'Tis a noble deed to help a friend in need. But if your friend is notorious for "forgetting" that you loaned them your digital camera or your Blu Ray copy of the Planet Earth Collection, your noble deed can become a major headache. Instead, adopt a this-for-that trade policy that can help everyone get what they need without any of that chronic recurring "forgetfulness."
The common advice on loaning out electronics and media to friends leans two ways. Cynics will simply say, "Don't do it!," while more optimistic others suggest keeping a log of everything you let friends or family borrow.
But even the most detailed records in the world aren't going to save your relationships when your buddy insists he already gave your Flip Camera back to you. It's totally a lie, and both of you know it.
Instead, how about you adopt a this-for-that trade policy?
The next time somebody wants to borrow a DVD, offer instead that you exchange movies. When a good friend asks to borrow your DSLR for a trip they're taking, ask if you can borrow their XBox and Kinect while they're gone.
On one hand, you'll get to enjoy a new movie or test out a new game console you've been wanting for yourself. And on the other hand, you'll have a bit of collateral to make sure they hand your gear back when they're done.