How often do you hear someone ask: "Can I borrow& " or "Will you lend me &"? Exchanging stuff has always been part of student life. From books to clothes and even your car, your friends may ask for occasional "small favours". Or it might be you doing the asking. After all, there really is no limit to friendship, but is there one when it comes to lending and borrowing? And what is the best way to avoid unnecessary hassles with your friends?

Exchanging personal stuff may start out with small, insignificant things and surely the intentions are honourable. However, when it becomes a constant habit and the stuff being asked for is no longer insignificant, then it can be damaging to your friendship. At first you might grudgingly give your friends everything they ask for, but soon you will start avoiding them. Limits to borrowing and lending must be set because otherwise the consequences are unpleasant.

Ann Al Qaisi, 19, an Iraqi architecture student at the American University of Sharjah (AUS), doesn't mind lending her things. "But there's a certain limit. I've been through an unpleasant situation and that's why I'm not willing to do it again. Once I gave my gown to a friend to wear for a special occasion. She wore it and later misplaced it at her friend's house. That gown never returned to my closet. I was upset because it was a gift and I blamed myself for not taking care of it."

Ann said there are certain things she would never lend. "Of course I don't do it when it comes to precious things like gold and diamonds as well as the private stuff like my make-up. However, I don't discourage it, I just think it should be within a certain limit."

Muneeb Agha, marketing and management student at AUS, said he exchanges several items with his friends.

"My friends and I are used to exchanging our stuff, even our cars; it's not an issue for us. Luckily, nothing unpleasant has happened so far and even if something bad happened, it would be fine with me as well as with them. What really matters is maintaining a genuine friendship; after all, to me cars or any other things are just material things. On the other hand, when my pal visits me and sleeps over, I even give him my clothes to wear and that's totally okay with me," he said.

Jawhara Safi, 23, a multimedia design student at AUS, said: "I wouldn't mind giving my stuff to my friends but they have to return it in good condition. I would give clothes or handbags to someone I trust and I'm positive that she would return them in good condition. However my car wouldn't be included, because it's a huge responsibility and I really can't risk it because I know I will take the blame from the law as well as from my parents if something happened."

Hanadi Al Shehi, 23, is also studying multimedia design at AUS and has no hang-ups sharing her things with her sisters and close friends. "Even my car, I would give it if they asked for it. If something bad took place, then whoever took it must bear the consequences."

Ahmad Mishmishi, a multimedia design student at AUS, also believes that in the event that borrowed goods are lost or damaged, the consequences must be shared. "If something bad happens, then & we will share the consequences."

Mishmishi doesn't mind lending his car and laptop, but not very often. However, he draws the line when it comes to sharing clothes. "I won't exchange clothes because it's not healthy; I can give clothes but I don't want to take them back; such stuff is really personal," he said.

For some students, lending equates to giving.

Fuad Mihnaaee, 19, a business management student at AUS, said: "I find it necessary to exchange things with my close pals. At times my car is in the garage and I need to go somewhere, then my pals cooperatively respond to my request. Certainly I would return the favour whenever the opportunity allows; after all, what are friends for?

"Let's say even in the worst scenario a serious accident happens, God forbid, it will not be an issue to me because the car is insured and everything can be solved. I don't see any problem to irritate me or to ruin my friendship. In short, I don't mind sharing or using each other's personal stuff."

Mugetaba Barazandeh, 19, a business marketing student at AUS, said she would lend her phone but not expensive possessions such as a watch. "It all depends on the other party's behaviour. For example, if they're reliable & then it would be fine with me. Stuff like sunglasses, of course, I'm willing to share. But clothes I would give but I don't want them back; it's a matter of hygiene."

Israa Shaarani, 19, an AUS architecture student, has not experienced any unpleasant situations in lending her things. "I used to exchange and share handbags and blouses with my best friends," said Israa, who limits her lending to close friends.

"In case it is damaged, it's okay with me because the same thing could have happened to me."

What parents have to say

Nadia Hemsi, a mother of two, feels borrowing and lending are OK among students as long as it's within limits. "If my daughter or my son wants to exchange books or CDs or laptops with their friends, that would be fine. However, when it comes to clothes I would definitely mind because they might be unaware of the hygiene issues." Hemsi is not in favour of lending cars. "I disapprove of exchanging cars, watches or sunglasses because I would be worried about something happening to the car or to the person driving it.

If my son is driving it, he would take the legal or financial responsibility. I like to keep my kids safe and away from trouble as much as I can. Therefore, I don't encourage the habit." Ayman Fighali said his five children are still too young to be exchanging possessions with friends. "I like to let them enjoy the innocence of their age and learn from life," he said. Fighali, however, had no hang-ups sharing his things with his brothers and friends.

"So if my son or daughter would like to share anything with their friends, that would be totally fine with me." Omaima Jamal Al Deen, a mother of two, thinks lending causes unnecessary problems among friends, the situation even escalating to involve the parents. "I hate the idea itself and I don't find it necessary," she said.

"If my sons ruin something that doesn't belong to them, they would take the blame for it. In most cases such irresponsible behaviour moves beyond the circle of students to include their parents who support their children; they try to put the blame on the other parent." Ghadha Fadel, a mother of four, recounts an episode when her daughter lent her diamond necklace to a friend.

"It was returned in very bad shape. I recall my daughter's reaction and how unhappy she was. That's why I'm against this habit and I prefer that everyone rely on themselves."

From bags to cars, students frequently exchange personal items, even if they're not very happy with it.


Compiled by Amelia Naidoo/Staff Reporter

"Dummy dummy text for vox pop goes here dummy text for vox pop goes." Symone Sequeira, human resources, Middlesex University Dubai Farah Mohammad Ayoub, TYERTY RTYRTY Menka Chandwani, finance, University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) DO YOU BORROW OR LEND A LOT dummy question here in dummy Items students exchange regularly cars mobile phones handbags sunglasses jewellery "Not much. I'll borrow or lend pens, books, but nothing big." BOOKS laptops The psychological angle Maya Fleifel Sidani, a clinical psychologist at the Human Relations Institute in Dubai, said exchanging personal items is not healthy and often is the result of peer pressure. "Students need to adapt to boundaries and value the goods they possess," she said. "Sharing is different from giving and exchanging. It takes place under the environment of the owner and under his/her conditions." "Students tend to do it either out of peer pressure or because of the need to belong and gain approval. Parents need to support their children by empowering them and preparing them for these kinds of challenges in life." "I rarely borrow but don't have a problem lending if the person is reliable." "I borrow and lend things like shoes, makeup and clothes, but only with close friends." Sheneela Haroon Shaw, banking finance, IITM WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF SOMEONE LOST OR BROKE SOMETHING YOU LENT THEM Dulsi Patel, banking finance, International Institute for Technology & Management (IITM) sHABISTA SHAIKH, finance, UOWD "I never borrow but I do lend on occasion." Sadaf Abdul Gafour, banking and finance, IITM "It depends on the thing. I would expect the person to offer to pay." "The person should give me a full refund but I would never ask for it." Shabista Shaikh, finance, UOWD "If it's something big, I would expect the person to pay for half of what it's worth."

From left: Nizar Mahran, Amira Taher, Sara Tarek, Mohammad Mouaffak Allaham and Yamen Hamwi, American University of Sharjah students