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CFi's avatar

My Best-friend's husband stole something from me, what should I do?

Asked by CFi (227points) October 4th, 2010

My best-friend of 15 years was feeling down so I invited her, her husband and kids over for dinner. We were all in the kitchen when I noticed my friend’s husband picking up my pocket knife off of the floor look at it interestingly and I think he placed it on the kitchen table. I say “think” because I didn’t really watch his every move since I figured he was trying to keep it off the floor and out of the 2 year old’s hands that was walking around and being curious.
The next morning I went to look for my knife and I could not find it, I moved a few things around and couldn’t find it, I didn’t do a complete and thorough scan of the table just because I figured since he had just picked it up it should have been just placed there in plain view. I plan to go home tonight and do a more thorough search and be certain it isn’t there.
What should I do if I don’t find it?
I would like to casually ask her like “Hey, I was looking for my work knife this morning and I remember _____ had moved it onto the kitchen table out of baby’s way, but maybe he placed it on a shelf somewhere because I couldn’t find it this morning on my way out. I was kinda in a hurry so maybe I missed it or something?”
This seems like I’m not assuming anything but letting her know that I saw ______ with it last. There is no way that anyone else grabbed it, and I wonder is it that important to possibly risk ruining a friendship if she covers for him, which I think she might out of embarrassment. I really don’t think I will get my knife back and I really liked it, but I’m not sure it’s worth possibly losing a friend either though. But then again what man of age 33 steals from a friend?

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27 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think just asking her where he put it is a good start. I’d just say, “I saw your husband pick up my knife to keep it away from the kids, but I didn’t see where he put it. Could you ask him for me?” Then go from there.

bippee's avatar

I would ask her to ask her husband where he put the knife because he was the last person to have touched it. He really might have dropped it into his pocket unconsciously you know? Maybe he wasn’t really stealing it and absentmindedly took it. That’s how I would approach it.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

What Seaofclouds recommends. You could also throw in that in case he put it in his pocket for safe-keeping for the evening and forgot, you want to make sure it doesn’t end up in the washing machine.

partyparty's avatar

I would ask your friend to ask her SO where he put the knife, as you wanted to use it, but couldn’t find it.
That way you are letting your friend know you are aware of him touching it.

marinelife's avatar

I agree with all of the above.

Otto_King's avatar

If he stole that knife, and she knows it, then it’s not a friendship, so there is nothing to ruin. You can just straight tell her or him that I saw you put the knife on the table, and when you all left I couldn’t find it anymore. Can you check your kids pocket, just in case they accidently took it? That’s what I’d do.

Loried2008's avatar

I think @Pied_Pfeffer has the best method of approaching this if he really did steal it. It’s be the best way to get it back if he did. You never know, he really could have absent-mindly plopped it in his pocket.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I didn’t notice the part about the kids when you emailed me, that is definitely a big factor. I don’t think it would be out of line to ask if he did put it in his pocket, or something like that, to keep it away from the child. It is a cushioned way to approach the subject, but if your friend knows anything about this, I think she will have a hard time hiding it. She may defend him, but I really feel strongly that if she knows he took it intentionally (if he really did), that she will get your item back to you. Who knows, maybe she has no idea and will be furious with him if she figures out that he took it. (if he did.)

CFi's avatar

@Seaofclouds – I do like your approach to the question, thank you.

@Pied_Pfeffer – I’m also going to add your bit about the washing machine to my question when I do ask, thank you too.

@partyparty – Yea, that was my initial idea, let her know that I know.

@Otto_King – Well, I am typically a very straight forward type approach type person, but this is a special situation that would require a softer approach.

CFi's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie – I think that’s what I’m hoping for is for her to be upset with him, because she has always been an example to me of; courtesy, manners, and ‘proper protocol’ , but because this is her husband I am afraid of what she might really say and/or do.
Somehow, I feel this is a lose lose situation :/

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@CFi maybe that is how you should approach it, then. As though the tables were turned. Since the two of you are so close in personality, consider how you might react if it were your husband. Maybe that will be the best way to decide exactly how to approach your friend.

lemming's avatar

I think knives often end up in the bin, with scraps and peelings etc. So if that’s possible maybe you should look there before you do anything about it.

CFi's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie – Well, she may be a tad more uptight and sensitive to things, which is why I hope this doesn’t get blown up or she doesn’t feel mortified and our relationship gets jeopardized.
I’ve tried to flip the scenario and I’m pretty sure I’d lie my way out of it to make it seem like an accident and I wouldn’t mind if she did the same. But this goes to show that once again my mom’s little head voice is right. Don’t leave anything out you’re going to miss. I’ve always fought her over how “good” I thought my friends and to believe in people’s honesty and I’m starting to feel it was a losing battle to begin with :/

@lemming – Funny thing is I had stuck the trash can in a locked cupboard out of baby’s way, so that’s not a possibility here, I wish it were. Plus it’s a really nice pocket knife.

lillycoyote's avatar

I would be very careful here. It seems like there are basically three things that could have happened. 1. Your best friend’s husband picked it up off the floor, either to keep it out of the reach of the kids or simply because people generally understand that things like that don’t belong on the floor and then put somewhere. You assume that he put on the table, but he could have put it anywhere. On the counter, on a shelf, in drawer, in something on the counter, who knows. 2. Your best friend’s husband actually did take the knife or 3. Something else entirely. Small things like pocket knives are easy to misplace or to end up under something, or behind something or in something, etc. The fact that it was on the floor in the first place means the knife has a tendency to stray, even under your possession. :-) You didn’t see him take it and you have no proof. If you best friend’s husband didn’t take it, anything you say to her that is an outright accusation that her husband is a thief or even could be interpreted by her that you think her husband is a thief could be the end of the friendship. Best friends with whom you share 15 years of history don’t come along every day. obviously. I would tread very lightly as @Seaofclouds suggests. I wouldn’t make it overly complicated with the whole washing machine thing because implies that you think her husband pocketed the thing, even if absentmindedly, and could seen by your friend as veiled accusation. Just keep it simple, mention to her that you noticed that her husband picked the knife up off the floor and if she could ask him if he remembers where he put because you can’t find it anywhere. Pocket knives can easily be replaced, best friends of 15 years, not so much.

deni's avatar

If it was anyone else, or any other situation, you would ask the last person you saw with it where they put it. It’s really no big deal…or at least it shouldn’t be taken as a big deal. Just ask. “Could you ask ____ if he might know where my pocket knife is? I think I saw him pick it up off the floor but I can’t find it.” It seems pretty harmless to me. Unless you are clearly insinuating that he stole it.

CFi's avatar

@lillycoyote – More background on the situation, though I like each one of your points:
The knife is about 4.5” and was an expensive gift from one of my vendors. Before they arrived I walked in with grocery’s and it fell over as i was placing them on the table and in my rush I forgot to pick it up.
Later that evening we were chatting in the kitchen and i turned to open the drawer and kept glancing back as we were talking to them and watched him see it on the floor, pick it up either hold it or place it on the table but for sure was looking at it intently and curiously, then he looked back at me as I turned back to the drawer I had my hand in. That’s as much as I can remember.
Regarding the replacement portion versus the friendship thing, for me it’s more like do I really want to be friend’s with someone that steals from my home? I mean come on, I would never think twice unless it was a piece of candy, yes I will take 2 mints, but not somebody’s property. It makes me seriously feel violated and betrayed. How shady do you have to be to take something from your friend, and it’s not like I am just her friend, I’ve hung out with him, had a drink, played video games, cared for his kids and his wife when they were in the hospital. I paid for their wedding cake for goodness sake! I mean c’mon, how dare he.
Ugh, I really hope I am wrong, I have never wanted to be more wrong about something in my whole life, it’s not the object it’s the principal of what happened.
I plan to go home tonight and search that table like a hound dog and then make my move.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The thing is, you just don’t know what happened as you didn’t truly witness the incident. Give your friend’s spouse the benefit of the doubt and not make assumptions. It might even be a good idea to give it another day. Look around the house, sleep on it, and then call your friend tomorrow. It will give you time to calm down and craft how you want to word it so that no one is being accused and put on the defense. A long-term relationship, such as this, might not worth throwing away over a knife, no matter how valuable or sentimental it is.

CFi's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer – Thank you I plan to.

GingerMinx's avatar

I think you had some great responses and suggestions here. I was only goign to add that had I been at a friends house and seen somethign like a knife on the floor when children were around I would have picked it up and passed it to the friend saying I found it on the floor so that they could put it away. I just find it odd that even though you were right there he never handed it to you.

lillycoyote's avatar

@CFi A couple of things. You seem to have already convinced yourself that he has stolen it and that lingering suspicion always in the back of your mind may be enough, in and of it’s self, to put a very damaging strain on your friendship. And no, you probably don’t want to be friends with someone who would steal from your home. I would still exercise caution here. What’s the harm in your first step in being to approach your friend the way @Seaofclouds or @deni have suggested. Maybe her husband answer will be. “Oh, yeah. Sorry, I meant to tell her, I put it (wherever) I was looking at it and it seemed like a really nice knife and I didn’t want anything to happen to it” Or, how are you going to feel if you talk to your friend in way that insinuates that you think her husband is a thief, it destroys the friendship and then later, you find the knife behind the toaster or something? What’s the harming in starting with a gentle little nudge? It may clear everything up, and if it doesn’t go on from there.

CFi's avatar

@GingerMinx – Exactly, another thought that occured to me as well, thank you.

@lillycoyote – I think my last post was more emotional than I would prefer to have been on here, and I can’t help but feel like yes he did take it because I saw what he did and unless I have some shifty mice in my house there really is no other way it could have moved. You know when you feel so sure about something but your fighting not to think it. Why else would I have posted a question asking for suggestions if I didn’t doubt myself?
But, I am doubting myself as a way of cushioning the blow of betrayal.
I can hardly wait to get home and discover I was being over dramatic and silly.

lillycoyote's avatar

@CFi Good luck, in any case. I hope for you and for everyone involved that it turns out to be “much ado about nothing.” Keep us posted as to how it turns out?

CFi's avatar

I plan to thank you

marymaryquitecontrary's avatar

This sounds very fishy to me.
First, why would someone leave a prized pocket knife on the floor?
Second, why would someone leave something dangerous on the floor when they know kids are coming over?
Third, if you see an adult put something on the table, and later it is gone, why would you assume that the adult took it? If the adult wanted to take it it would have been simpler to pocket it after picking it up from the floor, and if it was on the table, one might more readily belive that a child took it.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@marymaryquitecontrary she said that it fell on the floor when she was carrying groceries.

CFi's avatar

@marymaryquitecontrary – 1) My hands were full of groceries when I came home and I was rushing since she had called to tell me they were going to be early, so as I kinda plopped the bags on the table and pushed over the knife, I was in such a rush that I needed to get started on dinner I said to myself I’d grab it in a second. I was more worried about getting the food going since I had very little time to prepare.
2) I actually wasn’t certain if she was going to bring her 2 y/o since he was getting over a cold, but it didn’t make a difference if they we’re bring him or not. It wasn’t a big deal to me because my house is relatively baby safe since it’s not cluttered and normally I don’t leave knives laying around. The knife was on the table to begin with because I had used it earlier that day to cut a plastic retainer off, since I was busy I figured to put it away while I was tiding up before they would show up. Then followed the phone call and my rush began.
3) Our kitchen table is pretty tall, the 2 y/o can’t even reach it with this fingers, and he was never left alone.
How does this seem fishy? Are you implying I was deliberately setting up my friend’s husband or that I maliciously left a knife out? It was an absent minded mistake, that’s it.
At any rate here is the update to this situation:
I called her and chatted for a little bit and then asked her casually if she could ask her husband if he remembered where he placed the knife he pick up off the floor that night and we continued our conversation as normal. She text messaged me later saying ” He said he put it on the table” I then texted back that I would keep looking” She replied asking if I’d like her to come help me look, she lives about 45— 50mins away that would be irrational, I replied that I would look for it a little later. She followed that text with saying ” He said the table in the kitchen, that’s where he put it” I followed with “ok cool, thank you”.
At that point I did feel a little disappointed and unsure of what to think, but overall I decided to let it go and not make it a bigger thing in my head. I hope that I find it later or that it turns up somewhere. They’ve been great friend’s and I think I was more caught up in feeling like ” dang another person let me down” I invest too much into people sometimes and I can’t help that. I’ve always been the type of person to give you the shirt off my back and I don’t want to feel like I can’t be this person anymore.
– I thank you all for your insight and helpā™„

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@CFi Thanks for the update. I think you are making the right call. At least you know that your friend’s husband did pick it up and that it wasn’t a figment of your imagination. And it still may turn up.

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