I have a friend, who I’ll call X, who’s in an even bigger financial hole than we are. She and her husband consistently finish the month more than â‚¬1000 overdrawn in their accounts. What’s worse is her feeling of helplessness. She has abandoned most efforts to get their debt under control, rationalizing ‘Well, what’s another â‚¬20 here or there’.
In some ways, and I cringe as I write this, it’s nice to have someone to whom I can feel superior: ‘Hey, look at me! I’m getting my act together and you’re not!’. But for better or for worse, she and her husband have become one of the models by which my husband and I judge our own behavior. We think ‘Is this something that X and Y would do?’. Talking about their situation has helped us to brainstorm solutions for our own life. Comparing ourselves to them has helped us to put ourselves back on track.
I try to help my friend X. I send her relevant posts from my favorite blogs, especially Lynnae’s, as X is also a Christian. I’ve introduced her to my budgeting system. I’ve told her about my price book system. I’ve tried to help her brainstorm additional income strategies.
But the truth is you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help theirself. I’ve put my help out there; she knows I’m here for her. But until she herself wants to change, nothing I do or say will do a thing.