Filed under: Comment
Once upon a time, I lent a friend some money.
It wasn’t a huge amount, but it was enough to be noticed and felt.
The friend was going through a lot of troubles at the time so I was very happy to do it.
Time passed and nothing was mentioned.
Nothing at all.
But thanks to the power of social media, I was able to see that the lifestyle they were leading didn’t really demonstrate any level of sacrifice.
They all were maintained even though the money they borrowed – and it was very clearly a loan, not a gift – was never returned.
I must admit this led to a lot of animosity from me.
Especially when I saw they were enjoying vacations that far exceeded anything I had ever had both in terms of location and duration.
But this is not about my choice of friend, this is about priorities and perspective.
You see, I know my friend would never want to upset me.
If I was to ask him any of the following questions – prior to this situation – I know they would have answered with an emphatic “no”:
+ Would you ever knowingly want to upset a friend?
+ Would you ever borrow money from a friend and never pay them back?
+ Would you ever want to show you are not worthy of being trusted?
And this is what’s fascinating … because as much as I genuinely believe they would mean it when they said it, when they found themselves in their situation, they did the complete opposite.
Of course they wouldn’t see it that way.
Instead of viewing their behaviour as ‘unfair, selfish or uncaring’, they would regard it as simply ‘doing what their family needed’.
Of course, if they were using the money to pay their rent or put food on the table, I doubt there’d be a single person in the World that would challenge that … but in my friends case, it appears ‘what their family needed’ was to maintain a lifestyle they felt they were entitled to, either because that’s how they were raised or how they used to live.
In other words, they would argue: how can it be unfair when all we’re doing is maintaining our normal standards?
Which gets to the heart of what I’m trying to say in this post.
Regardless what we may think is ‘convention’ … regardless what people may say ‘they would do’ when faced with certain circumstances … when faced with the realities of hypothesis, people’s choices and decisions end up being far more heavily influenced/justified by self-interest – whether they’re conscious of that or not – so if you blindly make plans based purely on what people say ‘will happen’, then you have to prepare yourself for the potential of disappointment.
Remember that next time you’re in a focus group.
38 Comments so far
Leave a comment