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Respectfully Yours: Loaned item

Dear Jacquelyn,

My neighbor borrowed my tree trimmer a while back and he hasn’t returned it. I would like to do some yard work and really need my trimmer. How do you politely ask someone to return something that you let them borrow?

Dear Reader, This happens to most of us. We kindly lend an item to someone, trusting he or she will return it as soon as they are finished.

Time goes by and we forget until we need the item. Now we find ourselves in an uncomfortable situation, embarrassed to ask for the item back.

Give the person the benefit of the doubt. There is a chance your neighbor simply forgot about the tree trimmer.

A gentle reminder may be all it takes. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to come right out and ask for the item back.

Be up front and ask if the neighbor is finished using the trimmer and that you would like it back as soon as he is able to get it to you.

If you aren’t sure of the words to use, try saying in a friendly tone, “Hey, remember that trimmer I loaned you a few months ago? I hope you’re done with it because I need it back this weekend.”

Hopefully, this will motivate the neighbor to be respectful and return the item to you.

Worst case scenario: If the neighbor lost or broke the item, then hopefully he will do the right thing and offer to fix or replace it.

Because this is a neighbor, it isn’t worth a big falling out if the person was careless with your property. Just write it off as a loss and resolve not to lend things to the person again.

In the future, when you lend something to someone, set a time limit from the start. You can say, “Yes, you can borrow the trimmer, but I’ll be needing it back for some yard work next weekend.”

Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn

Have a question? Email: jacquelyn@ptd.net. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol She is on the board of the National Civility Foundation.

All Rights Reserved &Copy; 2019 Jacquelyn Youst