I currently live with my family, in a fairly sizeable house. My sister also lives at home, as does her boyfriend who has grown to be my closest friend.
Both of our main hobbies is mechanical work on cars and motorbikes. We both have a lot of basic tools, but each of us has a number of specialist tools that it makes no sense to have multiples of (and some materials too). One of us owns them, and in the past we've been pretty good at just sharing their use.
Recently, I've noticed my friend has become more and more cagey about lending me his tools. He's naturally more protective of his stuff than I am, and a few instances have built up of people borrowing his tools and either losing them or them coming back broken (same thing happens to mine every now and again, but I find it easier to let this stuff go). I haven't been as good as he has about replacing stuff I've broken or lost of his in a timely manner, which is something I plan to change. This is probably a contributing factor.
All came to a head recently when he fitted a key-latch to his garage (as much to just keep the doors shut as to lock everyone out). I mentioned that it'd mean if we wanted to borrow one of his tools it'd be more effort for him to come and unlock it, so would he be happy with that, given how freely and happily I share my tools.
His response was 'Fine, I won't use your tools then', and has since made comments that make it clear he's still angry about this.
- On average, I have more specialist tools than he does (and the tools I have will be more expensive for him to purchase). He also uses more of my materials than I use of his. From a purely objective perspective, he has more to lose.
- I know he's more protective of his stuff than I am. I make sure not to ask to borrow any tools I own myself, and am very careful to always ask before borrowing anything. The former he holds to, but I'm not so sure about the latter (I don't really pay attention to it, so it may be that he does but I don't register it).
- I specifically make a point of not counting favour/reciprocation as that way bad relationships lie. I share my stuff because I like him, he's my friend, and I want him to be happy. It hurts me that it feels like this feeling is not reciprocated. To try and get away from the whole 'counting' thing, I tend to focus more on attitude when asked than volume.
- The resistance to sharing feels childish to me. I try to see things from his perspective (he's a young man currently living with his girlfriend's family, likes to have his own stuff, probably going through the whole 'carve your niche' process young adults go through, and is probably feeling a bit hemmed in and not being able to find somewhere that's his own space). So the feeling of childishness could well just be different perspectives.
How do I best communicate with my friend that sharing of specialist tools is both within our mutual interest, and not doing so will needlessly incur significant financial burdens on both of us and makes me feel hurt?
Having read a number of IP threads on communication, my current plan is to have a convo about how his actions make me feel hurt and try to steer away from any examples of 'counting'. For one, I just don't give a toss if it's unbalanced in those terms. Secondly, it might just avoid any knee-jerk 'Fine, I'll just use my stuff and you use yours' reactions as that way everyone loses. I'll probably try to end with 'If that will really make you happier then we can do that, but it does make me feel a little hurt'.
Not so sure on the last phrase as it feels a little manipulative, but it's an honest descriptor of cause-and-effect. Not sure what's more valuable in this case...