For Whom the Ding Tolls


| 9/10/2014 12:04:00 PM


Tags: Advice column, Family, Relationship advice, Ethical advice,

ding

Tim White, PhD, LPC, NCC offers advice on family planning and parenting, LGBT issues, disability issues, education and work issues, relationships, ethics and "unusual" social issues. Send questions to Tim for future columns through his website

Hi Tim,
I am 23, a male college student and I share an apartment with another guy. We get along and he is considerate and responsible. I'm the problem. He went out of town with his family a few weeks ago. He told me I could use his car, a brand new one that he worked long hours to afford. I take the shuttle or my bike everywhere, but I did borrow it a couple of times when I was pressed for time. One of those times, I noticed when I came back home that there's a fairly noticeable ding near the fender. This must have happened while it was parked somewhere, but I don't know how or where. He's been back over two weeks and never noticed! By now he'll probably assume it happened while he was driving it. I could say nothing and be in the clear, but my conscience is eating me alive! I'm losing sleep over this and he even notices my odd behavior because I can't relax around him at all! Should I tell him or just shut up and let him find out in due time? - Guilty Party

Hi Guilty,
This is one ding, right? Your description of being utterly consumed by gnawing guilt sounds too agonizing to bear any longer. Yes, you were responsible for the car and of course you should tell your roommate; it is the right thing to do and besides, I do not think your blood pressure can afford to fret much more about it. Tell him and remember someone else damaged his car, not you. It could have gotten bumped just as easily when he parked it, and those dings are often impossible to trace when one has been zipping around town. You should offer to pay half the cost if he even fixes it, and either way I would stick to the shuttle or bike in the future; it is not worth riling those jangled nerves.

Generosity Reconsidered