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  1. #11
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    balance etc.

    Also, learn from the people you 'rely upon' along the way. Allow them to teach you how to fish.

  2. #12
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Reliance leads to vulnerability. If you are truly reliant, you need some outside source to do or provide something for you; you cannot do it yourself. Should that source cease to be available, you can easily be stuck with no means to provide for yourself. All the same, some measure of reliance on others is usually unavoidable, so this is just another risk of which one must remain aware, and for which one should have contingency plans.

    By contrast, one can enhance one's productivity and impact by pooling resources with differently abled and inclined people. This relates to the idea of opportunity cost mentioned in the OP. The important distinction is that you could do these things for yourself, it is just more efficient and effective to let someone else do them, while you do and share what you do best. I would call this collaboration or cooperation rather than reliance.

    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    Also, learn from the people you 'rely upon' along the way. Allow them to teach you how to fish.
    This is a great way to turn reliance into cooperation.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  3. #13
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    It's a strength.

    That doesn't mean you shouldn't be self-reliant, which I'm a big proponent of. Issue is there are things you suck at that others are good at.

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  4. #14
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    Learned quite a bit about reliance yesterday.

    My car's battery died. A passerby who happened to know more about cars offered his help, and I reluctantly accepted. Not that I don't trust people, but I hate asking for help. I'm stuck on the principle of self-reliance.

    He noticed that I have a 5-speed and taught me an odd method--that someone could push the car, and at the right time, I could pop the clutch and switch the ignition on and the thing would start. He pushed for me, and indeed it (magically, from my perspective) worked.

    Despite knowing that method, I could not have pushed my own car and popped my own clutch at the same time.


    Later on in the day, I heard that a friend-of-a-friend's house had just burned down a day or so ago, husband was in ICU, and so on. I followed my natural instinct, which was to write a check. It made me reflect on my own experience earlier in the day, as petty as it was. I'm also stuck on allowing others to be self-reliant, but expecting someone to pull through a tragedy like that on their own is patently ridiculous.

    In the first case, the guy had knowledge that he could share without much burden to himself, but that helped me to a great degree. In the second, I traded a very, very small bit of stability to help someone out who could benefit much more from it.

  5. #15
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    A halfassed, separate post for a separate but semi-related issue.

    Irresponsibility, man, it really gets my goat. I have a .. erm.. family member who has a habit of getting drunk and having other people drive her home or, worse, calling people at 3am and having them pick her up. This family member has learned not to call me.

    What's the quality or principle that separates this from the above? Is it degree of necessity, self control, enabling, ...? Is there a separation?

  6. #16
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    A halfassed, separate post for a separate but semi-related issue.

    Irresponsibility, man, it really gets my goat. I have a .. erm.. family member who has a habit of getting drunk and having other people drive her home or, worse, calling people at 3am and having them pick her up. This family member has learned not to call me.

    What's the quality or principle that separates this from the above? Is it degree of necessity, self control, enabling, ...? Is there a separation?
    That quality is effort - the drive at least to try to help yourself before (or along with) asking help from others. Your relative must know by now that she does this quite frequently. If she is unable or unwilling to change her drinking habits, she needs to plan her own transportation ahead of time, either budgeting for a cab, or arranging with some willing person to drive her. Her irresponsibility reflects a refusal to expend effort on her own behalf. She expects others to expend the effort for her.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  7. #17
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    For myself, historically, reliance upon others has been a weakness as it opens me up to emotional exploitation and being controlled. If I can completely rely upon myself as much as possible, I remain free to follow my values and be true to what I feel is right in a situation, without having to cater to another's values instead because of a need for their care.

    As a child the issue with dependence upon others was illustrated for me by my mother and grandmother, both who relied upon men to care for them and did not find ways to be financially independent. This trapped them in situations where they were abused yet they could not leave as they had no financial means of support. My sister has repeated this same pattern.

    I have a hard time accepting help from people, as they always feel like they have ties to my emotions, even though I realize that isnt the motive. However I love helping others more than anything, especially anomolously. It is a value mismatch I should sort out I think.

  8. #18
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    The question in the OP was framed (in part) in terms of economics. I think the answer can be found there as well.

    For example, if I have a broken sewer pipe, if my car won’t start, or if the fuse box at my house sparks and starts on fire, I don’t even raise questions about reliance or independence. I phone the plumber, car mechanic, or electrician. We work out the terms for the job, they do the work, I write a check.

    Pretty much any other interaction can be framed in much the same terms. I’m free to contract out my own services or engage the services of others; the main thing is just to be clear on the terms. If a co-worker is good at a task and I’m weak at it, I can ask him to help me with the task or do it himself; I just say, “You’ll be doing a favor for me, and I would really appreciate it. Is there anything I can do for you in return?” If he says “No, I don’t mind doing it for free. Let’s just say that you owe me one,” then that’s an acceptable response. If he tries to call in that favor at a later date, I can then negotiate whether the return favor is a fair balance against the original favor.

    If you watch something like “Jersey Shore,” you’ll see them relying on each other for favors all the time. But if you look closely, they negotiate those favors pretty rigorously. And if the balance of favors owed vs favors repaid gets too far out of balance, people raise hell about it.

    So my point: Treat these things as an economic transaction, and I think the lines become much clearer. And if there are any questions on either side of a given transaction, then you just work out the terms of the transaction ahead of time so that there are no hurt feelings afterward.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    A halfassed, separate post for a separate but semi-related issue.

    Irresponsibility, man, it really gets my goat. I have a .. erm.. family member who has a habit of getting drunk and having other people drive her home or, worse, calling people at 3am and having them pick her up. This family member has learned not to call me.

    What's the quality or principle that separates this from the above? Is it degree of necessity, self control, enabling, ...? Is there a separation?
    Jumping off from my previous post: if you treat this situation as an economic transaction, then I think the lines become much clearer.

    Some people are like a sieve. You give them help, but the help goes right through them. They have the capacity to take in infinite amounts of assistance, draining everyone around them. So the people around them have to set limits. An economic view helps here.

    For example:

    When I was in the military, I came into a small inheritance. It was in the form of stocks and bonds, so for a while I was getting a daily flow of financial papers in the mail: Stock reports, prospectuses, annual reports, stock voting papers, etc.

    It didn’t escape the notice of my fellow Marines, and people started calling me “the million-dollar sergeant.” They also started coming by just before payday and asking for a small personal loan to tide them over till their next check. It was a little bit of a bind: there’s an unwritten rule in the barracks that you help out others when you can; but the potential liability was unlimited if word got out that I was handing out money just for the asking.

    So I came up with a simple rule: If asked, I would loan anyone up to $10 the first time around. For those individuals who paid me back on the following payday, then I would consider up to $20 the next time around, and so on in $10 increments. As for those who *didn’t* pay me back, if they asked for another loan in following weeks, I would just say, “What do you take me for? You didn’t pay me back when you had money of your own. Pay me back the money you owe me, and *then* I’ll consider loaning you more money in the future.” And that solved my problems. I was available for people if they really had an emergency, but I set limits on my exposure. No one could fault the fairness of the system.

    Same thing when dealing with individuals who are like a sieve. I try to be available for them, but I negotiate a price for my assistance ahead of time. I try to make sure that the price isn’t onerous, but also that it will represent a fair return on what I gave them. If they accept my assistance but then balk when it comes time for repayment, then it’s on them to make good the debt. If they refuse to do that, then I obviously have a one-sided relationship with them, and that fact has to be addressed in some manner before any further liabilities pile up on one side or the other.

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