Monday, July 12, 2010

Manners Monday: Valuing the Property of Others

Hi ladies! Sorry for my lack of blog posts lately, I've been busy finishing up some design plans for a few clients that have kept me pretty busy. I'm finally in the clear for a little while and happy to get back on track with the Manners Monday series and more regular posts. If you missed the first 2 posts of the series, you can click to read all about Manners: The Basics and How to Avoid Overstaying your Welcome to get caught up.

It has become quite apparent to me over the years that nobody will ever value our own belongings the way that we will. Whether it is respect for our home, car or that cute little black dress we loan a friend, it would seem that if it doesn't belong to them, it is (in many cases) treated as such, 'someone else's stuff'.

My parents taught me to respect other's property and as such, I always do my very best to return items promptly and in the same (if not better) condition than when they were given to me.

Here are some general tips that will keep you ahead of the game and thinking about how to properly care for the property of others.

Respecting What Isn't Yours

1. Borrowing Clothing-If you are ever loaned any garments, do have them laundered or dry cleaned professionally after use prior to returning them. That is the least you can do since your friend paid the price of purchasing the piece that you just wore. If you stain or damage the item in any way, be prepared to compensate the other person for the item. Don't try to pretend you didn't notice what happened. Be upfront, your friend will respect you for your honesty, even if they are a bit miffed at the time.

Back in high school a friend of mine was walking home from my place one night and it had become chilly. She asked if she could borrow a sweater. I gave her one of my newer sweaters that I had recently got for Christmas and she agreed to return it the next time we saw each other. A week had gone by and my new sweater was seen on one of her close friends (we went to the same school). I found it she had then loaned it to her friend who liked my sweater but she never mentioned it was mine. Needless to say, not only did she not fess up to loaning out my sweater, we later fell out of friendship for other reasons and I never got it back.

2. Just Visiting-While visiting in someones home, cottage or boat, it is never appropriate to put your feet up on furniture and get comfortable unless your host encourages you to do so. It's also important to respect their privacy-never snoop in medicine cabinets, drawers or kitchen cabinets without first being instructed to do retrieve something. When it comes to your arrival, always knock or ring the bell, never walk in unless you are given the okay. Always use a coaster for drinks and a napkin. If you spill anything in someone else's home it is best not to try and hide it-inform the host immediately and apologize profusely. They would best know how to handle water on their wood floors or red wine on their light colored upholstery. Do offer to clean up what you have damaged and if need be, payment may be in order. After all, this is not your home and you are responsible for your actions.

A good friend of mine confessed to me that certain friend's don't respect her stuff. A couple who regularly attends her parties knows of their no-shoes policy (it's the same one we have in our own home) and yet instead of these guests taking off their shoes temporarily, they left them on to walk through to the back patio, traipsing over her one-of-a kind rug brought home from a memorable trip. She had asked a few times and then resigned to the fact that they just didn't 'get it'.

3. Car Pooling- You can see the entire post I wrote on carpool etiquette for a full rundown, but as it pertains to spending time in someone else's car, here are a few important tips. Always wear your seat belt, do not ever eat or drink in someones car unless they give you the green light, never change the driver's radio station unless they've asked you to do so, avoid tracking dirt, gravel or the like into the vehicle and be careful opening and closing the door as to not ding the door. Always err on the side of gentleness-there is no need to slam the door unless it's a heavy door that requires it, the same holds true for the trunk. Be sure to offer some money if someone is driving you around town, to help cover the cost of gas and wear & tear on the car.

4. Borrowing a Car- If you are borrowing someone else's car, drive with the utmost safety in mind. Don't change their pre-programmed radio station or switch out their CD's for yours which could become scratched. Filling up the gas tank back to where it started from is the least you can do. You may even want to fill it up for the person who was kind enough to loan you the car, or instead take it for a touchless car wash to show your appreciation. Be sure to remove any trash or items that you brought into the car.

5. Books, CD's and DVD's-If someone has loaned you some of their media, be sure to return it scratch-free (or free from highlighter and dog-eared corners) and in a timely manner. Books are probably one of the most highly shared items with the borrower often forgetting that they have them. If you are the one loaning your books be sure to have a nameplate sticker, address label or pen you name into the inside cover or pages so the borrower remembers who they acquired it from. It's always far better to return something before someone has to ask for it-3 weeks is a good rule of thumb for media items unless you've already made other arrangements. This timeframe also applies to most other borrowd items.

How about you? Have you ever loaned something to someone and never got it back or received it in a lesser condition upon its return?Maybe you were pleasantly surprised by the wonderful state it was returned in?

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Thanks for reading!



  1. Hi, I am a new follower and I love your blog you are doing a great job and thanks a lot for this useful post. Can you do a post on table settings and table manners

  2. I have friends that wear their shoes on my carpet , it drives me crazy, they also let their kids destroy my house & then leave without even an offer to tidy up, needless to say, we don't invite them over anymore, perhaps I should email them a link to your fabulous blog.Thank you!!

  3. Thanks Ladies, I'm so glad you are enjoying my blog! :) Trish-I'm so sorry to hear how other's have just walked off and not even so much as offered to help clean up. I've heard this from several moms, it's the equivalent to eating a meal in someone's home and not even offering to help with the dishes.

    Alvira-That is a great topic that I had planned to cover. I will work that into Manners Monday in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned! :)


  4. This is wonderful Karla! Instead of going on and on about how others have no respect for my house I'll be positive and share my own story.
    My steamer broke awhile ago so It's been shipped off under warranty. My floors were in need of a huge cleaning so I used my neighbors. The handle broke! Yes I was really upset but I knew what needed to be done, I thought I would be dropping $100+ on a new one.
    I drove to Bed Bath Beyond, brought it in (i knew she bought it here but had no proof) No questions asked they replaced it with the newer model! I would have expected the same and she was so very thankful and couldn't believe I went above and beyond.
    Have a great week Karla, hope your doing well, sounds like you are busy with the new clients, that is great!!!

  5. I loved that. I've had people borrow things before and never return it. Really bugs me too. I try extra hard now to be mindful of these kinds of things because I hate it when it happens to me.

  6. I rarely borrow items from friends or family because I'm a little concerned about damaging something of value. Books are about it for me.

    I can completely relate to respecting the homes and furnishings in other people's homes. Someone close to me used to let her children run wild in my home. Every time they visited something ended up damaged. Once her child rubbed her chocolate brownie covered hands on my sofa.

    Maybe you could address the issue of how to politely ask someone to teach their child to respect your home, that is a tricky subject.

  7. Karla~ This is a great post! I agree with everything you wrote.
    I can't wait to read your post on Friday about bras!
    Have a pretty day!

  8. Love this post! You make such great points. Love your blog!


  9. Karla,

    I received a brand new pair of white jazz oxfords in high school (the 80s). I lent them to my good friend to wear to a concert. I had never even worn them!

    She never returned them, and I saw her wearing them months later nearly destroyed. She never said thank you, I'm sorry, or anything.

    It ruined our friendship in high school!



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