Borrowing and lending

This was the question posed by Peckapalooza on his blog a while ago: “Have you ever ‘borrowed’ money (or anything else) from family or friends and not returned it? If so, why? Who has done this to you, and what were the consequences?” (It’s taken me a while to write this post about borrowing and lending.)

In theory, it is a terrible idea because it involves trusting people, and some people should not be trusted.However, in reality, it’s a part of daily life and all relationships—platonic, familial, and romantic.

I am one of those people who can’t be trusted, especially with your food containers.

We are terrible, forgetful people

In South Africa, we love braais (basically, barbeques) and often there are leftovers. I would then ask for a plastic food container with the promise of giving it back. At the time, I really mean it.

But then it takes months for me to return it.

Once we went to friends’ house and the lovely couple fed us so much food that by the time desert came around we were too stuffed. The girl offered us a small plastic container (the fancy kind) with dessert in it to enjoy at home. We promised to give it back the same week.

We did not.

After three or four months, she finally got her container back.

Now we have learnt to bring our own containers to braais or any other event that involves food. Or we outright say that we have no intention of giving containers back, so please put the food in something you never want to see again. Surprisingly, people appreciate the honesty.

I guess you can be terrible, but just be upfront about it.

We’ve also learnt to take along old plastic containers like ice cream tubs to barbeques, in case we have leftovers.

Don’t lend money

I don’t lend money to friends or family. If I’m honest, this hasn’t been a big problem in my life so far.

The last time I lent friends money was when I was about twelve and then I learnt that it was a bad idea. I lent my two best friends a couple of dollars. It wasn’t much, but that was all I had. Then they never paid me back.

If friends or family need money, you either give it to them or you can kiss your friendship/relationship goodbye.

I am not innocent

I have borrowed things, especially books, and never given them back. By the time I notice that I still have it, so much time has passed that it would feel weird to give it back. Because it would involve an awkward conversation, I make it worse by just keeping it and feeling guilty about it.

I’m a bad person sometimes.


This topic made me think about how my dad writes “Los fokken uit” (‘Leave fucking alone’) on his things, like staplers, that we used to borrow and forgot to give back. It’s a very dad-thing to do, but I think it’s also the best approach.

What do you think about borrowing and lending things?



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