Author Topic: Dealing with non mustachian friends  (Read 11999 times)

strider3700

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Dealing with non mustachian friends
« on: May 10, 2012, 07:53:15 PM »
I've been pretty mustachian since long before I knew I was mustachian.  My wife not so much but in the last few years has become much more frugal in her spending.  I introduced her to MMM about 4 months ago shortly after I started reading the blog and she instantly recognized that this is what she had been moving towards without realizing it.  The biggest issue we have these days is our friends.  We have 4 couples that we're pretty close to.   

1 of them is semi mustachian and although they make some big ticket purchases they are in a financial position where it's not hurting them it's just not helping them. They like to travel.  We get along well and talk finances regularly. He's one of my oldest friends but due to work/kids/school I see them every month or two on average. Still we chat online daily.

1 of the couples seems to be doing ok mostly thanks to his giant income.  They however took a credit line to pay for a reno on their house that cost more then the house originally did. They decided to roll the mortgage onto the credit line after the reno was done  rather then renew the mortgage.  They then added a new trailer, new ram 1500, new small toyota SUV and a crap load of travel and toys to that credit line.  We like them but their constant spending and debt handling is a little frustrating to me but really bothers my wife.  We used to be neighbours but now see them monthly or so.

1 of the couples has a giant mortgage and a wife addicted to disney, travel and the good life due to coming from money. The husband doesn't come from money and works a hell of a lot to maintain the lifestyle since she barely works, and didn't bring a fortune into the marriage.  Daddy has always been there to bail her out and she has zero concept of the value of a dollar.  He's my best friend but I can't stand to talk to her.  When I say addicted to disney and travel  I mean they'll do a week at disneyland twice this year and the cruise at least once.   She's done this every year basically since birth.  She also has a $25 a day starbucks habit.  They don't live anywhere near us so I see them yearly.  My wife can no longer stand his wife at all. Really I can't but I put up with it since it's my best friends wife.

The last couple has two kids the same age as mine.  My wife is friends with her and since the kids love each other we see them almost weekly.  They haven't filed their taxes in years even though they make so little they almost certainly would have gotten something back.  Also by not filing a bunch of low income rebates and so on from the government isn't coming to them.  They have a way too expensive house for their income and almost certainly are not paying some bills.  The husband went to school to change careers. Because they were so low income they were covered by grants to do it. They put the schooling on their credit card while doing the grants.  They then didn't get the paperwork done and handed in in time for the grants so they had to pay 100% out of pocket.   He then failed out half way through.    She now has a pretty serious medical condition which is 100% covered by medical services but the stress of the other financial issues is making things worse.  To deal with the stress she has a very expensive ice cream habit ( her weight isn't helping the medical condition either) and they like to take spa weekends away to help relax.  All paid for on credit of course. They have satellite TV but don't overly watch much TV... I feel really bad when I think about their kids and what could happen.  My wife is driven nuts by their choices in life.

So there is my group of friends.  Our mustachian lifestyle really doesn't match what most of them are doing.   It's also a relatively rare thing in society these days.  I'm wondering how everyone else deals with friends that are so different financially?  Do you just ignore it  or does it bug you?  do you actively try to find more similar friends?    Get togethers with all of them are getting quite uncomfortable these days as we get closer and closer to FI.


gooki

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2012, 08:23:37 PM »
Although many of my friends aren't in the same position as me, none of them are over burdened with debt.

In your situation. You're not going to be able to forcefully change their opinions on their lifetyle/spending habits. It's a realization that has to come from within.

I see two successful options.
- Stop caring.
or
- Indirectly show them the success of your lifestyle choices, and be accessible for them if they come to you wanting help.

SpendyMcSpend

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2012, 10:32:20 PM »
This may sound a little harsh but you can't control what other people do, nor should you care.  No one should be "driven nuts" by some other family's (even a close friend's) life choices.  It can be disappointing to realize that people you care about are making bad choices, but to get emotionally involved is a bad idea and not productive.

Secondly, I assume you guys are friends because you get along, not because you all behave in the same way.  It's definitely easier to be friends with people you have things in common with but money isn't everything.  If you find you really don't have stuff or activities in common anymore, then stop hanging out with them, but judging them for their decisions is not conducive to a healthy relationship.

Hope this helps give a different perspective!

velocistar237

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2012, 09:37:05 AM »
It's definitely easier to be friends with people you have things in common with but money isn't everything.

The MMM way has become a big part of my life lately and has moved frugality and finances to the forefront of my daily thinking. Despite the benefits, I wish it weren't so. I don't want frugality and finances to be the lens through which I see the world, how I judge my actions and the actions and attitudes of others. I'm hoping that as the novelty wears off and I get everything in order, it will recede into a more integrated pattern of thinking rather than being so prominent.

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2012, 10:04:50 AM »
I'd probably just shake my head and say it's a shame then move on. Unless one of my friends hits me up for money or something (I don't have a ton to spare....yet), I don't see it as having a bad effect on me. I just try to learn from other people's mistakes.

My best friend is so incredibly different from me in so many ways. I have a career, a side business, my own home, and I happily live alone (well, with non-humans) and take care of myself. My boyfriend lives an hour and a half away and I actually kinda like it like that. My work ethic was way too strong and I actually had to scale it back. She, on the other hand, is the type that would call in for just about anything. Now she is a stay at home mom and is resentful towards her husband if he spends any of his non-work time doing something away from home/her. She doesn't much like being left on her own to handle things at all (she seems to prefer being taken care of). There is nothing illegal or inherently wrong with that, I just wouldn't personally want to be that way. Despite the differences, we've been friends since grade school. I may think some of the choices she makes are silly and I'm sure she might feel that way about mine but when it comes down to it, she is a good person with a good heart and she's been there for me. We have gone through so many of life's challenges together that I feel it would be silly to judge her or to grow negative feelings towards her just because she isn't on the same financial page as me. That's her and her husband's choice.

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2012, 10:26:56 AM »
I would ask, in what ways are the differences in your financial worldview affecting your friendship? Are you having to turn down social invitations with them to save money? Are they dissatisfied with the way you entertain when they come over? Or are you just sort of mentally frustrated with the way they are living their individual lives?

Some of those you can just suck up. Some of those may affect whether you can really be friends anymore.

I have a good good friend much like your first friend. They make good money, but they spend most of it on their home and traveling. And admittedly, I'm jealous of the places they get to go. But when we hang out, we just grab a drink or have dinner at each other's house. We aren't the ones that try our city's newest trendy restaurant together. We have plans to join them on more of a road-trip vacation, but we may have to turn down the Alaska invitation. So far they understand and it's no big deal. There are plenty of things to do. But if one day we can't relate anymore over simple frugal get-togethers, it could be a problem.

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2012, 10:48:15 AM »
As everyone has said, you can't change people
All I've been doing is casually mentioning my favorite blog, and how much it has taught me, and how entertaining it is.  And then, I tell them what it is when they ask.
Most don't bother to look at it, or if they do, they look once and never again.
But a couple have become regular readers, and have started making the sort of changes that all new MMM readers make.

To reverse an old saying: you can't make him drink, but you CAN lead a horse to water

strider3700

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2012, 10:56:47 AM »
I think the issue is we have less and less in common so get togethers are getting awkward and if/when they discuss issues around money and toys I'm almost always just sitting there thinking you really really need a MMM facepunch right about now.  I suppose the answer is just suck it up and ignore the issues.   I can't imagine it's going to be easy finding new mustachian friends since we seem to be pretty rare and don't overly advertise.

fruplicity

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2012, 11:03:19 AM »
I have one particular friend like this, she's so bad that she even bothers our other friends who aren't necessarily mustachian but are just plain responsible about their finances. It's very difficult for us emotionally even though we know it's technically none of our business, but she's the type of person who one day will post on facebook about needing more money, and the next day post about getting/wanting a new computer/camera/car/outfit for her kid etc.

I try not to engage in money conversations with her but I will purposely talk about living a less consumer-y lifestyle (buying and wanting less, making do with what you have, etc). Like sideways8 said I appreciate the friendship too much to let the financial differences get in the way, but it can be unsettling to think about how vastly different our financial values and experiences are.

Bakari

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2012, 12:19:56 PM »
I have one particular friend like this, she's so bad that she even bothers our other friends who aren't necessarily mustachian but are just plain responsible about their finances. It's very difficult for us emotionally even though we know it's technically none of our business, but she's the type of person who one day will post on facebook about needing more money, and the next day post about getting/wanting a new computer/camera/car/outfit for her kid etc.

Since, unlike (most of) the OPs friends, yours is apparently not able to afford her own waste, and esp. if you have mutual non-mustachian friends that agree with you, there may come a point where the fact of being friends does make it your business.

After all, if a friend is hooked on meth or crack, the right thing to do might not be to "mind your own business", but to stage an intervention (or something less dramatic, but along the same lines).   

I guess this whole topic brings up issues deeper than spending money, but about what friendship means, and what if any responsibility we have toward our loved ones.  On the one hand, we can't be expected to take care of our friends or parent them, but on the other hand, if we know something they don't, that could potentially improve their lives, don't we have a responsibility to at least let them know what options they have if we are going to call them "friends"? 
Obviously on some level everyone "knows", but do most American's really realize the choices they are making?

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2012, 12:25:44 PM »
Since you rarely see your friends their life style shouldn't be your concern. In the meantime keep your options open for more mustachian couples who could become your new friends.


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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2012, 04:16:07 PM »
Damn Strider, I think I'm friends with your friends!  That cross section of couples seems awfully familiar...

I think you should give your best friend's wife some room since he won't be your best friend much longer if your feelings toward her don't change.  She can't be that bad if your buddy married her, and may I even suggest some Disney action together as a means of repairing your tattered relationship! (go in September for a long weekend, it's the cheapest although travel prices all over are creeping up; or maybe rent a house by a beach for a week).

Now if one of those couples you mention was asked to describe you and your wife, what do you think they would say?



Tyler

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2012, 04:17:11 PM »
Many people deal with the same issue, and I believe it transcends mustachianism. Some people are passionate about religion, politics, childrearing, etc. in the same way that we are about saving. They all believe that they can help others, want to share what they believe, and are commonly faced with resistance. 

Personally, I think the best thing to do is to simply lead by example.  When it comes up, feel free to openly discuss what you believe and how it helped you personally.  But avoid "preaching" and judgemental comments.  And don't take it personally if they choose a different direction - learn to be happy simply with sharing your experience with others.  Happiness is attractive, and the next time they are stressed out about money or faith or whatever they may just call you for advice. 

smedleyb

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2012, 04:31:33 PM »
This may sound a little harsh but you can't control what other people do, nor should you care.  No one should be "driven nuts" by some other family's (even a close friend's) life choices.  It can be disappointing to realize that people you care about are making bad choices, but to get emotionally involved is a bad idea and not productive.

Secondly, I assume you guys are friends because you get along, not because you all behave in the same way.  It's definitely easier to be friends with people you have things in common with but money isn't everything.  If you find you really don't have stuff or activities in common anymore, then stop hanging out with them, but judging them for their decisions is not conducive to a healthy relationship.

Hope this helps give a different perspective!

Nicely said, Meadow.  It's why in real life when people start talking about other people (in a nonchalant, gossipy sort of way) I've reached the point where I just sort of drift off mentally.  Yet on the flip side, opening up the Mustachian mode of being to my significant other sometimes requires that I highlight sloppy consumption by friends/family to illustrate my points.  I feel like a hypocrite at times.

 

TwoPupsOnACouch

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2012, 09:45:57 PM »
 it's not my problem.  It's not my problem.  It's not my problem.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2014, 09:37:50 AM by TwoPupsOnACouch »

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2012, 07:18:02 AM »
I think the issue is we have less and less in common so get togethers are getting awkward ...

This is a natural part of life, with our without a mustache. When you are young, being young is all you need to have in common with friends. As you get older your personality matures into who you really are, and you begin to realize you don't have anything in common with some friends from younger times. When that happens you need to expand your social horizons and build new friendships with people who don't make you feel so awkward.

I have friends across the spectrum when it comes to money management, some are more money-saavy than I am and others less. But we all share a love of the outdoors (hiking, camping, kayaking, skiing, snowshoeing, etc.) As long as they are not a) asking me for money or b) trying to bully me into overspending or c) whining about their finances, I accept the differences and just enjoy sharing experiences with them.

(the fact is, sometimes the spontaneously irresponsible people can be lots of fun to hang out with as long as you keep your boundaries in place)
« Last Edit: May 12, 2012, 07:34:41 AM by Parizade »

catalana

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2012, 02:55:41 PM »
The MMM way has become a big part of my life lately and has moved frugality and finances to the forefront of my daily thinking. Despite the benefits, I wish it weren't so. I don't want frugality and finances to be the lens through which I see the world, how I judge my actions and the actions and attitudes of others. I'm hoping that as the novelty wears off and I get everything in order, it will recede into a more integrated pattern of thinking rather than being so prominent.

Oooo that sounds familiar.  I would love to talk to my wealthier friends about finances, but they're a pretty private bunch, and the one time I tried to bring up the topic of investing, looked at me like I had just grown an extra head ... LOL

smedleyb

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2012, 07:51:17 AM »
Epiphany:  you wanna know how to deal with non-Mustachian friends?  Don't bring up Mustachian principles, unless you wish to be ridiculed for your lifestyle, which obviously precludes "living life in the moment, today, and not deferring living in order to save."

Yes, yes, I know, this line of reasoning is ass backwards.  The living vs. savings dichotomy is bullshit, obviously -- in fact they are two sides of the same coin -- but let's not pretend that we don't live in a society which preaches instant gratification, spending everything you make (and then some), and deferring savings until it's way too late.  In short, although most of us understand each other around these boards, the fact remains that to the 99% (who don't get it, and probably never will) we're just a bunch of fucking weirdos/cheapskates/aliens in the way we structure our finances/lives with FI as the destination and hard work/honesty as the means of achieving it.


 

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2012, 08:24:35 AM »
Epiphany:  you wanna know how to deal with non-Mustachian friends?  Don't bring up Mustachian principles, unless you wish to be ridiculed for your lifestyle...

Give the man a cookie. We find the problem isn't moving away from old friends, but trying to make new ones. We don't live middle class, we don't try to look or act middle class, and personally I don't give a rat's ass about trying to fit in with the middle class in any way. In the eyes of those around you this does not make you special... it makes you a freak.

grantmeaname

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2012, 09:05:11 AM »
If you want to define yourself and the people you're making friends with as only by consumption, either Mustachian or middle class, then of course it's going to seem like there's too much different and not enough in common. But consumption of consumer products isn't your whole life, and it isn't their whole life either. There's no reason you can't let homebrewing or gardening or car restoration or computer building be enough to cement a friendship. If you actually try and like the people you're spending your time with based on your commonalities, you might find it's not so hard to get along.

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2012, 08:08:00 AM »
Epiphany:  "living life in the moment...

"Not learning from your mistakes is the ultimate sign of living in the moment"

Sometimes its ok to be ridiculed though, isn't it?

2handband

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2012, 08:20:23 AM »
If you want to define yourself and the people you're making friends with as only by consumption, either Mustachian or middle class, then of course it's going to seem like there's too much different and not enough in common. But consumption of consumer products isn't your whole life, and it isn't their whole life either. There's no reason you can't let homebrewing or gardening or car restoration or computer building be enough to cement a friendship. If you actually try and like the people you're spending your time with based on your commonalities, you might find it's not so hard to get along.

In my experience it's more difficult than that. When dealing with the average American, I've found that if you don't watch television, rarely see movies, don't play video games, haven't tried out the latest restaurant, and have no idea what the hottest celebrities are up to you literally have nothing to talk about.

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2012, 08:27:30 AM »
In my experience it's more difficult than that. When dealing with the average American, I've found that if you don't watch television, rarely see movies, don't play video games, haven't tried out the latest restaurant, and have no idea what the hottest celebrities are up to you literally have nothing to talk about.

Maybe, with a rare few.  With most?  I wouldn't think so.  How are you leading?  Are you leading with scoffing at them spending over $500/mo., or having a job?  Or are you genuinely interested in who they are and what they do?

I don't watch TV, rarely see movies, don't play video games, haven't tried the latest restaurant, and my response is generally "who?" when a celebrity is mentioned.  But I have no trouble chatting with people.

Although you have mentioned that you are in quite a small town.  Do most people there already know you?  Maybe that's part of the issue.
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BenDarDunDat

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2012, 08:53:46 AM »
I've been pretty mustachian since long before I knew I was mustachian.  My wife not so much but in the last few years has become much more frugal in her spending.  I introduced her to MMM about 4 months ago shortly after I started reading the blog and she instantly recognized that this is what she had been moving towards without realizing it.  The biggest issue we have these days is our friends.  We have 4 couples that we're pretty close to.   

I had a brief stint with veganism when I was younger. By stint, I mean going really fucking nuts over it. I'd tell my friends about the cruelty their food choices caused. I'd give waitstaff a throughout going over about ingredients. I found my new lifestyle...limiting. Having less friends. Less fun. Driving an hour each way to buy vegan veggie stuff. The websites I read went on and on about how my lifestyle would result in a longer life.

One day it hit me. I don't want a longer life like this. It's a pain in the ass.

So, what I'm saying is that you can't compete with 1,000 different mustaches. Someone is always going to have a bigger mustache than you. Let your friends be your friends.  If you want new friends, go find some. Real friends...not some internet fraud like me.

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2012, 08:57:03 AM »
"But as sad as it makes me, it's not my problem.  It's quite liberating to breath deeply and repeat, it's not my problem.  It's not my problem.  It's not my problem."

Thanks for this, twopups.  In our case, it's not friends, but our grown children.  One out of four is mustachian, the other three tend to spend everything they have and then some.  Total bailout cost to us over the years is about $60,000.  But when it's your kids and grandkids, and you get notice that "I have to have $1,500 by 3 PM today or we are out in the street" including 5 grandchildren, what are you going to do?  Another time, we paid $400 a week for an ankle bracelet and monitoring so the shack-in-law could be home with the kids and our son could go to work.  It was cheaper than paying for babysitting for the crew of grandchildren.

Anyways, we've slowly weaned them all off of Bank of Dad dependencies and "loans" never to be paid back.  Still, they behave in such a way, that I too must use a mantra such as "It's not my problem It's not my problem!"

grantmeaname

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2012, 09:00:12 AM »
In my experience it's more difficult than that. When dealing with the average American, I've found that if you don't watch television, rarely see movies, don't play video games, haven't tried out the latest restaurant, and have no idea what the hottest celebrities are up to you literally have nothing to talk about.
I think you're stereotyping here. Maybe the "average american" is like that, but I haven't met a single person without some interests outside of the four things you brought up. Yes, sports and celebrities are big topics, but that's because they're the lowest common denominator, a topic almost everyone can weigh in on. You can choose to talk about other things if you so choose. Not everyone is going to care about guitar or gardening, so they're not exactly default conversation choices, but that doesn't mean you can't talk about them and find plenty of others who are interested.

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2012, 09:12:03 AM »
In my experience it's more difficult than that. When dealing with the average American, I've found that if you don't watch television, rarely see movies, don't play video games, haven't tried out the latest restaurant, and have no idea what the hottest celebrities are up to you literally have nothing to talk about.

Maybe, with a rare few.  With most?  I wouldn't think so.  How are you leading?  Are you leading with scoffing at them spending over $500/mo., or having a job?  Or are you genuinely interested in who they are and what they do?

I don't watch TV, rarely see movies, don't play video games, haven't tried the latest restaurant, and my response is generally "who?" when a celebrity is mentioned.  But I have no trouble chatting with people.

Although you have mentioned that you are in quite a small town.  Do most people there already know you?  Maybe that's part of the issue.

I'm talking beyond casual conversation. I can chat with folks all day and frequently do (in my line of work you're always meeting new people), but making deeper connections tends to be a bit harder. It's always one of two things: the first and most likely being that as soon as people start to grasp that you live a very non-mainstream lifestyle they have a tendency to back away in a hurry, the second being that you really do run out of things to say when you're dealing with people whose entire life consists of work, TV, and Facebook. They start talking about the characters in whatever the latest sitcom is, my eyes start to glaze over. I start talking about gardening with perennials, their eyes start to glaze over.

Another problem (and one that's kinda funny, really) is that our lifestyle makes people angry. Outside of internet chat forums like these where I can obviously be a bit freer, I tend to even avoid talking about it because of this.  Seriously, if you say you don't have a job they start commiserating with you about the tough economy. If you let slip that you don't WANT a job well dammit, you're everything that's wrong with society. Why? Because at the end of the day, their high-stress labor-intensive lifestyle is making them miserable, and they can't bear the idea that somebody has just decided to skip the whole damn thing and go fishing whenever he wants.

And yes, of course in a town this size I'm known to a lot of people, especially because I play in two relatively high-profile local bands. And a lot of those people know that I don't work. Living in a small city in the conservative upper midwest and not holding down a full-time job is not   always conductive to friendly relations with the natives. You basically get two kinds of people: one is the kind that thinks you're cool and weird, sort of like a nifty anthropological exhibit. They like you, but they're not gonna let you get too close. The other kind thinks you're some kind of dangerous terrorist. I have one aunt who won't let me near her kids; seems happy minimal employment is a dangerous example for the children.

BenDarDunDat

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2012, 09:43:45 AM »
"But as sad as it makes me, it's not my problem.  It's quite liberating to breath deeply and repeat, it's not my problem.  It's not my problem.  It's not my problem."

Thanks for this, twopups.  In our case, it's not friends, but our grown children.  One out of four is mustachian, the other three tend to spend everything they have and then some.  Total bailout cost to us over the years is about $60,000.  But when it's your kids and grandkids, and you get notice that "I have to have $1,500 by 3 PM today or we are out in the street" including 5 grandchildren, what are you going to do?  Another time, we paid $400 a week for an ankle bracelet and monitoring so the shack-in-law could be home with the kids and our son could go to work.  It was cheaper than paying for babysitting for the crew of grandchildren.

Anyways, we've slowly weaned them all off of Bank of Dad dependencies and "loans" never to be paid back.  Still, they behave in such a way, that I too must use a mantra such as "It's not my problem It's not my problem!"

Oh man. I can deal with friends making mistakes...it's their life.  But family...especially kids and parents. That's a whole different ballgame.

BenDarDunDat

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2012, 09:54:51 AM »
In my experience it's more difficult than that. When dealing with the average American, I've found that if you don't watch television, rarely see movies, don't play video games, haven't tried out the latest restaurant, and have no idea what the hottest celebrities are up to you literally have nothing to talk about.

Maybe, with a rare few.  With most?  I wouldn't think so.  How are you leading?  Are you leading with scoffing at them spending over $500/mo., or having a job?  Or are you genuinely interested in who they are and what they do?

I don't watch TV, rarely see movies, don't play video games, haven't tried the latest restaurant, and my response is generally "who?" when a celebrity is mentioned.  But I have no trouble chatting with people.

Although you have mentioned that you are in quite a small town.  Do most people there already know you?  Maybe that's part of the issue.

I'm talking beyond casual conversation. I can chat with folks all day and frequently do (in my line of work you're always meeting new people), but making deeper connections tends to be a bit harder. It's always one of two things: the first and most likely being that as soon as people start to grasp that you live a very non-mainstream lifestyle they have a tendency to back away in a hurry, the second being that you really do run out of things to say when you're dealing with people whose entire life consists of work, TV, and Facebook. They start talking about the characters in whatever the latest sitcom is, my eyes start to glaze over. I start talking about gardening with perennials, their eyes start to glaze over.

Another problem (and one that's kinda funny, really) is that our lifestyle makes people angry. Outside of internet chat forums like these where I can obviously be a bit freer, I tend to even avoid talking about it because of this.  Seriously, if you say you don't have a job they start commiserating with you about the tough economy. If you let slip that you don't WANT a job well dammit, you're everything that's wrong with society. Why? Because at the end of the day, their high-stress labor-intensive lifestyle is making them miserable, and they can't bear the idea that somebody has just decided to skip the whole damn thing and go fishing whenever he wants.

And yes, of course in a town this size I'm known to a lot of people, especially because I play in two relatively high-profile local bands. And a lot of those people know that I don't work. Living in a small city in the conservative upper midwest and not holding down a full-time job is not   always conductive to friendly relations with the natives. You basically get two kinds of people: one is the kind that thinks you're cool and weird, sort of like a nifty anthropological exhibit. They like you, but they're not gonna let you get too close. The other kind thinks you're some kind of dangerous terrorist. I have one aunt who won't let me near her kids; seems happy minimal employment is a dangerous example for the children.

There are people that would be difficult to find similar interests to talk about. Like you, I have no clue what's happening on American Idol or those Jersey kids. Politics and religion are better left alone. There's still plenty of interest I can find for most folks.  There's gardening, brewing, photography, home repairs, coupons, car repair, ditching cable, computers. Now, I know most of these folks will talk junk about how I dug a trench around my house for termite repair instead of hiring 'a guy'. But you know what...they do listen. It's fucking interesting. A lot more interesting than some TV show.

I'm also a good friend to have. I'll help you fix your shit or give you some homebrew.

gooki

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #29 on: May 21, 2012, 03:23:12 PM »
I have one aunt who won't let me near her kids; seems happy minimal employment is a dangerous example for the children.

That's tragic. Not for you, more so for your Aunt's kids. Diversity is what makes humanity interesting.

AJ

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #30 on: May 21, 2012, 05:20:45 PM »
If you let slip that you don't WANT a job well dammit, you're everything that's wrong with society. Why? Because at the end of the day, their high-stress labor-intensive lifestyle is making them miserable, and they can't bear the idea that somebody has just decided to skip the whole damn thing and go fishing whenever he wants.

IME, there are two perfectly legitimate reasons people get mad at this lifestyle: 1) if you are on government assistance, and therefore your lifestyle choice to go fishing rather than work is negatively affecting other people and/or 2) if you have a child and they don't think you are appropriately providing what that child needs.

As long as you aren't on government assistance and your kid (if any) has food, clothing, a safe place to sleep, and someone to watch them 24/7, then, yeah, they are probably just jealous. Otherwise, they may have a (perhaps somewhat unpalatable) point...

2handband

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #31 on: May 21, 2012, 06:00:04 PM »
I have one aunt who won't let me near her kids; seems happy minimal employment is a dangerous example for the children.

That's tragic. Not for you, more so for your Aunt's kids. Diversity is what makes humanity interesting.

You must understand that my aunt, like most of those around us, is heavily imbued with the Protestant Work Ethic (TM). Possibly the most poisonous notion our ancestors brought to these shores is the notion that Men Must Work. Not for any particular reason, just because that's what humans are supposed to do.  Never mind that 90% of our activities add no real value to anything and damage our landbase, a good man (or woman) works his or her ass off most hours of the day just because that's what they're supposed to do. We build, we develop, we design, we invent. This is, after all, God's purpose, and of course we had to eliminate the lazy bastards who occupied this space to begin with because they weren't fulfilling God's purpose, and their lifestyle used up too much land per capita to allow us to do it.

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IME, there are two perfectly legitimate reasons people get mad at this lifestyle: 1) if you are on government assistance, and therefore your lifestyle choice to go fishing rather than work is negatively affecting other people and/or 2) if you have a child and they don't think you are appropriately providing what that child needs.

As long as you aren't on government assistance and your kid (if any) has food, clothing, a safe place to sleep, and someone to watch them 24/7, then, yeah, they are probably just jealous. Otherwise, they may have a (perhaps somewhat unpalatable) point...

I won't lie... we're on government assistance for health care. Given that the US is the only developed nation on the fucking planet that doesn't have some kind of universal healthcare, I don't feel a damn bit guilty about that. We also get food stamps, but they almost never get used because I grow the vast majority of what we eat. Last I checked our balance was something like $4000. To be honest, I kind of relish the government assistance (especially given the fact that we don't really need it). You see, there's a certain subversiveness about me. I like to think I'm doing my little bit to bleed dry a rotten, life-destroying system that cannot be brought down via direct confrontation. As I said in another thread, I'm something of a radical.

And yes, I have a four-year-old. She has all of the things she needs, and thanks to my skills as a scrounger a lot of the stuff she wants. But you know what's funny? Even at four, she's no materialist. Given the choice between toys and people she'll hang out with people and ignore her toys. I think this is because our lifestyle affords her that choice. My wife's availability has been intermittent due to her illness, but Maiya has had Daddy almost every day since the day she was born. As much Daddy as she wants. Lots of people (notably my daughter's grandparents) think we're somehow underprivileging her by denying her the good life, but exactly what the hell is the good life? Maiya gets to spend ore time with her dad in six months than most kids get in six years. She informed me about a month ago that  she wanted to go fishing every day all summer, which is of course impossible because I gig on weekends. I asked her how four days a week sounds, provided it's not pissing rain... she said fine. So far we've kept that bargain except for the last few days, and that's only because she's out of town with her mom till tomorrow, and anyway i'm laid up with a gimpy foot (which is why I've been posting so much the past couple of days; thank christ i didn't have a show last night). But anyway, who else do you know that can take their kid fishing four days a week AND provide for all of her needs?

Anyway, lots of the people that get mad at the idea haven't the slightest notion whether or not I'm on government assistance, or whether I have a kid. It's the Protestant Work Ethic (TM). But you're right about one thing: the fact that I have a kid pisses them off tremendously when they hear it. Because dammit, a kid needs shiny toys and dance classes more that she needs her father.

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #32 on: May 21, 2012, 08:28:35 PM »
I agree with 2handband about having something in common with random people.

I think the more different you are from average, the more apparent that becomes.

Actually, I never really understood how people could develop lasting friendships with whatever person they just happened to grow up next to or be in the same class with.  It seems like for many people friendship is more by coincidence than having matching values or interests - but maybe that's because so many people have average values and interests that any random person will do.

For that matter (and maybe this marks me as crazy even in this thread) I don't really get why people maintain relationships with family members if they don't have personalities which would make you want to befriend them if you weren't related.  They are just people, with whom you share slightly more DNA than with everyone else.

Maybe many people don't really care if they connect with their friends in any meaningful intellectual or emotional way.  Its just about having company.
Trying to find people you connect with on a meaningful level becomes harder the further outside of mainstream you are.  Especially in a small town.

But you know where you can find people who see the world the same as you?
Thats right.  The internet.  Right here on the money-mustache board.

Daley

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #33 on: May 21, 2012, 10:31:51 PM »
We also get food stamps, but they almost never get used because I grow the vast majority of what we eat. Last I checked our balance was something like $4000. To be honest, I kind of relish the government assistance (especially given the fact that we don't really need it). You see, there's a certain subversiveness about me. I like to think I'm doing my little bit to bleed dry a rotten, life-destroying system that cannot be brought down via direct confrontation. As I said in another thread, I'm something of a radical.

If you don't need the food stamps, why are you even collecting them... because you can? Because you think you're "sticking it to the man" or something? If you insist on collecting them and have built that sort of unneeded balance, why don't you be a real rebel and break the law by using them to buy some food for *gasp* other people and the local food pantries to help feed those in genuine need who could actually use it?

Mustachianism and financial independence is partially about social and personal responsibility. You're not hurting the system doing this, you're abusing the very people that the system was set up and intended to help by making it more difficult for the needy who genuinely need that assistance to get it. It's possible to be a radical subversive without being a dillweed.

2handband

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #34 on: May 22, 2012, 06:00:03 AM »
We also get food stamps, but they almost never get used because I grow the vast majority of what we eat. Last I checked our balance was something like $4000. To be honest, I kind of relish the government assistance (especially given the fact that we don't really need it). You see, there's a certain subversiveness about me. I like to think I'm doing my little bit to bleed dry a rotten, life-destroying system that cannot be brought down via direct confrontation. As I said in another thread, I'm something of a radical.

If you don't need the food stamps, why are you even collecting them... because you can? Because you think you're "sticking it to the man" or something? If you insist on collecting them and have built that sort of unneeded balance, why don't you be a real rebel and break the law by using them to buy some food for *gasp* other people and the local food pantries to help feed those in genuine need who could actually use it?

Mustachianism and financial independence is partially about social and personal responsibility. You're not hurting the system doing this, you're abusing the very people that the system was set up and intended to help by making it more difficult for the needy who genuinely need that assistance to get it. It's possible to be a radical subversive without being a dillweed.

Actually, we DO use the food stamps to buy food for people that need it. There are several people we know that are in trouble but for whatever reason don't qualify, and we buy them food on a regular basis. The shit still stacks up. Because we're a family of three and our reported income only comes to maybe $500 a month (I get paid under the table for a lot of stuff), we get a lot of money in food stamps. Buying stuff for the food shelf is an idea that has simply never occurred to me, thank you.

skyrefuge

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #35 on: May 22, 2012, 08:23:55 AM »
For that matter (and maybe this marks me as crazy even in this thread) I don't really get why people maintain relationships with family members if they don't have personalities which would make you want to befriend them if you weren't related.  They are just people, with whom you share slightly more DNA than with everyone else.

ha, yeah, I tend to agree with you on that (though that probably just marks us both crazy).  I think it might have something to do with how independent your personality is.  I'm totally happy being by myself, so I have the "luxury" of being very picky about my relationships.  But I feel that I'm quite rare among mankind, and most people feel a need for a higher number of social connections, so they're willing to accept and maintain such connections even if the quality of the connection is very low.  Add in the traditional nature of families/tribes/bloodlines, and then it essentially becomes a default place to go for those connections.

To the OP, my main thought was that he really just doesn't like his friends that much (and it has very little to do with their non-mustachian nature, and more that they're just dumb), so why continue to force the relationship?  I've noticed that many people feel like they have a "Friend Contract" that they signed in the early days of their acquaintance that requires them to remain friends in perpetuity, long after the relationship has stopped providing value.  But nobody has any such contract!  You won't be sued in Friend Court for breach-of-contract if you let the relationship fade away.

Of course this is harder to do amongst family, where the contracts are still (mostly!) unwritten, but may exist in a more tangible way than they do for non-family relationships.

Daley

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Re: Dealing with non mustachian friends
« Reply #36 on: May 22, 2012, 09:40:52 AM »
Actually, we DO use the food stamps to buy food for people that need it. There are several people we know that are in trouble but for whatever reason don't qualify, and we buy them food on a regular basis. The shit still stacks up. Because we're a family of three and our reported income only comes to maybe $500 a month (I get paid under the table for a lot of stuff), we get a lot of money in food stamps. Buying stuff for the food shelf is an idea that has simply never occurred to me, thank you.

That's somewhat of a relief to hear, 2hand, my sincere apologies for being abrasive in that reply. I still don't agree with your approach, but that's not a discussion for here.