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“Growing out” of your old friends

Discussion in 'Cafe toonzone' started by BrendaBat, May 12, 2009.

  1. BrendaBat

    BrendaBat WTF!?

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    I do like her. When we talk about neutral subjects (like anime and games and other geeky things) we have lots of fun. It's just really difficult and sad to see her stuck in a childish mindset while I get to grow up and think and function like an adult.


    I mean, I'm sure you've had friends and/or family members who have tested your patience (and even your love) by doing stupid things or behaving terribly. That's what this situation feels like to me. I still want to have a relationship with her because she's a good person and we've been friends for years. And I want to see her get better and learn to be independent.
    But seeing her act so irresponsibly while I'm trying my best to get work and move out of my parents' house again is frustrating.
     
  2. Master Moron

    Master Moron Active Member

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    Man, I really wish someone told me this before I took out $50,000 in law school loans.

    I don't mean to get this thread too off topic, but nowadays a college degree is pretty worthless. I saw a story on 20/20 about a month ago or so talking about what a scam it is. The figures about college graduates earning more than non-college grads is heavily skewed due to the few very wealthy people who are college grads. A lot of college degrees are pretty much worthless due to all the useless majors that colleges offer. It's getting to the point where you need to go to grad school to have any shot at a higher paying job.

    Honestly, though, perhaps the best way to make money in todays economy is to skip college and grad school altogether and go to trade school. You spend two years of your life and then you can start making money without having to worry about a massive amount of student loans to pay back.

    Gee, maybe I'm just a selfish person, but isn't it kind of good to be the one doing the looking down? I mean, aren't you glad it's you that is somewhat successful in life? I mean, wouldn't it be much worse if you were the one who was unsuccessful and she was the one who was successful?
     
  3. DarthGonzo

    DarthGonzo Fourteen Years!

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    How classy.

    I do okay, but I have a handful of friends who are not doing too well financially these days. You can be glad you're successful without looking down on someone for not having it as good as you. Everyone lives their lives differently, but no one should be looking down their noses at someone else simply because they make less money than you do. I'm actually very sympathetic towards my friends who are less fortunate than me. Yes I'm glad I do ok, but I wouldn't resent these friends if it was the other way around.

    You have a very...interesting point of view.
     
  4. Master Moron

    Master Moron Active Member

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    You're really taking what I said out of context. All I was saying was that Brendabat should be happy that she has the success that she has. Look at it this way, if you ARE the one who is at a higher point in your life than your friends then you can be whatever you want to be. You don't have to be cocky and arrogant about it if you don't want to. You can lead by example and continue to be kind and sympathetic. You have a choice. But, the person who is down on their luck doesn't have that choice. I think most people would rather be the person who is better off than the person who is down on their luck. I mean, I think that's fairly obvious, isn't it?
     
  5. James Bester

    James Bester Screaming for Vengeance

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    While I can't say my situation is exactly the same as BrendaBat's, I'm also in the process of having to let go of an old friend.

    This old friend's actually been my best friend for around 10 years. We used to hang out all the time and even roomed together for my first semester of school, but now he's engaged and only worries about his fiancee to the point that he doesn't even care for his family and friends for the most part. I actually haven't hung out with him since around January, since his fiancee won't even let him out of her sight for the most part. Now, I can understand that when making a drastic change like this you need to put your friends to the side most of the time, but we've grown so far apart that we can't even talk anymore. I guess we just can't relate on anything these days, especially since I feel like I'm talking to Danny Tanner whenever we actually do talk on the phone. I mean, the guy does nothing but brag about his fiancee, job, and grades. We can't even discuss anything exciting cause all he does is go on about how perfect his life is. I'm happy that he's doing well with his life and everything, but I sometimes wish he wouldn't constantly put it in everyone's face that he's supposedly the best at literally everything.

    So yeah, it can suck having to let go of an old friend, especially if that person happens to be someone real close, but if that friend doesn't even bother to be there for you, it won't be too hard to let go after a while.
     
  6. BrendaBat

    BrendaBat WTF!?

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    When you word it like that, it does sound better. ;)

    To be honest, part of my current frustration with her was seeing how irresponsibly she spent her inheritance and thinking about how I could get my life on track if that kind of money (even if it is "blood money") fell into my lap. When your family has been broke for most of your life, watching someone piss away a financial windfall is especially aggravating. I know that makes me sound like a petty, jealous person. But, whatever. :shrug:

    But, now that I've thought about it some more, I really should be grateful that I'm the one who can function like an adult and learned early on that blaming Mommy and Daddy for my problems (no matter how justified the blame might be) will get me nowhere in life. I may be in a bad spot right now, but at least I have the ability to go out there and get back on my feet.
    So your advice actually made me feel better! Thanks MM!! :D
     
  7. Ioz

    Ioz Master of Mer

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    Sometimes, you just outgrow friends. They stay in their teens forever, while you grow up. If you still have a lot in common with her, stay friends. If you don't, don't. If you have a lot of negative feelings towards her and you can't work it out, just like in a romantic relationship sometimes it just isn't meant to be.
     
  8. The Old Maid

    The Old Maid Voice in the wilderness

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    BrendaBat, your friend is tunnel-visioned on the present. You already know that the definition of Pointless is "doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result." But she doesn't. So she may have trouble picturing a future in which she is either a 60-year-old happy and productive adult, or a 60-year-old kid who has no life. (BTW in economics there is a theory that people have to be able to visualize the future in order to be able to plan for it; and that who people have trouble saving haven't got the picture of the future in focus.)

    There's realistic fear and then there's catastrophizing. (Is that a word? It is today.) Her fear of her folks' anger probably is a real word, but it's not the last word. Reminds me of, of all things, the character Junior in Cool Runnings who can't stand up to his dad. His teammate Yul says in bewilderment, "This man, you act like he is king of the whole world!" To your friend, it probably seems like that, and maybe she needs to hear it phrased like that. It doesn't occur to her to think, if her folks get angry, will they turn off the sun to punish her? Will they tell all grocery stores to stop selling food to her? No. They will call her bad words, probably very bad words from what you've mentioned. And then they'll turn off the sun? See, to her, the bad words are world-ending, and to you they aren't.

    This sort of thinking is contagious. Because she needs to solve so many problems, you're drifting into thinking that you might have the power to solve those many problems, which brings a sense of duty to actually do so. Yet you're still at enough of a distance to realize that it would be ruinous to both of you to invite her to share an apartment with you. I think you're absolutely right not to mingle your finances with hers. If she moves out, it needs to be on her own. If it's dangerous for her to stay there, she needs to think about a battered women's shelter, many of which have training in teaching life skills. Either way, she's not going to learn those life skills if you take care of everything. Pick your battles, in other words.

    If you can get her to turn her catastrophizing off the present and into the future, it might help. That is, she's afraid of angering her folks today. Would she still knuckle under if she knew they would live to be 90? Would she still desperately ingratiate herself to them if she knew their estate would be gone, eaten by medical bills?

    When she was a little kid, is this how she imagined 25 would be? If not, what age did she, does she, think of as "grown up" in the sense of being capable (since calendars are out the window at this point).

    There actually are two things you could do to give her a nudge without it turning into a shove. The first is simple: offer to drive her to driving lessons. Keep offering. It'll be frustrating, but try to keep your voice light and adventurous ("It's not just a car, it's your freedom" -- now there was a true car ad), rather than "I've offered a hundred times, you gotta ..." Yeah, she gotta. But she ain't gonna, until it sinks in on its own. Just keep offering, the way you'd book a trip that is hard to pin down because of conflicting schedules but that you're definitely going to take.

    Odds are she'll whine that her folks will be angry. She's probably right about that. But who said she had to tell them? Or if she feels that she must tell them, who said they can say no? Go into the catastrophizing again: "If you learn to drive, are they going to close all the roads? Will they shut down the interstate just so you can't use it?"

    It's a case of choosing your battles. If she "waits until Mom is in a good mood," what is she planning to do if that good mood never comes? What if Mom secretly chose never to teach her, ever, and just hasn't told her yet? Does your friend think if she pleases them enough, Mom will change her mind? Mmm-hmm, what's the track record for success on that. I'm guessing it's pretty low. The thing about bullies is that, even if it's something you can change and do, it doesn't help. They'll just find something else to complain about.

    There are dozens of driver's ed schools. Your friend can already start by picking up some library books about the rules of the road. If she can't get a life without a job, and she can't get a job without being able to drive, concentrate on getting her to drive.

    (You haven't mentioned if your friend is agoraphobic. If she is, that's professional territory. I don't know how they handle that; you'd have to ask said pro how they see someone who won't come to them.)

    The second is money. You might have to ask your friend flat out if she feels guilty about inheriting all that money. Between feeling weird about having it and feeling foolish about blowing it, that's a miserable place to be. And that's before her folks come into the picture. They're probably furious that she inherited the money instead of them. If she thinks she feels guilty now, wait until she's wasted every cent and her folks actually have something worth yelling about! (In the principle of "even a broken clock is right twice a day.") She needs to get it out of her hands (but not into theirs) in a way that she can spend some but never spend it all.

    Statistics show that 80 percent of people who come into a large sum of money (lottery, inheritance, etc.) have blown every coin of it within 2 years. One of the guidelines I use is, if you're not going to save it, at least try to spend the money on something you'll still own and value and use, 5 years later.

    (That's why it's a bad idea, by the way, to try to cheat Medicare by hiding your money in your adult childrens' name. It's not enough that this is breaking the law. Either they'll spend it and you'll have nothing when you need it, or they get sued or divorced or something, and your money walks away in their courtroom. Money attracts a lot of people with time on their hands.)

    The problem with money advice is that it opens up a person to legal problems. So I can't tell you that if she feels guilty about the money, she could donate it to a Charitable Lead Trust or Charitable Remainder Trust (usually $100,000 to open). I can't tell you that if she had a reputable charity that has been running such funds for some years, they would essentially write her a monthly check for life, starting now (if it's a RT) or will return her money to her in 20 years with interest (if it's an LT).

    (Technically the easiest to open is the Charitable Annuity, usually $10,000 minimum to open. But whether it's in a charity or in the more traditional insurance wrapper, a lot of Annuities aren't available until you're 45 years old. That's often because annuities tend to pay out at age 65. The ones that pay younger people are worth looking into if you can find one, but the Remainder Trust was invented as a place for the money from people who might not get an Annuity.)

    And since the money is doing good, the check that comes back is scrubbed clean of guilt. But I can't tell you or anyone at TZ any of that. I can't even tell you that she could put the money in a one-year CD, to see if she has the self-discipline not to break open the CD before its maturity. I can't tell anyone anything about your friend's finances. So I won't.

    (Yeah, we talk about money on TZ, but only when actually asked. She didn't ask me.)





    (Note: the above is all based on the assumption that your friend could indeed become a doctor, lawyer, or Indian chief if she could just get the engine out of neutral, and that she doesn't have any situation in her head that actually would lead to her living with her folks as their dependent even if they were the nicest people.)




    Anyhow, don't give up on your friend just yet. She needs someone to believe in her, even if it makes you feel now and then like an agnostic praying. :sweat: She needs to be exposed to normal, healthy people who think adulthood is fun! That's definitely not a message she's getting at home.

    Keep us posted.
     
    #28 The Old Maid, May 27, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2009
  9. Prdgn

    Prdgn I said, I'm singing a song.

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    I have a friend who, mentally and physically, has not aged any since he was eleven years old (he's 20 now). The personality gap just kept growing, and we never talk anymore.
     

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