Author Topic: Friend's life on fire  (Read 7099 times)

gavint

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Friend's life on fire
« on: November 28, 2019, 03:50:41 AM »
I've been watching a good friend of mine over the last year gradually self-destruct financially, with all of the ripple effects that go along with that. 

He had a moderately successful business with a partner for several years, and was able to earn a good living through it, still had a good 50 k in debt and no assets, though.  Last year he suffered a burnout, and sold his share of the business in January this year.  He came out of it okay, paid off his debts, and had an additional 50 k to play with.  He decided this would be his year to pursue his dream project that would make him a millionaire. 

A month after leaving his company, he financed a new car for 45 k.  Then went on vacation with his family out of country - three times in 2019.  All the while having no income.  Burned through the business sale money by July, and took a bailout from his brother in law for 30 k.  That's now also gone, with no income still a year later, and currently pursuing plan F (A through E have all come to nothing).  But, no worries says he, Plan F will definitely succeed, and by February the money will be coming in big time.   Right.  He'll just take out a loan to tide him over until then.

I've had some blunt talks with him - (along the lines of get a job you goof!), but he's totally resistant and it wasn't at all well received.  He's deeply religious, and sees this all as god's plan for him, and he has faith it will work out.

Totally wild to watch it all happen when it's so eminently avoidable with a bit of sensibleness and a good action plan.  His marriage is falling apart, his health is deteriorating, and his other friends are bailing one after the other.  I expect he'll hit me up for money soon enough, to which the answer will be a strong no.     

What do you do with friends bent on self-destruction?  Let them crash and burn, and then help them back up afterwards?  Try to break through the denial with reason, with a big stick if necessary?  Tough one!

Bloop Bloop

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2019, 04:03:33 AM »
I don't think I would stay friends with someone who continuously made such poor choices which will affect not only himself but his whole family. I would try a few times to help him and if he did not respond or seek some other sort of help I would cut him loose.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2019, 04:33:02 AM »
I feel really bad for his wife and kids.  He sounds really self-indulgent.  What exactly does 'suffering a burn out' mean?  It sounds like he just got sick of running his moderately successful (but maybe a tad boring?) business and wanted to pursue his dream project instead.

dcheesi

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2019, 05:18:28 AM »
I feel really bad for his wife and kids.  He sounds really self-indulgent.  What exactly does 'suffering a burn out' mean?  It sounds like he just got sick of running his moderately successful (but maybe a tad boring?) business and wanted to pursue his dream project instead.
Burnout is a real phenomenon, and I could see it happening to a successful small business owner, especially if he failed to delegate effectively as it grew. But without further information, your scenario seems equally likely in this case.

gavint

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2019, 05:45:32 AM »
His burnout was legit - he worked himself to poor health

Good point with the self-indulgence though - In my opinion it was worth a shot to try out his big idea, but he should certainly have planned it out better and definitely consulted with his wife more thoroughly about it.  Plus, after the first failure he should have cut his losses and taken a job somewhere rather than doubling down. 

Coulda shoulda woulda.

I feel bad for his wife and kids too, but she was the main driver behind the new car purchase and the multiple vacations, very concerned with keeping up with the joneses.

Ditching him as a friend isn't yet my intention - I would be a bad friend to bail now when he needs what friends he has left the most.  It isnt costing me anything financially or emotionally to remain his friend, I'm just perplexed that someone could be that delusional about their situation, I find it interesting from a psychological point of view. 

Despite his poor decisions he is a good guy, that's why he's my friend after all!


Wrenchturner

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2019, 05:56:05 AM »
I was going to ask about the wife...

One delusional person might change their ways, but a couple...?

Interesting that keeping up with the Joneses was facilitated by a five figure bailout from a family member.  A strange sense of pride.

Malkynn

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2019, 08:03:30 AM »
The best thing you can do is emotionally detach from the outcome.

He's going to do what he's going to do, and your job as a friend is to respect his priorities. Contrary to whatever you think would be best for him, it's disrespectful for one adult friend to believe that they know better how the other should be living their life.

This is where friendships like this usually fail, because if he really believes that this is the best path for him and his family, then it's really not your place to impose your opinions.

It's similar to trying to maintain a friendship with someone while disagreeing with who they want to marry.

None of this means you can't stay friends, it just means that you will have to work on finding a way to respect his autonomy and personal decisions while fully disagreeing with them, and that can be very difficult.

gavint

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2019, 08:59:43 AM »
I do think about his situation sometimes and get annoyed, but you guys are right, it's not my problem.  I find it's just so weird.

About respecting him even though we're of differing opinions - that'll be okay, that defines our friendship anyway.

I'll just sit back and enjoy the show I guess, and be around to talk if he asks for it. 

Thanks for your comments everyone!


Cassie

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2019, 09:18:46 AM »
Really sad but not your monkeys and not your circus.  Your friendship may end if he asks you for money.

Wrenchturner

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2019, 07:08:29 PM »
Luckily he lives in a developed nation where it is unlikely that a financial calamity will result in death or irreversible damage.  Or at least, it is far less likely.

dang1

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2019, 12:09:59 AM »
don't be an enabler in his financial meltdown by giving him money. encourage him to get mental health counseling for his behavior.

gavint

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2019, 02:52:06 AM »
Luckily he lives in a developed nation where it is unlikely that a financial calamity will result in death or irreversible damage.  Or at least, it is far less likely.

You're right to a point, there is a robust social security net here, you just need to eat your pride and ask for it.  It may indeed come to that.

About the death thing:  His health was never great, he's been obese since I've known him, but over the course of the year I've watched him expand further into morbidly obese territory and sink into depression - the two are linked of course.  I don't see it as at all unlikely that the extreme stress and terrible health he's in lead him to having a heart attack. 

Wrenchturner

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2019, 03:53:44 AM »
Luckily he lives in a developed nation where it is unlikely that a financial calamity will result in death or irreversible damage.  Or at least, it is far less likely.

You're right to a point, there is a robust social security net here, you just need to eat your pride and ask for it.  It may indeed come to that.

About the death thing:  His health was never great, he's been obese since I've known him, but over the course of the year I've watched him expand further into morbidly obese territory and sink into depression - the two are linked of course.  I don't see it as at all unlikely that the extreme stress and terrible health he's in lead him to having a heart attack.

I'm sorry to hear that.  But in part it's a similar problem.  You can't fix his health issues in the same way you can't fix his spending problem.  Sometimes people need to suffer before they open their eyes.  It's terrible but it's a timeless story that we all likely fall victim to from time to time.

SwordGuy

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2019, 08:34:23 AM »
Choices have consequences.

Some people figure that out the easy way.

Some people need to learn that the hard way.

Some people refuse to learn the lesson even when life rubs their nose in it.

I've never figured out a way to move someone from one category to the other with mere words.

OtherJen

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2019, 10:18:25 AM »
Choices have consequences.

Some people figure that out the easy way.

Some people need to learn that the hard way.

Some people refuse to learn the lesson even when life rubs their nose in it.

I've never figured out a way to move someone from one category to the other with mere words.

This. I learned earlier this year that a now-former friend to whom husband and I had given a lot of emotional support as his life fell apart in various ways—most of them due to his own actions/inactions—had not only NOT learned anything from the support, but had also been lying to us and various other friends for years to garner more support and sympathy.

I cut all contact with this person more than 6 months ago (his behavior had become increasingly boundary-crossing and threatening), but bits and pieces I've heard from mutual acquaintances—many of whom are equally worn out by him—suggest that he doesn't recognize that he did anything wrong and hasn't changed a damned thing about his life. He wants to be a victim. Fine by me. Not my problem anymore.

MoneyQuirk

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2019, 10:52:21 PM »
In my honest experience (take it or leave it)

There's NO value in trying to convince someone to abandon a downward spiral like that. I would make your position known, and then just resume being friends with him. You are NOT going to be able to change him. People do NOT change until they feel the need to. No amount of you wanting him to come out of the spiral will change him.

SwordGuy

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2019, 08:26:52 AM »
"Look, I'm your friend.   I really care about you.    And because I care a lot, I need to tell you something even if it might hurt your feelings, because you need to know this.   I hope you'll forgive me because I really mean well."

Then express your concerns, clearly and succinctly.

"Thanks for listening.  It's your life, do what you want.  I won't bring it up again.    Wanna go do (insert fun activity here)?"


Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2020, 09:16:27 PM »
Others gave plenty of wisdom here, so I'll just say this: a real friend offers his input--cautions his friend against danger--but then steps aside.  After that, a real friend is there to support him when he picks up the pieces after it becomes a total ruin (and this is the part that I struggle with...) without reminding him that his bad choices got him there. 

Sad to say, but I've had to do that before.

partgypsy

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2020, 12:44:52 PM »
Oh lord. If I was you I'd say something like yes God helps those who help themselves. God helps us by giving us a brain, but He expects us to use it. what if you had a friend who was, not working, buying 45K thousand dollar vehicles, going on multiple vacations and that friend told you God was going to take care of him. Would you feel he was being wise?

I am sorry. It is extra hard because it seems the wife is enabling or encouraging this behavior. You may be a better person than I to be patient and be there for him when he has to pick up the pieces. I think Swordguy summed it up best. 

marty998

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2020, 01:10:39 PM »
Oh lord. If I was you I'd say something like yes God helps those who help themselves. God helps us by giving us a brain, but He expects us to use it. what if you had a friend who was, not working, buying 45K thousand dollar vehicles, going on multiple vacations and that friend told you God was going to take care of him. Would you feel he was being wise?

I am sorry. It is extra hard because it seems the wife is enabling or encouraging this behavior. You may be a better person than I to be patient and be there for him when he has to pick up the pieces. I think Swordguy summed it up best. 

Sounds like he is firmly rooted in the denial stage of grief.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2020, 03:15:58 PM »
You can't help people. You can only ever help them help themselves. He's not there yet.

StockBeard

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2020, 12:45:34 AM »
What do you do with friends bent on self-destruction?  Let them crash and burn, and then help them back up afterwards?  Try to break through the denial with reason, with a big stick if necessary?  Tough one!
This is what some of my friends say about me and my plan to FIRE, FWIW. Maybe he has an actual plan and is not revealing everything to you, which makes you think the situation is worse than what it actually is?

partgypsy

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Re: Friend's life on fire
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2020, 10:29:22 AM »
What do you do with friends bent on self-destruction?  Let them crash and burn, and then help them back up afterwards?  Try to break through the denial with reason, with a big stick if necessary?  Tough one!
This is what some of my friends say about me and my plan to FIRE, FWIW. Maybe he has an actual plan and is not revealing everything to you, which makes you think the situation is worse than what it actually is?

based on what is in original post  "Burned through the business sale money by July, and took a bailout from his brother in law for 30 k.  That's now also gone, with no income still a year later, and currently pursuing plan F "