Why am I so concerned about what you do with your personal belongings, you ask? After all, it is yours and you can do what you want with your stuff. Yeah, you’re right. It’s yours. Do what you want. But I’m advising you to take care of your belongings for one simple reason: People will judge how well you will take care of their things by how well you take care of your own things. Plain and simple.
Can I be honest with you for a second? I’m one who doesn’t really like to let people borrow my things. Call me selfish if you want, but I’ve just had too many experiences where I let someone borrow something only to have it come back to me in a raggedy condition. But when I stop and think about what condition I usually see their stuff in, I shouldn’t have expected anything else.
Have you ever let someone borrow a book that you kept in new condition only to have it come back with pages dog-eared and corners bent? Or let someone borrow a dress and it come back to you with a tear in it that you know was not there when you let them borrow it? Or let someone borrow your car and you get it back with a coffee stain in the carpet? And then they have the nerve to get upset with you and call you selfish or stingy when you don’t want to let them borrow anything else? Of course accidents happen, but sometimes you can tell the difference between an accident and something that just was not well-cared for. Let’s take a look at the evidence:
Exhibit A: The dog-eared book
- The book seemingly comes back to you in the same condition that it was in when you let the person borrow it. You flip through the pages and find one page slightly folded back at the corner. Ruling: Accident. (It might have even been you who did that.)
- The book comes back to you with the front cover hanging off, the pages crumpled as if it got wet, and the back cover with a million creases. Ruling: Not well-cared for. (Umm, they should have kept that book and bought you a new copy.)
Exhibit B: The torn dress
- The dress comes back clean and in good condition, but upon further inspection, there is a slight tear in the lining of the dress. Ruling: Accident. (No one sees the lining anyway, so you’re not really concerned.)
- The dress comes back with food and wine stains, deodorant on the side of the dress, dirt near the hem, and a rip near the arm hole. Ruling: Not well-cared for (and you’re gonna be sending them a bill for drying cleaning and alterations).
Exhibit C: The stained carpet
- You get your car back and except for added miles to the odometer and a few crumbs on the seat, it’s just as you left it. Ruling: Accident (No worries. You eat while driving too and it can easily be brushed off the seat.)
- You get your car back and their belongings are all over the backseat, papers on the floor, and empty fast food bags littered throughout the car. After moving the stuff, you see a big coffee stain in the carpet. Ruling: Not well-cared for. (And once again, you will be sending them a bill for the cleaning.)
The moral of this story is that if you ever want to borrow something from someone (me), take care of your own stuff before you even think about asking to borrow theirs (mine).