• Resolving Problems

Remaining on friendly terms when neighbors ask to borrow your stuff

Published: January 24, 2014 | By | 52 Replies Continue Reading
A single woman feels used when her neighbors ask to borrow her expensive snow blower each winter.

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

My neighbors have been borrowing my snow blower for five years now. It started the year theirs broke. Every season at the first snowfall, my neighbor will call and ask to borrow it and volunteer her husband to use it to clear my driveway as well.

It’s an expensive piece of equipment ($700+) and expensive to maintain. I really want to say no but always find it hard as we are otherwise neighborly. But now I feel I’m been used. I don’t need them to use it to clear my driveway. I purposely bought a model that I could handle on my own.

Well, my fear happened. Her husband was adding old gas to the snow blower and it cost me $103 to fix it. I absolutely don’t want to lend it out anymore but I have a hard time finding the right way to share my feelings in the middle of the season and then again possibly next year if they call to borrow it again.

I’m a single woman (58) – and I know for a fact that their combined income is more than mine. They are also both able bodied (62) to shovel if needed, and have a 24 year old daughter at home still. BTW – I’m slow but have learned that my neighbor has a habit of borrowing – and I’ve found that once I say ‘yes’ to her that’s an open door to borrow the same item from me over and over and over.

Please help! Marge

ANSWER

Hi Marge,

Gosh, this is a tough dilemma. It can be very annoying to have people ask to borrow things that you don’t necessarily want to lend them. Because they are neighbors, it is awkward to turn them down and having loaned them the blower for five years now makes it even harder to change your tack.

I don’t think they are trying to “use” you because they did make an effort to reciprocate for the loan by clearing your driveway. They probably think that it’s such a rarely used item that it doesn’t pay to buy one when they can borrow yours.

Given how you feel, however, I would start by graciously letting them know that although you appreciate their offer to help you, you purposely bought a piece of equipment you could operate yourself.

You could tell them you’ve been having problems with the snow blower (which is true) and since it’s getting older so you don’t want to put additional wear and tear on it. Then you could suggest that they think about getting one of their own next season.

Other than the borrowing problem, it sounds like you have a “neighborly” relationship which you don’t want to undermine. If I were you and lived alone, I would want to remain on friendly terms with my neighbors should you ever need their help one day. It might be worth the cost.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

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Category: Neighbors

Comments (52)

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  1. JJ says:

    OK so here is my problem and to be honest I don’t know what to think or do. And I’m confused trying to remember things.

    This weekend my sister asked to borrow a carseat for her granddaughter and as I have 3 I was more than happy to loan / give her a seat for my great niece.

    As I said before I have 3 one is a cheapy that came with my pram set that I use with my pram if using a car later on. The other is an old dirty maxicosi that my babies dad picked up off ebay for 30 pound. And the other one is a really expensive maxicosi that my dad had bought me as a gift when I had my baby. Off course the only one missing is my dad’s one.

    Saturday I text the lady downstairs in my block and said did I lend you a carseat she promptly replied “no only the super glue last weeek I’ll bring it back up soon”. I scrolled back through my text archive and saw back in July a message “you have any carseat I borrow” it’s now November so all a bit hazy. I sent this text message back to her and she replied “I gave it back” I didn’t reply to this but thought so why lie the first time and say no? I left it at that and said no more.

    Monday morning came quickly and I message her at 7:20am and ask if my kid can walk into school with her and her kids as my bus card was at 0 pounds and 0 pence and a trip to shop will make us late and as we help each other out everyday with school runs this wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. She replied “my kids are in a deep sleep and we will be leaving late at 8:45” at 8:45 I’m stuck in traffic on a bus when I see her walking back down the road on her way home her kids in school on time. Another lie and my kid late. That afternoon I message her and ask am I collecting the kids after their club at 4:30? She didn’t reply and ignored me at the at the school.

    Tuesday morning she ignores me again and so do her 4 children which I do so much for and really care about. Tuesday afternoon whilst leaving the school with a friend my neighbour walking towards us notices us and suddenly starts talking to her 4 yr old and again ignores me even my friend said what the???? This women never talks to her kids like I said before I care about her kids and give them tons of my time. It was so fake and obvious.

    Wednesday morning she ignores me again and by this time I had to say something she wouldn’t let me speak and gave me some flannel about personal problems cause that’s what normal people do when they have problems they blank and treat their friends like crap right? I told her to grow up and not play playground ignoring games with me. I thinks shes awful to even involve her kids with her crap.

    So this morning now Thursday she gets on the bus I’m already sat down and she doesn’t put her pram next to mine fully into the gap and blocks up walkway and turns her back to me and yet again ignores me.

    I had to say something again and waited until all kids in school I try to speak to her again and she’s trying to talk over me with excuses about something is wrong with her and she has 5 kids. Ok so over the weekend you have become ill or something? I said you went away in July and I have proof you borrowed it then I asked about the second time they went away in October half term. I remember her daughter knocking on my door late the night before they left and her daughter was really excited to be going to a hotel with a pool. She had knocked on my door as mum had needed to borrow something but I can’t think what it was and it’s the only thing she would need to borrow for a trip the thing that had jogged my memory was I gave the daughter a bag off swim stuff aswell in case the toddler was to go swimming too swim nappies and bottoms and inflatable boat etc. So when I mentioned this she said yes she came up to borrow swim stuff which I know is a lie because I specifically remember getting excited for them all going somewhere with a pool and gathered up the swim gear off my own back on top off what she had came up to borrow.

    I have told this stupid women that I haven’t accused her off anything and I’m only trying to figure out where my seat is and the reaction to me stinks off guilt. Before she started all this childish behaviour I didn’t really think it was her but this behaviour has changed my mind. What do you all think? And any advice on what to do about it? Thanks JJ

    • todd legal says:

      Ur dilemma reminds me of things I’ve been through and I’m like you BC I have a hectic life. I hate letting anybody borrow anything bc it seems like they play games. So…..

      I’ve been around enough to know peoples actions and that lady is def full of s-hit.
      She is either broke and can’t afford one and likes Ur nice one or something has happen to it and she doesn’t want you to be mad at her. One way or another she is guilty and the worse part she is Insulting you by thinking you are as dumb as she is and for me the continuous lie and arguing when she is wrong would show me she rather have a seat than a friend that cares so much about her kids which is priceless. I found out recently even family will turn on you.
      If I was you I’d try to catch a glimpse of it if she has it in her car or try to go to her place and ask to talk and go inside and look around maybe. Or since she is lying tell her a friend you both share or one of her children told you that their mommy told them not to be nice to you and that she has the seat maybe.

      Or since Ur gut is telling you it’s her BC it is….. Show her you will not be brought down BC of a seat even tho it is special to you. Show her that her and her kids don’t deserve a friend and mentor to her kids who cares so much if she is so horrible as to basically steal a seat from you. I personally would serve her up something cold called revenge when ever the time is right BC you will always be sour until you do…. Love to hear am update when possible.

      One question: what is a pram? Lol

      Your friend in the war against borrowing (thieving) neighbors….. Todd

  2. Skillciax says:

    My neighbors ask for food items all the time. If i have extras i give out, if i don’t i simply say “sorry, but i don’t have any to give out”

    It seems like some of you let yourselves get taken advantage of. Don’t ever lend out non perishable items. Always say “sorry, but i can’t lend that out etc” you don’t owe anyone an explanation for your stuff!

    You paid for it, you earned it, don’t let people use you!

  3. Courin says:

    How do I tell my neighbor AKA best friend to stop always borrowing my stuff. She always borrows my ketchup apple juice lemons seasonings Pam Exedra always asking to use my carpet shampooer asking my significant other to borrow their cigarettes or just to have a cigarette. She never replaces anything she borrows or uses and last time she use my carpet shampooer she did not clean it out after and it had dried up carpet fibers and paint inside all my bristles. I hate confrontation the how do I tell her to stop using all my stuff all the time and go buy your own

  4. RJ says:

    Found this site by googling about how to handle neighbors who are constantly borrowing… seems we “giver types” get taken advantage of…. OFTEN!!

    Might as well chime in with my 2 cents’ worth as well.
    2 different neighbors, one I’d considered to be a good friend (at the time) ~ while they were on vacation I took care of their dog all week long – popping in a good 5 times a day to walk her, feed and water her & making sure she took care of business. I replaced the entire coffee maker when I accidentally broke the carafe in getting tap water…. For their dog.
    Several months later, I asked if she could give my dog a potty break ONE TIME, one evening (not the entire week) ~ so this neighbor/friend came over, set the house alarm off & then admitted she told the dog, “just go PEE ON THE CARPET”!! Lovely, huh?! Oh and BTW, “my FRIEND” didn’t acknowledge my services with a thank you – whereas I would have given a gift card or bought dinner (a card at the very least) as a “thank you” for a full week’s worth of dedication. Goes to show no one will ever live up to “our standards”!!

    Now before I tell you about our next door neighbor, let me say “in my day” (56 y/o) whenever one borrowed even as much as a cup of sugar, you’d repay with a NEW full bag of sugar…. Not to mention a slice of the cake you baked with it! Smiles! Ah for the days of nostalgia & GOOD NEIGHBORS!!

    So the next door neighbor didn’t even bother introducing herself for several months after we moved in & when she finally did, within days I was asked to borrow something…. I really don’t recall what to be honest, as over the years it went like this: CAN I BORROW??…. dog food, toilet paper, batteries, onions, bouillon cubes, bread, olives, paper for my child’s project, cough syrup,….. that’s just the short list, you get the picture & they NEVER paid back ANYTHING!! EVER!!

    Then it got heavier…. Will you babysit my kid (for FREE ~ ALL SUMMER!) while I teach summer school…. And oh since you’re taking her out to eat (AT YOUR EXPENSE) can you take my other DD as well? Will you let me borrow YOUR water hose to fill up MY pool? And I’ll give you $20. (Hmm…. 5 years later, the $20. STILL has NOT come!! Anyone surprised??)

    Will you feed our dogs while we go on vacation? (not only did I: the self-admitted-let-them-take-me-for-a-ride-goofball FEED the dogs….. I also picked poop off their floors when the other lady who watched them popped by only 2ce a day….) TWO WEEKS worth!!! Gotta’ tell you, I was SO bitter the first week for allowing myself to get roped into this!! WE WERE STUCK!! We couldn’t leave town or go anywhere or do anything fun– b/c we were tied down feeding THEIR dogs!! Didn’t as much as get a “verbal thank you” when they returned!! “Responsible” people use kennels!! That’s what they are for!!

    This year, I breathed a sigh of relief – till the very night before they left, this neighbor pops over, ALL SMILES OF COURSE…… (Note to self: RUN when she comes over smiling!!!)…… “will you take our cat in while we go on vacation? I had someone but it fell through”…… yeah, boy, like we want to take a cat in for an entire month ….. Referee between it & our dogs, get black hairs all over our white furniture, get our woodwork mauled….they’d just had BED BUGS, so I suppose she was willing “to share” those, too!! ~ she didn’t even as much as have the courtesy to ask if any of us are ALLERGIC to cats!! (YEP, ASTHMA!!!!) Rather, she expects: when she asks….. you bend!!! Fortunately my DH didn’t fall for it, told her we were doing some traveling ourselves.

    Now these are not take-advantage crack heads—rather, they are both professional people who have the mindset that it takes a village to raise a family (and apparently we are the “village idiots”!)

    At any rate, while they were gone, I was chatting with another neighbor (who couldn’t stand their foot high lawn any more so he was mowing it) and sigh, I feel bad that I said too much…. See, I knew by stating how we really felt, it would “get back to them”.

    It did ~ and now the whole family snubs us, won’t talk to us, even the girls who we used to be so generous with, at one time, taking them to movies & such at our expense. I was like the stand-in grandma to the youngest at 1 time. It’s gone beyond not talking to us, now the teenage girls look at each other and whisper-whisper and then stare dead pan daggers at us…. the very girls we used to love on & be giving & generous with!!

    So I ask, “should I care?”

    In some ways, I hate that the relationship went south – but on the flip side, when I think of it….. WHAT KIND of “RELATIONSHIP” was there anyway??? It was ALL TAKE on their end, and ALL GIVE on our end!! The few ppl I’ve mentioned this to agree that it’s OVER THE TOP the things this neighbor has asked for!! And for that reason alone, I don’t feel bad that it was WAY PAST TIME for this relationship to sever.

    Having been on this journey, now I don’t break my neck to meet any new neighbors. And I applaud the ones who from the get-go can firmly say “NO” when ANY neighbor comes asking “to borrow”!! Like the one poster here said, we feel we must always offer an excuse. Why do we do that? But let me tell you, NIP IT IN THE BUD from the beginning!! Later should a decent relationship bud & blossom & THEN you’re comfortable in loaning something, that’s up to you. But don’t ever loan anything that’s pricey or costs too much to fix or replace, this is just how people are these days.

    I wonder if I speak for most here in saying we like helping others, but we want to do it when it works for us – not when they ASK “can I borrow”….?? The neighbors I’m speaking of should have just outright asked, “can we HAVE??” (not borrow!! ~ cuz like I say, we never saw ANY of it back!!)

    I’m trying to not be bitter, but LEARN from this experience. I don’t want to lie with any future neighbors and “get in trouble with God” over that. And like you guys, I don’t want to be taken advantage of either. I’d love to have good (but would settle for decent) neighbors. Who wouldn’t want that?

    THX, Irene, I didn’t even realize such a blog existed. I’ll be back!

  5. JESS says:

    I live in a basement apartment in NYC and I’m a student. I’m almost living in this apartment from past 7 years due to convenience, affordability and good location. My landlords are living on the first floor. My landlady has a bad habit of asking groceries, equipments, beauty products which she never returns back by her own. Groceries she never returns back and other things I literally have to ask her when I needed them. I really don’t know how to deal with her. Every week she needs one thing or the other. I tried to avoid her sometimes but she is so shameless that she still asks things from me. Her husband doesn’t know about her activities as he once scolded her in the beginning for this so she told me not to tell this to her husband. She thinks since I’m a student and I needed the apartment so she can take advantage of my situation. Lazy ass never wanted to do an effort to buy her own groceries. I had never borrowed anything from her even once since I don’t believe in borrowing. I really don’t know how to deal with this lady. If I’ll complain to her husband then my relationship with the family will get worse. Also I might loose an affordable apartment. Please help.

  6. Lauren M says:

    Hi Pauline,

    They ring your doorbell and ask for your equipment and then when you ask for it back, they say that they will get it for you tomorrow! They should be able to give it back to you on the spot. Say to her, have you loaned it to someone else??? Ask her why you can’t get it NOW. It does sound like they have loaned it on to someone else.

    She should be able to give it back to you right away. It may well be that she had loaned it out to someone else. That’s wrong. I had a friend who used to ask to borrow books, and then when I finally asked for the books back so that I could lend them to another friend, she said she had *given* them to someone else who had in turn given then to a distant cousin! I did not get those books back, so I stopped lending to her. They were all recent best sellers, and had cost quite a bit. Now I just usually get books on my e-reader, so they can’t borrow that. One of the advantages of an e-reader.

    When she wants to *borrow* again, you could just say no, I can’t as I have a friend/relative who may be going to borrow them today or sometime soon. So I can’t Sorry . No can do. Then say, it’s getting old, and I may have to replace it soon as too many people have *borrowed * it. There is nothing she can do then.

  7. pauline says:

    I have a nieghbor also who always asks to borrow equipment. I am 58 and have had to buy my own things by scrimping and saving. I am uncomfortable lending eqiupment to anyone for fear it won’t work the same as before I lent it to them. Always had this problem with my own family , they would borrow and bring me back the equipment either broken or damaged or just worn out. I have a feeling my nieghbor who will do anything for anyone borrowed my weedwacker and lent it to a relative to do yard work for someone to make a few extra bucks. I know she does things like this but I don’t want to accuse her in case I’m wrong. They know what I have in my garage and recently I’ve been avoiding them. Yet they feel it’s okay to ring my door bell and ask to borrow whatever it is they need. I told her I needed it back to do my courtyard and she said okay I’ll get it for you tomorrow. That’s why I think it’s at someone elses house. Really pisses me off. Now I have to make up lies so I don’t have to lend it to her. Very uncomfortable.

    • Denise says:

      Hi Pauline,

      I completely understand your frustration. I am 52 and single and have the same problem with borrowing neighbors! Anything from wheel barrow, broadcast spreader, chocolate fountain maker, snow thrower, slow cooker, pressure washer and lawn mower.

      I buy all my own belongings, which are high quality and usually high dollar. I really have expectations of my neighbors buying their own things. It’s not that I am selfish, but I don’t want things returned broken or me having to follow up for their return.

  8. Neighbors says:

    I’m not sure I understand why this is a bad thing to share with your neighbors. If you use the snow blower a few times a year and they offer to clean off your driveway too what’s so annoying about that? You can say just fill it up with gas before doing my driveway and if you break it you’re responsible for the repairs. That’s it, set boundaries but I just think it’s ridiculous to not share things especially if it benefits you and your neighbor. Of course it should be with only a neighbor you trust not the whole neighborhood. If your neighbor brought you something nice like tomatoes why put it back on their porch? Especially if your garden only has onions and carrots for example. Let’s be green in our resources, be open be neighborly communicate set boundaries. It’s better than being stuck having no one to ask for help when you need it….

    • pauline says:

      When you spend your money on things and research what you buy to get the best thing for you to use, why should someone just come a long and borrow your things putting wear and tear on what you worked so hard to save up for. People who borrow a lot don’t place any value on what you lend them. Therefore they don’t take as good care of those things as you do. That’s when people become pests and are annoying. I take care of my things so they last a long time and if you lend your things out they will surely start to break down and you’ll be the one replaceing and fixing things.

      • Mike says:

        I agree Pauline. I have a brother-in-law that makes much more money than I. I save my money to buy the things I need to use whether it be a tool, video camera or camping gear. And every other month I get a call from him asking to borrow something, that he has more than enough money to purchase on his own. He says he’s “saving money” so he doesn’t want to buy his own. Wow, can you believe that? He wants to “save money”!! I had loaned him a piece of camping gear in the past. It came back broken. I didn’t want to “rock the boat” with family, so I kept my anger and disappointment to myself and my wife. But since that incident I have not lent him anything. I just tell him, I need my property to last as long as possible as I am “trying to save money” and can’t afford to replace it any sooner than I have to. And his using and abusing my property wears it out faster. End of story! Stay strong!

  9. Pam says:

    Our across-the-street neighbor is a borrower. Sometimes I lend or give things to them and sometimes I don’t, depending on what they ask for. I did, however, draw the line when they asked to borrow my carpet cleaner after their daughter had thrown up on their carpet. I think I said, “Oh, gross! No!” I let them know that our local grocery store rented carpet machines. Anytime they’ve asked to borrow anything of value, I tell them I’m not comfortable loaning it out. They never seem too fazed by my “no” and are still friendly with us.

    • Pam says:

      I like that you’re able to do that and not feel guilty that you did. I wish I was like you.

      • Pam says:

        I wasn’t good about saying “no” until the carpet machine/vomit incident!! I think my “no” was a pure visceral reaction and popped out before I had time to think! I feel badly for their kids, as I think they’re struggling financially. My children are just a bit older than theirs and I would give them my daughters’ hand me downs, which they appreciated enormously. I’d also pick up food items in bulk that were on sale for them–acting like the deal was so good that I couldn’t pass it up to not make them feel bad. Fortunately, both of their daughters earned full scholarships to college, so they’re on the right track now. I really like them, but vomit was where I had to draw the line. 🙂

    • Linda says:

      We live in rural area and have a young handyman neighbor whom we pay to do some construction things for us. He and his wife have a blended family of 5 children, so they need $ help, I know. After he used our expensive brush mower on our property for our job, he asked to borrow it to cut his own yard. I thought about it a few days, then I called him and said, “I cannot loan you my mower for the following reason. No repair we have had to make has been less than $300.00. If you brought it back not working, could you afford the repair bill?” He answered, “No, I couldn’t” “Okay,” I continued, “if you didn’t get it repaired for me, could I ever hire you again to work for me?” “No, I guess I’d be out of a good job. I’d better not borrow it.” Sometimes, people just don’t think. If a good friend needs to use something that I have, like a sofa that I’m not needing right now, I’m glad for her to use it; I want to be gracious in supplying her need. But I’m not really glad to have to bring it to her OR go get it back when she’s through with it. It’s not a rental, after all! I find that Shakespeare was absolutely right in Hamlet when he said, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” The lender usually gets stuck with the responsibility for transport of the thing both to and from the borrower. So I’ve discovered that rather than loaning something, if I can, I just give it to them . . . IF they come get it. People need some “skin in the game” for appreciation’s sake! But appliances like your Kitchen Aid mixer . . . good answer is “Oh, no. It might break and that would break our friendship if you didn’t get it fixed.”

  10. KB says:

    The appropriate response is “Hey. Screw off”

  11. kathy says:

    My neighbors moved in about 9 years ago. They are in 70’s .I am 56. They invited few of us over for get to know neighbors party. I kindly declined .Explained busy, like privacy and so does my son. Apparently others didn’t show either. My dad mowed my yard . When he died. I got to now mine and his/ my moms . I came home from work and the neighbor would start mowing my yard .I asked numerous times for him to stop, please! I enjoy doing my own chores. He continued to not listen . One day my son stopped him while he was mowing and told him to stop. He would mow yard when he wanted .There is more but to go on. This man and his wife knock all hours to borrow onions, carrots, plunger. Gets old , when you don’t ask to borrow from them . They put tomatoes on my porch. I put them back on theirs. (We both have gardens! Mine only one to have onions/ carrots)! Christmas they put cookies on porch. I put them back on their porch. ( We can hear everything they do . They don’t have carpeting so all loud. But wife baking and coughing for weeks.Caught me in driveway while I was shoveling . She has bronchitis. Cookies no way)! It took their friends \ family parking in my driveway. Walking on my side of driveway past my car . Hovering over me like perverts while sunning in back yard .For me to finally loose it. I now say hi only when can’t get in house fast enough. They no longer knock to ask dumb stuff. ( Forgot ,he waited till 9 am to knock on my door to see if could put his large cooking grill in my yard ? I just must have been cranked cause I said ” no”! That has been my garden for 20 years.He went away mumbling and saying no problem just would be easier I could just come out side door and grill would be there. I again ” no”! ( These people have a larger co op and yard. They put their grill in front of other neighbors windows and she can’t open when nice out! ) I feel if emergency I will help them but best thing to do is just say no to borrowing anything!! Don’t start seriously .You won’t know if old gas hurt snow blower, or something else! Offer to sell them old and buy new one. JUST SAY NO! Boundaries , everyone needs them!

    • georgia says:

      I hate giving people a direct no also sooo..can’t your snowblower be broken at times.? HA Might be worth your while to just shovel your drive. HA until they give up and or get their own blower. About neighbors bringing unasked for food(who knows how it was prepared, how old etc etc) doesn’t anyone have food allergies, or the gluten issue. I would very quickly discharge such behavior with a sorry can’t eat that stuff unless you have it certified gluten free and organic etc etc.haha they may run from you at that point. haha

      • georgia says:

        Oh also one effective response is to suggest what you’d do in the same situation. I once paid a neighbor to put my child on and off the school bus. This is what she held herself out as doing to generate a little money while staying home with her children. I was never late with the money or asked her to do more than just the bus routine. So on a Friday she says to me,”tomorrow my hubby has this event I’d like to attend with him, however our usual sitter is busy”. Then she says “if only someone with children the age of mine(me exactly) could watch my children so that I could go.” said as she looks expectantly at me with tilted head. One of my best replies was why don’t you do what we do,,one stays with the kids, one goes to event. I worked all week and depend on saturdays to catch up. She never bothered me again with the old roundabout way of asking for whatever since she knew I’d respond with why don’t you do what we do blah blah blah, In other words, we handle in house and would never ask you to give up time, tools whatever.One response to the snowblower situation is that if there are rentals in your area,,say”when I’m too cheap to actually buy a insert whatever the tool is,,then I rent one at…..while I save up for my own whatever tool..that’s how I got this one”. Said very sweetly with huge smile. Other than that..my tools are in need of repair HA>

  12. Dan says:

    To be blunt, I don’t understand what is unbalanced. Perhaps you just don’t want to lend something out…and that is 100% fine. But unbalanced, no, they clear your driveway which probably outweighs what you have in the snowblower with repairs and gas. If you REALLY want to clear your own driveway, then DO IT before they come over…they are probably thinking you are waiting for THEM to clear it. I bet if you do go ahead and clear your driveway they will want to do something else for you if they borrow your snowblower…. This neighbor does NOT sound like USERS to me. Trust me, I have know plenty of user-types and this neighbor aren’t users.

    By the way, I don’t like lending things out except to very responsible people. One friend is very picky and I would lend him anything and he would to me too (not that we have much need for lending stuff though).

    Best wishes…

    • Denise says:

      It is like allowing someone to temporarily live with you. You hope that they get it together, and find a permanent place to live. You expect the situation to be a one time thing, but the person never moves out or they are constantly in the same situation. Most people would feel ashamed or embarrassed to continuously borrow items from another person. They are taking advantage because they expect to borrow the blower every year, and they are not considering how the owner of the blower may feel. They never asked permission to borrow the blower every year. They do not care if it bothers the neighbor or not. What they have done is forced a favor upon her so that she will say yes versus being forth coming and openly discussing the terms and conditions. They have set the rules for using the blower. It is undermining. Why would anyone expect to use someone else’s property for the next five years, everyday, or every week lol? That is crazy.

    • marta says:

      Be independent. Neighbors are not made to share continously. If it snows a lot in your area buy your own equipment. If you are building a house, but a ladder, hammer, nail sack, level, and saws. If you do not you are one of the takers in the world.

  13. Flychick86 says:

    Wow! My Grandma’s next-door neighbors have a SIMILAR problem!

  14. Super says:

    If you don’t know them, then don’t talk to them. Mind your own business and don’t get involved with neighbors or strangers, cause you don’t know them like you know yourself. Some people will always try to hustle you, because that’s how they are. They are not suppose to ask you in the first place, unless they give you money and have a damn good reason. They know the rules, but they just want to test if you would say yes or no. You are in the right, by refusing. You’ll be hated, but you will also be respected, cause they know you’re not as stupid as you look. If they decide to cause trouble later on, they will, because it was their intention to bully you. Sometimes you have to fight for what is yours, and think of how you are going to deal with each situation carefully.

  15. Candice says:

    Oh my goodness. My friendly neighbor gives us home cooked meals once in a while. Mostly her leftovers, I suppose. I seldom give her home cooked food, but I do give her some grocery stuff when I can like cookies, juice, bread etc. Still, I felt obligated to lend her stuff or do her favors, because she is a nice neighbor. She started borrowing stuff from eggs and sugar to broth to hand mixers and serving plates for her parties. She returned my big pot with scratched coatings on the inside part. I can’t use it anymore. She apologized and I was wrong to say that it was okay, I probably needed to buy a new pot since mine’s cheap because she did not offer to replace it. She had some other small items which took months before she returned. My fault is that I waited, but didn’t actively ask for my things back. Since then, I stopped lending her stuff by telling her I don’t have one or it’s broken or I’ll look for it and conveniently forgetting to get back at her. What’s good is that I caught this early on that I have given her hints that my husband doesn’t like lending and moving what we deem expensive appliances from our home. For example, I told her that I wanted to bring our Kitchen Aid mixer to my friend’s house so that I could teach her how to bake, but my husband didn’t want me to do so to avoid appliance damage and having to buy a new one. This was beneficial to me since she once told me when I loaned her my hand mixer that “this might not work because I have a lot to mix, but it’ll do”, which I took as a hint for me to bring my Kitchen Aid mixer over. (hell no!). Since then, she has borrowed lesser items from us.

    There also came a point in time when I got stressed by her constant requests and favors – needs help carrying her bottled water from her car to her pantry, need to borrow our Dyson portable vac for our cars, asking me to get her some stuff from the grocery when I get the chance to go (and not paying for the TAX!), asking for too much time and competing with time for my family as in, asking me to go out for dinners despite me letting her know that my family does not eat sushi. She would call before dinner and ask me to go. Uuuhm, so you want me to be your dinner companion and I should forget about making my family’s meal, right?

    The more I try to move away, the more she tries to be nicer by giving us lots of food. I didn’t want to receive anything from her anymore because I didn’t want her to feel that she did us a favor by giving us food, thus giving her a sense of it’s-okay-to-borrow-or-ask-a-favor-fr-them,-i-give-them-lots-of-food-anyway.

    Because of this, I have learned a very important lesson in dealing with neighbors – to be friendly, but not too close for comfort. You can start by trying to appear too busy to talk – or to be bothered.

    Despite me not asking for anything from her or borrowing a single item from her from the day we became neighbors.

    • Lauren says:

      Hi Candice,

      This certainly is an awkward situation. It looks as though she tries to across as “nice”, by giving you unsolicited meals and food; and then using that as her “in” to borrow your kitchen equipment , and other equipment and generally take advantage of your good nature.

      That was pretty bad when she borrowed your non-stick pot and returned it with scratches, and didn’t even bother to ask to replace it. She sounds a bit like the neighbor from hell.

      I think that you are no that right track by being cooler and more distant to her. One of my aunts told me that when you want to get someone out of your hair, then don’t be so nice to them… This is not saying that you should be mean to them, but just don’t be quite so obliging or quite so friendly. Be colder and cooler.

      When she brings you food, ask what it is , and then say that you don’t like that kind of food. Or you could say that you have a number of allergies (most people do), and don’t go into ANY specifics. So you can say that you are cooking all of your own food now, but “Thanks anyway….Perhaps you could freeze that dish and then you can enjoy it yourself later.” Be rather cool when you say this and keep it brief. Lather, rinse , repeat…..

      After you do this a few times, she will cool off on bringing unwanted food to your door.

      As to the requests for your things, I think you are on the right track by being ready to tell her that your husband doesn’t want you to lend your expensive equipment out. You could also say, oh, it’s not working (true..it’s sitting idle on the counter top or sitting idle/not working in the cupboard).

      Or you could just say, “Sorry you can’t as I will be using it quite a lot myself over the coming period.” Keep it vague, while still giving out the “No” message. She might then say that she’ll take it “now” as she only needs it for a short time. Be ready for that and say “Sorry, it’s not possible. Well, I have to go now…Bye.”

      When she wants you to carry her water bottles into her house, etc, just say something like this, “Sorry, I can’t as my shoulders are sore/my back is sore/ not feeling up to it/ etc” Which is true for most of us, as we all have times when we are “not feeling up to carrying heavy water bottles”.

      Again, be cool and rather cold about this. She will manage, don’t worry about her. She can carry one bottle at a time, or she can have them delivered.

      It’s too bad that you have to go through this, but you have to let her know that you are cooling off as the obliging neighbor. She really sounds like she is taking advantage of your very good nature.

      Well, Candice, you are right about starting out in future by not being too friendly with neighbors, as they can sometimes be real annoying, advantage-taking people when are right next door.

      I had a neighbor like that at my last house, and I had to cool things off with her, as she really took advantage of my good nature. I was glad when we moved, and now I am very cool, but distantly friendly with my neighbors, and that is perfect. She is a lot older than me , and I felt that she just kind of knew that I was warm-hearted and friendly, and she dove right in and took total advantage of that.

      Also, she would frequently bring me food which I didn’t like or want. At one point, she was virtually never out of my house. Glad that’s over now. What a nightmare. I learned a really good lesson there.

      I realize that there are wonderful neighbors, but I also believe that good fences make good neighbors. Be strong, and I wish you all the best for you in this situation.
      Best,
      Lauren

    • BJ says:

      Your neighbor should save the money by not cooking “extra food” and just buy her own mixers and stuff. My boyfriend’s neighbor does this and every time I see her on caller ID I warn him to tell her he has already eaten and no thanks. She thinks bringing over a small plate of food means he should spend the weekend remodeling her bathroom!

      She used to be married and her husband was good friends with my boyfriend. They would always do things for each other and it was nice. Even back then they would sometimes call to see if he wanted some leftovers and it was just a friendly thing.

      Well then they divorced and he is no longer around so now she doesn’t have a man around to do the handy stuff. She knows my boyfriend does all these things but she doesn’t offer anything but a plate of food for hours and hours worth of labor. Oh…I forgot…the weekend he was working on her bathroom – she did give him $30. That’s what he would charge a customer for one hour!

      Then her adult daughter and her boyfriend asked him to put together a playhouse/ swingset for their little kid. It took a total of 25 hours. He worked on it every evening after work. I even helped with handing him all the different parts. The daughter and boyfriend offered NOTHING but a thank you after he did this for them.

      • Candice says:

        Oh that sucks. I’m sorry that your bf is being used as a replacement for her husband of some sort. Well, at least in terms of doing manly stuff in her house. Incidentally, my neighbor is also without a “physical” husband. She has a boyfriend, and they live in different houses, far from each other. My husband is a very private person and is pretty good at keeping a distance from people, including friends and family, so he doesn’t have this problem, but I do. I know she’s lonely because she’s had several man sleepover her house. Not that I’m interested to know that, but she did tell me that she has “needs” that her boyfriend can’t give. I keep her company when I can because I thought she needed a friend. But she’s too much to handle now, wants to hang out too much that it’s eating up my family and personal time. It would be easy to ignore her, but she can be manipulative at times to get her the time that she needs from other people. For instance, there were times when I had been busy for a week and have been declining her invites. One day she called to tell me that she saw that I had a package on my driveway, and that she took it so that nobody will take it. We did have an episode of package theft in our neighborhood. It was something that I had paid for expedited (one day) shipping because I needed the product ASAP. I thanked her, but informed her that I would come home very late. She said she’d wait for me, and I we can have dinner together. I told her that I’m very busy and repeated that I will come home very late, but I need my package. She said, you can pick it up tomorrow and you can have dinner here tomorrow, if you can’t come in today. I told her to please put my package back in my driveway if she can’t wait for me because there’s no way I can wait till tomorrow to use the product I had purchased. SHe did wait till about 11pm, and as expected, wanted me to stay for a short while. Uh, NO?!
        She did this several times. It was only after repeated hanging out declines did she stop manipulating me using this method. It took me a while to realize, too, that this was a form of manipulation. Another thing that she does is despite me saying we have already eaten, we are trying to lose weight , etc.. she would still drop by to give us food. The thing is, these are mostly her leftovers. I’m sorry, but I don’t eat other household’s leftovers. One time she gave me a box of Trader Joe’s salad, 3/4 empty and with the dressing already mixed-in. She said that she knew she wouldn’t finish it, so she divided it to give half to us. To me, it was a salad she didn’t like and clearly, she was making us a garbage disposal. At that time, I haven’t yet learned how to handle situations like this, so I took the salad and tossed it in the trash when she left. The thing that irritates me is despite me saying NO NO NO, despite me not opening my front door because I know it was her, wanting to handover her leftovers despite me saying NO NO NO, she would leave her food on my doorstep. Again, these are leftovers. I’m sorry to sound harsh, but I refuse to be a garbage disposal. She would also repeatedly give my kids junk food, despite me pleading her to stop this. 3 weeks ago, she tried handing my kid a bag of chips. Again, I have told her numerous times that I am having a hard time making my kids eat healthy food, and that seldom give them junk food. I grabbed the bag of chips for her, earlier than my son could recognize what it was, and told her that it would spoil my kid’s dinner. She responded: it’s not a whole lot, git won’t hurt him! At that moment, I just really wanted to yell at her, but repeated that I’m trying to feed my family better, and that junk food are not going to help them. I did not thank her for the first time to make her feel that I freaking DON’T WANT YOU TO GIVE US ANYTHING! WE DON’T NEED ANYTHING FROM YOU! Still working on how to maintain a distance from her, so if any of you have any advise, thank you in advance. Sorry for hijacking the thread, I didn’t mean to. My blood is boiling right now thinking about this neighbor.

        • Lauren says:

          Hi Candice,

          Next time she leaves food on your doorstep, could you put it back on her doorstep with a note saying something like…we have already eaten and/or we don’t like this kind of food, so I am returning it to you. Please don’t leave any more food on our doorstep.

          When it comes to your child, tell her angrily NOT to give junk food to your child, under ANY circumstances. And let her know in no uncertain terms that you don’t want your child’s appetite ruined before meal time or at any other time. Say to her, ” I am VERY serious about this.”

          Than the next time she shows up with food and you open the door to her, just say something like this “No thanks, we don’t need it and my fridge is full already. Have have it yourself. Have to go now. Bye.”

          Then force yourself to be cold and very cool with her, and keep saying , each time….I have to go now…Bye. Be brief and rather cold. Hopefully she will get the message, and get a hobby or find someone else to bother and annoy.

          When she wants you to have dinner with her, decline every time saying that you need the time with your family. Also say that you need some quiet time, and you want to catch up with your reading and calling friends, etc.”

          If all else fails, then perhaps you just have to get angry with her, and let her know how you really feel. Then she will really get the message.

          Hope these suggestions help.

          • Candice says:

            Thank you for your input, Lauren. I took note of that. I figured that the best way to deal with these kind of neighbors is like what you said- ignore. I have to work on giving out a stern NO, but my desire to be polite is keeping me from doing so. This isn’t going to stop, because obviously, polite No’s aren’t working for me. In fact, when I decline, she has the guts to say “oh come on, you can always do your laundry later, come on over, I need to update you with my life.” – so an iron clad NO is now going to be enforced. LOL. Thanks again.

            • BJ says:

              Candice,

              Do not feel one bit guilty about saying “no.” This neighbor clearly is disrespecting you. You have a family and for her to tell you to just do your laundry later or trying to con you into having dinner the next evening shows how selfish she is.

              I grew up with a mother who was very meek and we were always taught to be polite, etc. It took me a very long time to stand up for myself and not be taken advantage of by people who were obviously just using me.

              I agree with Lauren….put the food back on her doorstep and I would leave a note that says this: “Please do not leave or bring me over any food. I end up having to throw it away and it is a waste of my garbage bags. You should save the extra $$ money by not cooking so much food for yourself and use it to buy kitchen equipment that you need” – Do not be nice about it by saying anything like “I appreciate the fact that you bring me food, but….”

              I used to be a magnet for vultures like your neighbor. These types of people can sense weakness in people and that is why she clearly does not care if she inconveniences you.

              So don’t feel bad at all…she prob. will try to pull some kind of guilt trip saying that you really hurt her feelings and all she was trying to do was be a good neighbor. Don’t buy into it. just another form of manipulation

              Good Luck!

              • Candice says:

                Thank you, BJ. It’s June 2014 now and I am so happy to announce that I may have finally deterred this nuisance neighbor from bugging me. Over the past months, I kept on saying NO NO NO NO to whatever she needs or wants or wants to give us. Just the other day she called to tell me she has fettucini pasta packages from trader joe’s and asked to me get “my package” from her via text message. I told her sorry, but I just bought some microwavable pasta from the grocery as well and won’t have space for it. Her response: “but this is better tasting, come get your package from me now, you should try this!” I guess I’m learning because I don’t get as stressed out as before when she does this.I responded with- sorry, like I said, I just bought some and won’t have any space for your package, thanks. She tried to asked the same thing again, but I figured that the texting should stop. She then sent me a sad face via text – which I ignored. This will get better each day. I know she feels lonely, but at this point, I’d have to stop caring because I don’t want to have a miserable time trying to get her off my hair. =)

            • Lauren says:

              You are very welcome, Candice.
              Best,
              Lauren

  16. BJ says:

    Marge,
    I feel for you. I think the best thing to do would be to tell them you had to pay $103 to have it repaired and you’re trying to use it as little as possible. Explain to them that even though they offer to clear your driveway in exchange….that you like to go out and get the exercise…I don’t know. Did the issue of them using old gas ever come up? Because they may do it again and cause more repairs.
    I had a friend who would always call to ask me to give her a ride and offer gas money. I kept telling her that my car was not in good shape and I was holding off on needed repairs because I didn’t have the $$ (this was all true).
    However, even if it was in great shape, why would I take someone to run errands in exchange for gas money. After all, that is putting wear and tear on my car and why do I want to risk getting into a possible accident if I am not even going anywhere myself. I live in a rural area so to take her to the store was not just a couple of minutes away. I would always offer to pick her up if I was going myself.
    So I understand…even though they may be offering something in exchange it does not obligate you to allow them to put wear and tear on it when you can clear your own driveway. Then when someone borrows something you always wonder if you or the borrower caused a repair.

  17. Trisha says:

    We have had a similar situation. Our neighbor has borrowed our snow blower for several years and has, on occasion, returned it broken. Today, we got slammed with a snow storm, and the neighbor came over and borrowed the snow blower again. Then, I saw him using our snow blower (and gas) across the street at another neighbors house, after he finished his driveway. That is clearly taking advantage of the situation. I was so angry that I went across the street and told him I wanted our snow blower back. He was shocked when I asked him the question!

    Next time that he asks to borrow our snow blower, I’m going to tell him “no.” My mother always said if someone has the nerve to ask you for something, have the nerve to tell them no.

  18. lottie says:

    What a brilliant idea to suggest buying a new one between you and share all costs.Say it with such a happy face and watch theirs drop because that will not be what they want.Try it and see their reaction.Also ask to borrow something of theirs even if you dont want anything. Or ask for a lift to the supermarket anything that you can think of.Put them on the spot,they will get the message.Maybe ask for some help rewiring the house.Anything just see their faces change.Make sure you smile smile smile.

    Of course you could perhaps wait until they are both out and use the blower you already have to do your own work making sure the fuel is empty afterwards.

  19. Marisa says:

    Be strong. They should have paid for the repair or split the cost. Would you let someone drive your car when you were not using it and shorten its lifespan?

    Nicely tell them NOW that you can no longer lend it out as it is getting older and has become costly to maintain. Do not apologize. Do not be swayed by their response. Smile and be polite and make it short and sweet.

    They will survive and manage. They have not made getting a snow blower a priority though it was their responsibility to do so.

    No one can take advantage of you without your help. They will adjust.

  20. Marlene says:

    I agree with Sandra, the next time they ask, I would say sure and bring up the idea of sharing the maintenance costs. I personally enjoy using the snowblower but really dislike buying gas/oil and taking it in for maintenance. Maybe they could do that part for you. Bringing up maintenance costs casually/kindly will probably provide enough of a hint that they will purchase their own blower.

  21. Patricia Di Placido says:

    Just my opinion (my husband would disagree).

    It all depends on your relationship and how open and honest you can be with them.

    Since you have been allowing them to use the equipment for 5 years, it would be kind of awkward going to them now and telling them that they cannot use it. AS others had stipulated, they probably don’t even know that they are inconveniencing you to the point of it bothering you so much.

    What I would do is go to them and let them know that you have had to do some maintenance and repairs on the snow blower and since it has been used by them to do both of your driveways, would it be possible for them to cover the bill or even split the cost. If they push back, tell them that you had did the initial investment on the equipment, which had been used by them as well for the last five years, doubling up the usage of the machine and if they do not help out with the maintenance of the machine, then you will have to refrain from letting them to continue to use it.

    However, please do not get mad at them if they do not help out with the finances and decide to go out and buy their own. After all, we do things in life out of the generosity of our hearts and you should not expect anything back. You once where okay with it and yes I can understand the frustrations of the situation and I do hope that they do the right thing and pay for all repairs. But don’t count on it. If they haven’t opted to do it from the get go, then I don’t think that they will.

    It is nice to have neighbors that look out for each other, and I hope that these people will one day pay back to you with help if in need for the future. WE can only be hopeful.

    Not sure if this help, but wanted to weigh in.

  22. Alberta says:

    Your last sentence says how the relationship really is – and your gut feeling is telling you something is imbalanced in this ‘neighbourly’ relationship.

    People want to feel like their neighbour will be there to reciprocate in hard times – the reality is that the ‘user’ types – and these seem to be user types – will give only excuses in hard times or not answer their door to you when you are in need, even if they’ve come at your door hundreds of times.

    You don’t owe these strangers anything just because they happen to live in close proximity to you. At least when you use your own snowblower, if something goes wrong you know it is because of your use of it. When your neighbor uses it, then it breaks down You are the one paying the repair costs – so this is why you have a crappy deal with your ‘friendly’ neighbors.

    Don’t be afraid to say No to lending out your stuff – they might call you rude to try and manipulate you into being ‘polite’ (saying yes when you just really want to say no) it sounds like you’ve had enough and it comes across that it is not a reciprocal relationship. It is a pain in the ass to have neighbours at you for things when you are the type that likes to keep to yourself without people at you for stuff.

    Good reads for you because they help you to say no when you want to say No.

    “Whos pulling your strings” by Harriet B Braiker –

    “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin DeBecker – while this one isn’t directly related to your situation it does teach you how to not be afraid to say No to people who don’t have your best interests at heart, and how to tell the difference.

    • caraK says:

      I agree eith you. Users are not going to help in times of need, though we wishfully allow ourselves to hold onto the belief they will….. This is a sticky situation, nevertheless. More reasons to speak up in the beginning of any relationship. letting things go just create a quagmire. I’ve appreciated reading all the posts here.

  23. Lauren says:

    Hi Marge,

    In my area, it costs us about $550 each year to have our driveway and sidewalk cleared. We have to pay each year in advance. (It also costs about the same to have the lawns done.)

    I think that even with your buying the snow blower, and then having them do the driveway and the sidewalk, it is actually quite a good arrangement. I personally would like it. Think about the big picture. One day they may do something to really help you in another way. If you stopped this arrangement now, they might become “bad neighbors”, and you don’t want that. Also, it is a good idea to keep up good relations with your immediate neighbors.

    Best wishes,
    Lauren

  24. Sheryl says:

    Very awkward, indeed. It’s so important to have cordial relationships with neighbors, I think, especially when you live alone. That said, it’s easy to see how you would feel taken advantage of. But the tradeoff of having the neighbor clear the driveway for you is a big plus!

  25. Laura says:

    5 years is a long time to do something you don’t want to do. You can’t blame them for keeping coming back. They obviusly have no idea they’re imposing. In my opinion you need to learn to say no. At the same time after having a “service” the last 5 years, are you sure you want to give it up? If I lived alone and had a neighbor who would clear my drive, I would love it! I really don’t think doing the 2nd driveway adds that much wear and tear. As for the repair, that likely would have come anyways.

  26. Amy says:

    I agree with Irene about keeping on good terms with your neighbors.

    If it were me, I’d be thrilled not to go out in the polar vortex and be more than happy to share my blower to have someone do the chore.

    Why not offer to sell the snow blower to them, since they use it more than you do? Then you could ask them to borrow it. I’m serious.

    My neighbor’s cardiologist said that no male over 25 should shovel (he didn’t say anything about women, but that’s a whole other discussion), so I wouldn’t make assumptions about who should and shouldn’t be shoveling. You can’t always tell by looking if someone is physically able to shovel.

    Since the neighbor tends to borrow a lot and you want this to stop, start saying no. People often think they have go explain when they say no, but you really don’t. “No, I can’t spare any eggs today.” “No, I’m using my scissors.”

  27. Sandra says:

    Irene’s right, this is awkward. Maybe you could have a gentle discussion with them. You could tell them that this piece of equipment is in need of replacement soon, and since they seem to be sharing it with you, maybe they would they like to “go halves” on maintaining it – or splitting the cost of a new one? They might get the point, though you also mention they make a habit of borrowing other things.

    Another option: Be busy or unavailable when they come to the door, and don’t make it easy for them to approach you about borrowing the blower or anything else they are after. They might get the point that way.

    Personally, I have a hard time feeling “neighborly” when I also feel taken advantage of. That eats away at a relationship over time.

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