your own.

I save money and make sacrifices to be able to purchase a DSLR camera for example. I have passion for photography. It makes me mad that people see my pictures and they are suddenly like wow, can I borrow your camera for tomorrow’s trip to cottage?!!! I am like WTF. If you like to take good pictures, then why don’t you go and get your own camera, it’s only $2000!!!!

And the worse part if when you tell them that hey buddy, this camera is very expensive. Are you willing to pay for a new replacement, IF something happens to it. They are like ohh, no I don’t have such a money. I’d say, then you probably can’t afford borrowing it either.

I now have a rule. If a friend ask me for money or a thing, I say: NO, I’ve had bad experience with lending my stuff before and I have decided to never lend anything to anyone. Besides, the good news is I will be the last person in your door, asking to borrow your stuff.

I simply HATE those people who come and borrow your things. Borrowing is like begging. Borrowing somebody’s DSLR is not a necessity, and your life isn’t depend on it. It’s simply a luxury. If you can’t afford that luxury, then you should never borrow it from someone. Go make your own sacrifice and save for it, and buy one for yourself.

My father says, never do business with your friend, never lend them anything. It’s bad habit that kills your friendship at the end.

24 Sharon January 27, 2010 at 12:43 am

I have lent out my guitar to someone I have not known for to long, he is a friend of a friend… But he has had it for over a month now And I have not gotten it back and I don’t know how to get a hold of him! I am pissed!!! I have asked my friend to get if from me but he wont!! WTF?? This is ridiculous!! I want my guitar back!! :( WHat should I do? I dont have an address or phone number for him….

25 Mic January 27, 2010 at 6:11 am

Ask your friend for the guys number! If he doesn’t have the balls to even do that, then I’d be questioning the friendship.
It’s ok to borrow a neighbours hammer – they know where you live… And it’s inexpensive.
I cannot stand people who ask their friends to loan out money or expensive items! If they can’t be thrifty with ther money, it shouldn’t be their friends responsibility to buy items for their use!!! Friends don’t = bank!

26 Diane Gordon January 28, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Okay, here’s a toxic combo – I’m very generous with both my time and possessions. I’d say my friends are this way, too. No problem. But then I got friendly with a woman who is always asking for things, my time, my possessions, etc. Meanwhile, she is incredibly cheap. The final straw was when she asked to borrow a very new and expensive electronic item. Meanwhile, she won’t even split the cost of a glass of wine on a dinner tab because she doesn’t drink. The point is, you have to consider who the loaner and the borrower are in this situation. You know who your friends are and whom you can trust.

27 Helena February 4, 2010 at 5:00 pm

People are really ANNOYING!!!! I do agree that borrowing is like begging. Don’t they feel guilty? you are their friend right? I wouldn’t do that to my friend unless it was a HUGE BIG GIGANTIC emergency. Even so, I would hesitate.

28 henry February 24, 2010 at 9:38 am

some people like to take over advantage of your weaknesses.. i know it’s difficult to say “no” to a friend.. i always get in to such embarrassing situations and end up lending the item reluctantly.. if you gave up something once expect them to borrow it again and again until you say “no” firmly.. sometimes ppl borrow for genuine reasons.. still its hard to filter things.. always never give up your right to say no.. ppl will understand that you’re not stupid ;)

29 courtney March 2, 2010 at 5:10 pm

today i let my friend borrow my I POD TOUCH!! (this was at school) and she said she would give it back at lunchguess WHAT! she diddint give it back, i asked her to give it back a she said”ill give you it at homeroom, then in homeroom i ask her to give it back AND GUESS WHAT THAT MOTHERFUNCKING BITCH DIDNT GIVE IT BACK ” she said ill give it to you tomarrow”THE END/ AND WILL THAT BICH GIVE ME MY $230.00 I PODTHAT TOOK ME SOOOO LONG TO GET OR WILL SHE JUST KEEP IT AND END UP BREAKING IT….WE WILL FIND OUT TOMAROWW! THE END p.s im sooooooo fucking pissed! bye

30 Julia March 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm

I recently was using my frieds camera when i dropped it, after i took another photo, the screen went black and i couldnt turn the camera off, so i took out the battery and put it back in, i turned it on and only the power li8ght went on, i relised that the camera lens is crooked and wont go in or out. IM REALLY SCAREED TO TELL HER, becasuse she is my best friend and she will kill me, it was her favorite camera? WHAT DO I DO??

31 diahni March 9, 2010 at 6:43 am

This is a good example of why it’s better not to borrow expensive things, worse, delicate digital expensive things – ‘fess up, and replace or fix it pronto.
Maybe the rule for lending out stuff is – “If you never see the item again, are you okay with this?” I’m pretty quick to lend things, but don’t like to borrow because of stuff that can happen, like dropping a camera. Using a pricey electronic toy is a privilege – if somebody doesn’t want to spring for the price of it, why should they use somebody else’s?
This is what I wonder – you can buy very good digital cameras for pretty cheap. I have a cheap kodak and it works just fine – why not just buy a cheap one for yourself anyway? It’s kinda sad when “things” mess up a friendship.
(And btw, Courtney, the girl who isn’t giving back your ipod touch is NO FRIEND. She’s using you. )

32 diahni March 9, 2010 at 6:46 am

P.S. It’s so ironic – it’s really great to be a generous person – only problem is that the users take advantage of us. Here’s a good one – I got a “friend” who owns a very expensive house, has a housekeeper and gardener. I bought a digital movie camera and as soon as I told her she wanted to borrow it. Not just borrow it, but take it on vacation. Sheesh, I can barely pay my mortgage.
It’s usually hard for me to say no, but in this case, it was easy. Get your own damned camera!

33 Linda March 29, 2010 at 9:34 pm

I put some of my stuff in a friends storage shed. Now she is telling me if I don’t get the stuff out she is going to put it on the street. I asked her for the stuff I left in her house her response was that belongs to her. I can’t take back what I gave her. I never gave her the stuff I just said that she could use it while I have no room for it at my place. I went to sell some jewlery when she notice this ring that was her birthstone. She said that all she wanted was to wear it and when I wanted it back she would give it to me. She now tells everyone I gave it to her for her birthday. What should I do?

34 diahni March 30, 2010 at 6:51 am

Linda, dear, this is NO friend! Get your stuff back and blow off a toxic relatioinship.

35 Christopher April 19, 2010 at 7:48 am

here is what happened to me… I let a friend that i have known for years borrow one of my precious items. (why? i don’t know?) I was in a generally good mood at the time and im generally a nice person. one sunday afternoon he ask to borrow my Zune which i was very skeptical about. He needed to borrow it so he can listen to it on the way to denver and back. He said he went to denver to see is mom. (lie #1 i found out his mom was never in denver) he came by and scooped it up with a bunch of black guys in the car that i have never seen before. Not even 10 min he texted me talking about how he wasn’t all the way out the car and the charger broke cuz his cousin drove off. then 20 min went by he texted me telling me he got into an accident (some car hit the from behind on a highway and they ran into the pole) he said his hand got messed up and the zune split on the left side (lie #2 how is that possible for something that small with a case over it breaks like that ?) i was numb for a while and then anger kicked in. He was telling me imma buy you a zune touch and all this other stuff. I asked him if he was lying and he was like I SWEAR TO GOD your like a brother to me i wouldn’t do that. Everybody that knows him told me ‘Chris you shouldn’t have done that because he probably sold it. They will do anything for money, even steal from their best friends’
I still don’t know what im going to do about this, but now i know better not to let your friends borrow stuff especially that expensive. I wouldn’t advise it.

36 jojo June 4, 2010 at 7:18 am

me and my other friends were walkin home, and my friends gave me her camera to hold, and we all started like going nuts and next thing u kno the camera is on the floor with the lens mashed in, my friend to me its fine it was an accident, now she is asking for the money and i dnt have the money and she sed if u dnt give me the money fuck off then!! i was in complete shock i dnt kno what to do so i ges we arent friends, i offerd her the money i had wich was only £15 but she refused and we arnt talking ! so 2 and a 1/2 years of being good friends is down the drain over a camera that costs £50!

37 sandykalts September 19, 2010 at 6:49 am

I lent a friend a book. She was going on vacation for three weeks so I told her she could take it with her and enjoy it while there. I also told her there was “no hurry” for the book back. About 3 weeks after her return I got an email from a mutual friend of ours saying that she had my book and hope I didn’t mind. I was so surprised that the friend I entrusted with the book lent it to another without asking me first. I feel I was taken advantage of. I really don’t know how many people might have read my book in that time. I want to confront the friend but am not sure if I am overreacting. Help me figure it out.

38 generous soul September 21, 2010 at 7:17 pm

I feel your pain, I lent a friend of a friend a shirt that took me two months to get back, the friend asked numerous times for it but she kept on “forgetting” it, eventually I wanted to wear it on a date and asked that it was returned the night before, it was too much of a hassle to return despite living just around the corner, in the end she returned it but too late for my date.
I will still lend stuff but not to that girl. And not my favourite and unique items, as i would be devestated if something happened to them.

39 sdglo September 27, 2010 at 2:24 pm

It never ends! I live in a senior community that stores medical equipment for anyone who needs it. I bought some special crutches because of orthopedic surgeries. A friend had a dislocated hip and other friends picked her up and she left the hospital without any plans for when she got home. The came to my door and asked for everything I was using – walker, crutches, raised toilet seat. Since it was an emergency, I gave them a walker and crutches but the next day when I called the friend, she said she’d gotten a walker and toilet seat from the medical equipment closet but didn’t ask for crutches since she had mine. I told her she should get crutches, too, from the closet as I would like mine back. A couple hours later she had someone return them abruptly, which of course, made me feel like a louse. You can’t win, I guess.

40 sdglo September 30, 2010 at 6:28 pm

I got the crutches back but the lady used a hammer to adjust them because the buttons were hard to push in. Consequently, I have one that isn’t useable anymore. Remember, “no good deeds go unpunished!”

41 Emily October 8, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Earlier this summer I let one of my friends borrow the fushigi I got for Christmas because he loves juggling. I’m getting the vibe that he thought I meant he could keep it… My plan was to let him take it home for a week or so to try it out before he spent $20 on something he doesn’t like. This was in June and it is now October. I texted him once and said “haha, I just remembered that you still have my fushigi!” and he was just like “haha yeah I haven’t dropped it or scratched it or anything” ughhh… I want my fushigi back (even though I have no clue how to use it.) it’s not like I don’t trust him, but you know, it’s nice to get your stuff back.

I should probably add that he didn’t ask to borrow my fushigi. I brought it to church because he had been talking about how he would like to try one out someday.

42 diane gordon October 9, 2011 at 8:58 am

Emily, dear. Please say directly to this guy, I want my toy back. Now. A lot of people are like this, so it’s up to you to make it clear you didn’t give it to him.
I think people who are quick to lend out their stuff get into this with people who take advantage of their generosity. Maybe, I don’t know, you are being too polite, but there is nothing wrong with asking for it back. After all, it’s yours.

43 diane gordon October 9, 2011 at 8:59 am

P.S. Maybe he doesn’t realize that you want it back, giving him the benefit of the doubt here!

44 josenieves January 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm

everytng i read never borow from nobdy yes i aded friends and people that no me and if iwoud subcrbe a person the page come out and ask me if i no this person so since iwas not shore i wuod cancel i never disrespected anybody also never had a chat wiyt no one the reson for that its becuse i was exceted only wiyt usersnane and working wity a bage to remove people from page so i wuod remove but day wuod come back and yes i like facebook alot so believe me iwuod do noting for my page to get lock up every morning thats the first page i laways open now i have no idea how this happen thak yuo for saying wtat i had to say from tito nieves

45 josenieves January 12, 2012 at 2:06 pm

evryting i read is fasl if its posible i woud want facebook back plus the things i read it heilp me olot i have not harm nobody and if i made a mistake that i dond no aboit sory that its all i have to say thank yuo

46 josenieves January 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm

wat esls can isay

47 Rent Textbooks Online January 20, 2012 at 8:42 am

I don’t let my friends borrow stuff, its one thing if I break something I would get totally mad if someone else broke something of mine.

48 caleb June 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm

weird and cool

49 Tori August 28, 2012 at 8:38 am

When I was working I would buy new stuff like purses and dresses. I had a good job where I could afford it. My friend doesn’t work her choice btw and always made comments that I am materialistic and obsessed with things. I work had and like to treat myself sometimes and I think that’s ok. It comes to a point that I don’t like looking nice and carrying/wearing nice things cause her and others make comments about it. Also if there is ever an event she borrows my stuff and doesn’t return it. We have been friends for a long time. I dont want to ask for it back. But seriously some stuff she’s had for 5 years. Like I get that you don’t wear a fancy dress everyday but I bought it! Btw when I borrow things I return it immediately and all items to prevent any issues. My stuff just accumulates there.

50 bre October 14, 2013 at 10:13 pm

I’m a very generous individual and always willing to help someone in need. I have a friend who always asks to use my car … #blah.. She doesn’t live that far from me but its so annoying that I can’t walk out my house and get in my car whenever I feel like it … I find it so annoying that I have to spend everyday with her … Just so that she can get home … When she has a roommate with a car & THEN she asked to use my laptop … I haven’t seen my laptop in a week … CAN I PLEASEE HAVE MY SHIT BACK ?! sometimes I’m thinking am I being selfish ?!

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