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February 09, 2012 | By: Kerri Barreca

Lenders beware.

It can be so difficult to say no; whether it be a friend’s invitation when you are pooped from a long hard day, a favour from your work colleague when you just don’t have the time or that second giant helping of grandma’s lasagna when you are absolutely stuffed. Most of us try to please those around us either to avoid confrontation (the idea to just doing it will be faster/easier than giving excuses) or it’s a classic case of doormat syndrome (people know that you feel guilty easily and use that to their gain). Just be mindful. Yes, it is good to help others when you can as long as it does not hurt YOU in the meantime.

A friend of mine is a classic case! She was approached by a family member for a loan. This relative wanted to fly his daughter in from South America for a visit; however, not having a credit card meant that my friend had to purchase the plane ticket. Now, she is tight on cash herself but never-the-less found herself playing the role of travel agent between both parties looking for the cheapest option and did indeed put the $1400 expense on her credit card in the hopes of soon being reimbursed. As far as I know, she is still waiting on that cheque and is too shy to ask.

Moral of the story: never loan more than you can afford to loose. And this doesn’t only apply to money. Years ago I lent a gorgeous wine-coloured sweater to a friend and it was never to be seen again. I imagine it is now in sweater heaven mingling with cashmeres and the like. We all have things that go poof when left in the wrong hands. The key is to listen to your inner voice when your brother-in-law desperately needs a set of wheels for the weekend, your neighbour would love to wear your trendy black pumps for a wedding she’s going to or a friend of a friend sure could use your deluxe fabric steamer. What happens if these things get lost or broken? What is the etiquette here? It seems to me the polite thing to do is to replace something if you are responsible for its loss but you just may find that others “conveniently” avoid the topic. Bye bye cosy sweater!

So next time you get a request that is out of your comfort zone, stick to your guns, apologize and wish them good luck. Trust me you’ll sleep a lot better than my friend who is waiting for her “cheque in the mail”.


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