Borrowing Stuff, Judging People

By David Herz

Posted on Jul 26, 2013 by in Advice, Practices

Minding the Impact

A neighbor came over to borrow our bicycle pump to fill a ball. When not in use, the hose of the pump stores easily over the handle, and there are two clips that the hose pops into to keep it in place. There is often an inflating pin in the head of the pump as it's used for balls more than for tires.

So my neighbor comes and uses the pump, which has the hose tucked over the top, inflates his ball, and kinda puts the pump back where he found it. Some time later, my wife steps on the pin sticking out of the head lying on the floor near the pump. It doesn't hurt her, but it's annoying.

Some people are very particular. I am one of them. As much as I may wish I didn't, I judge people. I think most of us do. In this case, I have another piece of evidence as to the inattentiveness and carelessness of this individual, and while I might lend him the pump again, my generosity will now stop short of where it would have before.

Every action of ours can cause someone to decide something about us. The point is to be mindful of how we want to occur in this world. I care. I want people to know that. If certain of my actions lead others to think that's not the case, I should avoid them.

Return It Better than You Found It

I relate to people differently when they fail to meet certain expectations of mine. A big one is returning my stuff as you borrowed it, or maybe even a little better. An acquaintance of mine borrowed my car to move his kid to school. I have an old car, and I know it, but it's big and holds enough to get a kid and his stuff to school. When he returned the car, he remarked about how noisy it was. The gas was pretty much exactly where I left it; so it was nice that he refilled that it.

But I am never lending him my car again. If it had come back with the tank full, or maybe clean, or maybe I had heard "thank you" instead of "you know that car is really noisy," I might consider lending it to him again, but his behavior has left him wanting in my eyes.

Cleaning It Up

It would be great if we could walk into every situation with poise and grace and have the time to make sure things go back where they came from and people are taken care of. We can't. We don't. We are in a hurry. It's a friend; he'll understand.

The first thing to get is that it's okay. It happens. However, this is not what we are committed to being. It behooves us to make it right. If we know we left our friend's room a mess looking for the shirt he said we could borrow, we could try something like, "I am so sorry. I just had to get out of there. I'll straighten it out as soon as I get back." Of course, follow up is required, and if you promised your friend a beer to make it up to him, buy him one.

Becoming Present to What's So

Sometimes we fall off someone's A list and don't know why. We can of course ask if the person will share with us, and clean it up if we can. Whether we are told or not, it is worth our while to think about how we occur to the other person. Did we not keep our word? Did we not do something that was expected, whether we promised it or not? Might they think we stole their business opportunity or great idea?

To the extent we can discover any of these things, we can take responsibility, and change course appropriately, to make sure that in our next encounter, we leave the impression we intend.

This entry was posted by David Herz and filed under Advice, Practices.

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