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Old 10-29-06, 11:10 PM   #1
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How do you motivate someone?

I have a good friend who I grew up with who is doing nothing with his life. He's 38, unemployed for the last five years, lives at home with his parents. Just reading that most people would say he is a big looser. Thing is, he's a smart guy. He has a degree in Business from a very good University. Back in the 90's during the dot.com boom he had a very good paying job, things were going well. We used to play golf and go to the gym together, we would go on vacation with our girlfriends together... Well when the whole dot.com boom ended he was laid off . He took a little time off before looking for a new job and thought he would find a new job that payed as well as his old one, but that didn't happen so he got depressed. Now five years later he doesn't even send out resumes any more, he just sits around doing nothing. He doesn't exercise anymore, he just doesn't do anything. People have tried to help. His Brother in law offered him a job as a controller, his girlfriend has offered him a job with her company, I've offered him a job with my company doing construction part time. He thinks all these jobs are beneath him and something better will come along. The thing that really pisses my off is his parents just let him stay there and don't say anything, and his girlfriend who he's been dating for over ten years, and who wants to get married and start a family doesn't say anything either. I've been trying to motivate him to get off his ass, but I've had no luck and I am ready to give up on my old friend. What would you do?
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Old 10-30-06, 12:03 AM   #2
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You don't. It sounds like this guy has deeper problems and if his girlfriend and relatives can't get him going, there's probably nothing you're going to be able to do. You can either maintain the status quo or put some distance between yourselves for a little while.
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Old 10-30-06, 04:29 AM   #3
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Talk to him. Find out what his issues are exactly. Find out what he would like to do and then try to persuade him into a job etc that will eventually give him the ability to do what it is that he's been dreaming about. He's gotta be dreaming bout something ..5 years is a lotta time to not think.
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Old 10-30-06, 04:39 AM   #4
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you don't. It has to come from within.
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Old 10-30-06, 04:43 AM   #5
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Why are people so caught up in 'helping' others with the 'shortcomings' in their lives?
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Old 10-30-06, 04:54 AM   #6
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I think that's our job. If everyone were to just stop caring about other peoples lives I believe that everyone would soon stop caring about their own. From the moment of birth we rely on other people to care for us ...that never really changes.

We may as well stop our children from attending school
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Old 10-30-06, 04:56 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by blonduathlongrl
you don't. It has to come from within.
was just about to type this but didnt have too. his journey is precisely that - his journey.

the REAL issue here is with YOU. why would you walk away from a 'friend' just because they dont seem to fit in with what you deem is 'right' for them. I know you mean well but your job is just to be a good friend through thick and thin. if your serious about being a long term part of his life as a mate then find a way to relate to him while he is going through this phase of his life.

this is definately not about him. its about you.
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Old 10-30-06, 04:58 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by sunofsand
I think that's our job. If everyone were to just stop caring about other peoples lives I believe that everyone would soon stop caring about their own. From the moment of birth we rely on other people to care for us ...that never really changes.

We may as well stop our children from attending school
'caring' is 'accepting' not 'imposing'.

hence the reason religion is the domain of the primative mind. but lets not go down that road...
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Old 10-30-06, 04:59 AM   #9
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Sorry mate, it's not "our job". From my own personal experience the people inclined to 'help' the most are the ones with the most personal issues they need to resolve.

'Our job' is to care, to be a friend, to listen and support when asked. 'Our job' is not to interfere.

You child analogy misses the mark completely.
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Old 10-30-06, 05:24 AM   #10
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To be a friend is to interfere.
If caring is to accept things
Why do we give to charity? Why save a starving child by giving some warm food and water? That's changing the natural progression of their life, isn't it?
Interfering.
We school our children because we know that a community needs skills in order for it to survive. We don't simply let a child grow and hope for the best ...we interfere with that life. We shape their mind the way we believe is best. We teach empathy by showing it. Did your parents stare into space when you got hurt?
There is no reason to wait to be asked to lend a hand to someone obviously needing it. When someone falls in front of you do you pass or help them up? Do you smile at a homeless person and give a quick hello? Do you show respect?
People learn what they see. If society didn't care about those down on their luck or those that are ill or whatever else
What happens to those perfectly healthy and wealthy peoples when they get old? Not many can say at the time of their death that they never needed anyone.
A friend would certainly never allow a friend to simply jump off a bridge
..they would involve themselves in their life and choices. That's what living a good life is all about if you ask me ..caring for others.

Besides, I never mentioned anything regarding some use of force
I said to persuade. Reason. Whatever you wish to call it.

I'm no believer in religion.
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Old 10-30-06, 05:31 AM   #11
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Old 10-30-06, 05:44 AM   #12
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There is no reason to wait to be asked to lend a hand to someone obviously needing it.
...and this is where the mistake is made. please dont use extremes to build an argument - its well childish quite frankly. lets not get side tracked and bring it back to your comment above in the 'context' of the OP.

There is NO evidence this guy is 'obviously in need' other than from the perspective of his friend. life ebbs and flows - the guy in question may be thinking of a fabulous book to write while sitting on the couch - the possibilities are endless. if he was drinking heavily and abusing others around him then it might be a different story.

if i must be drawn into your over simplfied analogy then let me ask you this - when do children learn their most valuable lessons? often its when they make mistakes all on their own. they learn pretty damn quick. how many times does you mum tell you not to touch a hotplate? 10 million times. do you 'learn'? NO. when do you learn? when you ignore her and go and put you hand down on the hotplate and end up crying for hours on end. Lesson learnt for LIFE.

hows that for some oversimplification
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Old 10-30-06, 06:03 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by ecnetsixe
...and this is where the mistake is made. please dont use extremes to build an argument - its well childish quite frankly. lets not get side tracked and bring it back to your comment above in the 'context' of the OP.

There is NO evidence this guy is 'obviously in need' other than from the perspective of his friend. life ebbs and flows - the guy in question may be thinking of a fabulous book to write while sitting on the couch - the possibilities are endless. if he was drinking heavily and abusing others around him then it might be a different story.

if i must be drawn into your over simplfied analogy then let me ask you this - when do children learn their most valuable lessons? often its when they make mistakes all on their own. they learn pretty damn quick. how many times does you mum tell you not to touch a hotplate? 10 million times. do you 'learn'? NO. when do you learn? when you ignore her and go and put you hand down on the hotplate and end up crying for hours on end. Lesson learnt for LIFE.

hows that for some oversimplification
If you want to help him, find out what his passion is...then help him acheive that dream a step at a time. The thing is, you also have to understand he may be perfectly happy to stay with the status quo. It may simply be failure to launch. He may be perfectly happy with abdication of responsibility for his life.

One more point...be aware that you are potentially setting yourself up for being the next person in a line of crutches.
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Old 10-30-06, 06:09 AM   #14
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"There is NO evidence this guy is 'obviously in need' other than from the perspective of his friend"
Who else would know better? You don't know when your friends are in trouble? What do you wait for exactly? The trip to the hospital? I'm inclined to believe the guy who cares enough to ask such a question that there is indeed something wrong. He has seen him in better times.
Also, it was a short post. How great would it be for all of us to simply reply that nothing should be done or instead attacking him personally ..keeping him/her from posting again with additional info that could point to those very things that would be considered as "evidence"
Then what happens? Some guy who was caring turns away from others for help in helping his friend
and that friend in need never receives the attention that they MAY in fact need.
That's a great way to view the world. Only go so far. Keep distance. Don't worry. Don't assume anything could be wrong till it's obvious that there was.

"life ebbs and flows"
Yeah, well
life don't move nowhere when you're warming the couch.

"the guy in question may be thinking of a fabulous book to write while sitting on the couch - the possibilities are endless."
Sure. Why do you think I would ask my friend in that particular situation what he's been thinking of lately -for the past 5 years? I would try and understand where he is coming from. What -if anything- is wrong.

"when do children learn their most valuable lessons?"
What is most valuable? Learning that touching something hot can burn you
or finding out why another seems to be in the dumps AND possibly helping them out of it? Both are important but which is of greater importance to a community in general
Anyway, how is this guy that seems to have not moved for the past 5 years going to learn anything in order to help himself?
The problem here with this persons friend is that he doesn't seem to care. If he truly doesn't care
He isn't likely to go and touch that proverbial hotplate.
This poster is asking us how we would go about getting him to
become active
to go out and get burnt
to do SOMETHING
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Old 10-30-06, 06:17 AM   #15
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i think its good you have a different opinion. you make a valid point that its better if there is a variety of responses to his problem rather than everyone saying dont do anything.

personally i dont like anything you have had to say at all but thats not to say you arent correct!!
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Old 10-30-06, 06:39 AM   #16
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Self-motivation is what will bring this guy out of whatever funk he may be in. I don't deny that.
Some need help to see what there is to be hopeful for, though.


and just so you know
not that it matters any to you
but the only thing you said which I would have said myself

is that you don't simply walk away from friends
There is something for another thread...
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Old 10-30-06, 06:48 AM   #17
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Haha.
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Old 10-30-06, 10:30 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Stacey
Why are people so caught up in 'helping' others with the 'shortcomings' in their lives?
+1

Maybe he doesn't want a new SUV and/or house in the suburbs complete with a mortgage. You didn't describe any real harmful behaviors other than him just not being motivated. Look, he's 38 years old and not contributing much to society. I can see why you have a problem with that. We all do, when we are out pulling our share every day and you see people who aren't you think they are doing "wrong."

I don't really think so. He is getting what he is asking for. His parents are obviously ok with him living there and if they want to support him that is there choice. But this notion that he needs to go do something to satisfy you or anyone else, is wrong.

It's his life, and as long as he isn't harming anyone, then leave him be. I probably wouldn't stay friends with somebody like that, mainly because i wouldn't have anything in common with him.
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Old 10-30-06, 10:44 AM   #19
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Something I noticed: You (the OP) never mentioned if the friend was happy or unhappy with his current situation. Only that you were unhappy with it. If the dude is content with his place in life and his parents don't mind letting him leach, who are you to say he should be doing otherwise? From the info you gave us, he seems content, his parents seem content, and his girlfriend seems content. Seems like the only person who has a problem with the way he is living is you.

[EDIT]

Read your comment below. If he's unhappy that's different. Like Stacey said, he has to want to change. And if people are supporting him in his current life style, he might not want to change. Sometimes you have to be dropped on your ass in order to wake up.

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Old 10-30-06, 10:50 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stacey
Sorry mate, it's not "our job". From my own personal experience the people inclined to 'help' the most are the ones with the most personal issues they need to resolve.

'Our job' is to care, to be a friend, to listen and support when asked. 'Our job' is not to interfere.

You child analogy misses the mark completely.
ohh I would have to agree with this.
when i was in college I was studying to be a social worker ( god knows why, I dont have the patience at all!) and I found out that 95 percent of people studying with me to want to help others were people who had more issues, presonnal issues then most regular people, at the time I was young and battling an issue over getting over the death of my brother... I really can see now that most people who always crave helping others are indeed looking to solve something within themselves.
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Old 10-30-06, 11:04 AM   #21
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ohh I would have to agree with this.
when i was in college I was studying to be a social worker ( god knows why, I dont have the patience at all!) and I found out that 95 percent of people studying with me to want to help others were people who had more issues, presonnal issues then most regular people, at the time I was young and battling an issue over getting over the death of my brother... I really can see now that most people who always crave helping others are indeed looking to solve something within themselves.

That's because helping others--truly helping, not imposing your own will and/or vision--is a great way to resolve your own issues. Charitable work is an excellent way to help you understand that your own problems are not nearly so overwhelming as they may seem at first. Or at least, that's what I've found.
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Old 10-30-06, 11:29 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Portis
+1

Maybe he doesn't want a new SUV and/or house in the suburbs complete with a mortgage. You didn't describe any real harmful behaviors other than him just not being motivated. Look, he's 38 years old and not contributing much to society. I can see why you have a problem with that. We all do, when we are out pulling our share every day and you see people who aren't you think they are doing "wrong."

I don't really think so. He is getting what he is asking for. His parents are obviously ok with him living there and if they want to support him that is there choice. But this notion that he needs to go do something to satisfy you or anyone else, is wrong.

It's his life, and as long as he isn't harming anyone, then leave him be. I probably wouldn't stay friends with somebody like that, mainly because i wouldn't have anything in common with him.
The thing is he's not happy, he's depressed. Before he got laid of he was looking at getting a new BMW, he was also looking at houses. He spends his days onling now looking at boats and cars he wants. He's becoming a miserable old man who sits around hoping things go bad for other people, instead of trying to make happen for himself. He's like a brother to me, I've known him for over 20 years. Everybody has pretty much gotten sick of it and written him off, I'm almost to that point myself but If I can help him get back into the real world and get his life back on track I would like to, and if I can't the so be it.
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Old 10-30-06, 11:36 AM   #23
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Thing is, it's like quitting drugs or smoking... they have to want to effect the change themselves. All the wanting in the world won't make it happen. He has to want to.

Letting a person hit bottom is one of the most painful things we can do. Trust me, few people want to effect change without bottoming.
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Old 10-30-06, 11:38 AM   #24
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Sounds like he needs a good drug addiction to put things in perspective
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Old 10-30-06, 11:40 AM   #25
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Hells yeah! I've got some extra meth laying about, I could let him have it on the cheep.
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