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Old 04-26-2010, 10:10 AM   #21
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I usually try to stay away from marital problems. If voicing an opinion, I usually persuade people to reconcile and to work it out.

When it comes to money matters, the husband of my wife's sister wanted to buy a second home in San Diego so badly, right at the top of the market. I reminded him of the past housing bubbles to no avail. From near $400K for a 2-bedroom town house, the price is now down to a little above $200K.

Another cousin of my wife bought a house in Phoenix, also paying around $350K. They couldn't afford it, and it is now on short sales for $80K, and there is no taker.

We warned them when they asked us for our opinion, which they discarded anyway because it did not reaffirm what they thought. But it's their money to do as they wish. I tried hard to not say "I told you so" now.

PS. Our philosophy is like that of some earlier posters. If it is morally or ethically or stupidly wrong, we feel we need to tell people once. If they do not listen, we would try to disassociate ourselves from their actions. For other matters, we would speak our mind when asked, such as the RE deals above. But if they do not listen to us, heck, we do not take it personally. It's their money and their life after all.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:11 AM   #22
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I have enough problems of my own and generally don't have the time/inclination to get involved in other peoples stuff. I try to set a good example to my family, and will help with advice if asked. I will always listen to my family, even if I don't take their advice.

It is hard to learn to "let things go" when there is no chance of me helping/fixing the situation.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:17 AM   #23
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I see your point, but I guess that giving advice has never worked out for me. "If you're so smart, how come you aint rich?" (This is not directed at you, it's just my thought process when tempted to speak up other than very indirectly.)

Hey, don't get me wrong... it doesn't always work out for me either... and it is funny to hear your 'suggestion' after it has been filtered through a couple of other relatives and gets back to you...

As an example... a LONG time ago my neice and her husband asked me about buying a mobile home. I said it was not a great idea as they lose value etc. etc... well, they did not buy one... but a number of years later my sister was telling me that my neice had told her I had said 'it was a good idea'... hmmmm... how did that happen She heard what she wanted to hear... because I did say it might be a good idea if you were going to be buying land and could not afford a real house yet... that you could live there etc. etc... and this land deal was so good that you did not want to pass it up... and this was to a specific question about the land...
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:21 AM   #24
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DD, on the other hand, gets an earful on a regular basis. I'm trying to back off, and as a result she seems to be listening a bit more. Or maybe just finally growing up. Time will tell.
I'm having that problem right now too. I've learned that my opinion is not wanted at all. It's very hard biting the tongue all the time...it's sore.

I'm pretty much not speaking with her right now unless she speaks to me first.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:45 AM   #25
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Thanks for that post, Ha, I always appreciate your stories.

One of my co-workers was clearly alcoholic. I said to her, “of course, you don’t have a drinking problem.” She went ballistic, “yes, I do!” Never knew the whole story.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:49 AM   #26
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One of my co-workers was clearly alcoholic. I said to her, “of course, you don’t have a drinking problem.” She went ballistic, “yes, I do!”
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Old 04-26-2010, 11:02 AM   #27
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A lot of these replies reaffirm that sometimes the hardest thing to do is to not interfere.
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Old 04-26-2010, 11:22 AM   #28
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In most cases I'd find it difficult to live with the knowledge that my deliberate lack of action allowed a situation to get worse. I don't think I'd jump into something involving total strangers where I probably don't know the whole picture. But with friends, where someone's tried to tell me the whole story, I'd feel obligated to ask questions... even if they're just "Really? And how's that workin' for ya?"

I think the approach makes a big difference, too. It's probably not very productive to start out with "You must be nuts to think you can make that work" or "I'd do it this way" or "Girlfriend, you are so DENIED". However I think it's acceptably non-confrontational to ask "I'm curious about tackling that challenge; how are you handling the statistic that 90% of those plans fail within the first year?" or "Gosh, I'd be really worried about losing my house if I didn't have a Plan B for coping with events outside of my control."

In our house the shorthand version of that conversation is "Great idea. What's your plan?" or "Great idea... but no plan. Hmmm."

If it was also a situation with a fear that more involvement would potentially ruin a relationship, then perhaps the relationship was already on shaky grounds. A real relationship could handle a few rocky passages like this, and ideally would grow stronger.

I'd have no problem separating a drunk from his car keys. No tolerance for the results of that situation.
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Old 04-26-2010, 12:21 PM   #29
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Hard to know what the cue is to offer advice. There seems to be a fine line between caring and the need to interject. If asked I'd stress that my opinions are based on limited knowledge of all that is involved and try to give support and offer my best advice.

It seems very easy to get involved at some superficial level where just a quick piece of advice makes us feel good for a moment, but quite another to say, "brother, lean on me for a bit and let's see if I am able to help you." And actually put in the effort to make a difference in the other person's struggles.

Take a drunk's keys and the road is safe from him that night, cure a drunk's addiction and the road is safe from him forever. One is easy, the other hard.
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Old 04-26-2010, 12:24 PM   #30
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Good post, Ha. As for physically taking the keys from a drunk, it's a tough question. How would you have felt if he'd killed someone on the way home?

A year or two back, I gave my sister the book Younger Next Year. Every time I see her, she tells me how grateful she is and how it's changed her life. So, people do change. Of course she's screwed now, because I have license to work on her other faults.
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Old 04-26-2010, 12:43 PM   #31
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Such an interesting post. I have a hard time butting out I have a small group of long time friends who I love dearly and I feel so invested in their problems - but I have been working hard on having better boundaries and stepping out a lot sooner.

Heck, I found this board after a friend was given crappy investment advice and decided to take the bait - I ended up learning a lot more than her but we did go a few rounds of disagreement before I dropped it.

And with the grown up kid - man is that the question I ask myself daily. I've found giving advice is often wasted so I try to not share anymore - but sometimes he steps in the doo doo so bad - I have to ask him if he can smell it... and he keeps giving me positive reinforcement by improving after the lectures... if he'd only ignore the lectures then he would stop getting those (they are often more like loud rants).

It's often hard to switch on and off since one of my roles at work is to give advice and coaching - it's highly valued there, but not so much with familiy and friends!!
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Old 04-26-2010, 01:20 PM   #32
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This is really tough. It seems like all of us want to respect boundaries.

I have been part of a successful drug/alcohol intervention with the person now clean and sober for 25 years.

I unsuccessfully tried to get someone to leave her spouse. We all knew something was not right with him. Should have tried harder. Turned out the spouse was abusing the kids, resulting in the suicide of one of the children.

Since that occurred I am far more likely to say exactly what I think.
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Old 04-26-2010, 01:21 PM   #33
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I gave up on giving advice years ago . It is usually not appreciated and sometimes seems like meddling . When my daughter got married I decided to zip it and never be a pushy MIL . This has worked great now I wish someone would tell her I dont need advice on how to run my life .
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Old 04-26-2010, 02:50 PM   #34
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I unsuccessfully tried to get someone to leave her spouse. We all knew something was not right with him. Should have tried harder. Turned out the spouse was abusing the kids, resulting in the suicide of one of the children.

Since that occurred I am far more likely to say exactly what I think.
Most of us have not been in that situation. However, if it appears that child abuse is involved, same as many people here, I would have no qualm about calling the police.
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Old 04-26-2010, 03:19 PM   #35
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Good post, Ha. As for physically taking the keys from a drunk, it's a tough question. How would you have felt if he'd killed someone on the way home?
Or himself- bad either way. I just don't like physical confrontations, so I have kind of an autopilot stay away reaction. Also, I hadn't been around him much as we lived many states apart and I really didn't have a protocol ready to call on.

After Laurence and your comments, I think I might give it a shot, if I thought it would't likely involve me in a fight.

Ha
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Old 04-26-2010, 03:52 PM   #36
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How far? I go ALL THE WAY. But only with people I care: My children, my brothers, sisters and their family.

Of course I don't even dare to give advice (let alone interfering) about something I don't know. But when I do and I feel that they are going down the wrong path, I step in whether they ask for help or not. I'd rather be hated by some of them. But doing so I can sleep at night, I can have respect for myself. Unfortunately, I have been right more than wrong. Unfortunately, some of my "forceful" advices were not followed. When the disastrous outcomes materialize, I was able to smile knowing that I did my best.

Obviously I want to be loved, but not for the wrong reason.
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Old 04-26-2010, 04:00 PM   #37
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Or himself- bad either way. I just don't like physical confrontations, so I have kind of an autopilot stay away reaction. Also, I hadn't been around him much as we lived many states apart and I really didn't have a protocol ready to call on.

After Laurence and your comments, I think I might give it a shot, if I thought it would't likely involve me in a fight.

Ha
Yes... the last statement if the telling one.... Back in high school... they took the keys from someone who was drunk... but all it started was a fight as he though he was 'just fine' to drive... and he was bigger and stronger than the one who took the keys, so even drunk he could kick your a$$.... nobody tried to do it a second time....
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Old 04-26-2010, 04:00 PM   #38
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Most of us have not been in that situation. However, if it appears that child abuse is involved, same as many people here, I would have no qualm about calling the police.

I had no idea that child abuse was involved. I just knew that the guy was a controlling ass. Children are very good at covering up abuse.
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Old 04-26-2010, 04:37 PM   #39
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I'm having that problem right now too. I've learned that my opinion is not wanted at all. It's very hard biting the tongue all the time...it's sore.

I'm pretty much not speaking with her right now unless she speaks to me first.
Even though I have a very close relationship with my parents, it took me almost 50 years to realize they know a thing or two. As a matter of fact, I listen to them now more than I ever have.

Hang in there....
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Old 04-26-2010, 05:17 PM   #40
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Seems like there is a tendency to assume our advice is/was "good stuff" and would have been the saving grace for that poor less intelligent soul. In my case the example was 40 years ago when I vehemently warned my mom not to re-marry, that the bum she was dating was riff-raff and just after her money.

Well they were married against all "my" good judgment and after 30 years he did exactly what I had warned, broke her heart. He callously had a heart attack and left her a widow.

See, I was right. She still refuses to admit I was right and for some unknown reason she defends him as the love of her life. Go figure. I know I couldn't have been wrong, I'm never wrong, never.
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