Here’s The Scene (We’ve All Been There In Some Way)
You’re at a nice restaurant with friends, and someone tells a particularly hilarious anecdote about ex-boyfriends becoming scientologists. In your fit of laughter, you spill red wine onto your friend’s expensive dress. What happens now?
Or, say, you’re the one whose expensive dress gets the Cabernet treatment. Even worse yet, say that you were borrowing that now-ruined dress from a friend.
Here is the LearnVest guide to these sticky situations (pun intended):
If That Stain Doesn’t Come Out…
As you can see, the first line of defense is dry cleaning. If you spilled on your friend and her item needs to be replaced, you should pay. If you don’t have the money to replace an expensive item, at least take your friend out to a nice dinner in order to apologize.
What If You Ruin A Borrowed Item?
If, however, the damage happened to an item you were borrowing, an apology dinner doesn’t cut it. You should never (and we mean never) borrow something that you can’t afford to replace in full. Think of it as a loan: You assume a certain liability. So, be sure not to take on more risk than you can afford, like an expensive dress. If your friend pushes back on your offer to pay for the clean up or replacement, get her a gift card to the store where she bought the item. Say, “I feel awful and you really deserve this.” It’s the right thing, and will avoid future resentments.
What If It’s Your Item That’s Ruined?
As the lender of cool stuff, you should never, ever lend something that’s irreplaceable—whether it’s your grandmother’s earrings or your favorite $49 H&M dress that you like a whole lot and may never find again. If your friendship would be hurt by having your item lost or ruined, then don’t lend it.
We’ve all been there—your friend does something wrong and you don’t feel like she’s made the proper amends. Just remember that clothing is replaceable, but your friend isn’t (we hope!). If she does offer to pay for dry cleaning or a replacement item, then it’s up to you whether or not to accept. In our experience, it’s the offer itself that goes the longest way.