What Do You Care What Other People Think?

Yesterday afternoon, I shared a biking vs. driving calculator that tries to show how much you could save if you gave up your car in favor of other forms of transportation. Whenever I post a story about biking more and driving less, some readers feel judged. They worry that those of us who drive less think we're somehow better than they are.

Yesterday, for instance, Elaine wrote:

I must say that articles like these bruise my ego a bit. I WANT to do everything possible to minimize my impact on my financial health and the health of the environment, so it bothers me somewhat to continually hear about biking, when it's just not realistic to my life.

And Annie said:

I'm glad that some people have the opportunity to reduce their gas dependence by walking and/or biking, but I wish that the non-vehicle enthusiasts would remember that not all of us have that same opportunity.

Elaine and Annie's concerns are valid. Sometimes we do forget that others don't have the same options we do. But it's also true that some of us become indignant when we read stories about living in a tiny house, owning only 100 possessions, growing all of our own food, or having a DIY wedding. We feel judged. That's unfortunate, because getting defensive can get in the way of noticing other lessons that might be applicable in our own lives.

Nobody's perfect
When I write that I am trying to reduce my driving, I'm not arguing that everyone should do the same. Sure, I believe you should try to find ways to cut back, if possible, but I realize that not everyone shares my values and not everyone has the same life circumstances. If you live in Phoenix with a family of four, biking everywhere probably isn't practical. So, when I share what I'm doing in my own life, I'm not judging anyone. Besides, what room do I have to judge? Because I'm too lazy to complain, I've been paying $45 a month for DSL the speed of dial-up. (Fixed last week!) I let too much food spoil. And Kris still digs my cans out of the garbage to put them in the recycling.

I've made many mistakes with money, and I'll continue to make them. I often choose the sub-optimal financial path. But I've gradually reduced my mistakes, and I'm slowly learning to try new things — even when I don't think they're going to work. As a result, I've discovered new ways to save and, more importantly, new ways to make my life more fulfilling.

    • I can't bike everywhere, nor do I want to. But I can bike some places, and I can walk to others. Turns out I enjoy the process; that it saves me money is just a bonus.

 

    • I'm not willing to live with only 100 things, but I can certainly live with less. So, I conduct experiments like my one-year wardrobe project, and I purge books from my library.

 

These are ways I choose to save. Others have different methods. That's one reason it's fun to host guest posts and reader stories. They let me learn how other people practice thrift in ways that I might not expect. But I don't feel judged when I read that someone builds her own furniture or sews his own clothes. I admire the ingenuity and file away the idea for possible use in the future.

I do my best in my own life, so I try not to worry about what other people think. In a way, the fear of being judged is the flip side of keeping up with the Joneses. It's another form of comparing yourselves to others. Down both paths awaits the same destination: unhappiness.

Do what works for you
When you read what other folks do to save money, don't feel judged. In real life, listen to what others are thinking or saying, but don't let their notions bring you down. They're not you. They aren't living your life. They have their own strengths and weaknesses, just as you have yours. Make the most of what you have. Do what works for you. Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare your Present Self to your Past Self. Your goal is to constantly improve your own life, if only in little ways.

When I post a tip or technique at Get Rich Slowly, I'm not saying you're a financial failure if you don't follow it. I'm simply trying to share ideas that have worked for others, or ideas that have worked for me. Apply the ideas to your own life in your own way. Or don't. Take what you want and leave the all the rest behind.

It's easy to become your own biggest critic, especially when you think others are doing better than you are. Don't do that. Don't beat yourself up for what you're not doing. Don't think that everyone around you is living with a net carbon deficit, reading 400 books a year, helping to end world hunger, and clipping coupons to buy the ingredients needed to make phyllo dough from scratch. Because they're not. We're all muddling our way toward frugality.

Instead of criticizing yourself, notice what you're doing right. Be your own personal fan club. Choose your values and follow them as best you can. Keep growing, learning, and stretching. Live well by living wisely. Be nice to yourself. And remember that it does not matter what other people think.

More about...Psychology

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LifeAndMyFinances
LifeAndMyFinances
9 years ago

I don’t agree with the points made by the non-bike enthusiasts. We can all choose to ride a bike rather than drive our car. You might say, “but I live in the country and everything is 20 miles away!” Well, that was your choice. By making the choice of where to live, you (at the same time) made the choice not to bike. My wife and I are making a move into the city and I am ecstatic! I can’t wait to bike everywhere! Not only will it be better for the environment, I will also save a ton of… Read more »

leslie
leslie
9 years ago

That isn’t really a fair statement. There are hundreds of different reasons why people choose to live where they do and for a large number of people the ability to bike everywhere doesn’t even begin to enter the decision process for a variety of reasons. I would love to bike more places but at the stage of life I am currently in, that is just not practical or even close to a top ten priority. This kind of comment is exactly why people for whom biking everywhere does not fit in their life feel judged. Yes…I could have made other… Read more »

Rosa
Rosa
9 years ago
Reply to  leslie

But it’s still a choice. We all make choices. It’s the pretending to be powerless that’s frustrating. I don’t say to people “I can’t come to your event because the interstate is IMPOSSIBLE to drive on at that time of day and the air quality inside the car is too bad for my precious child!” I say, “I’m sorry to miss it, but I really hate driving out there.” People routinely say to me that they can’t go places that are more bike/bus accessible because they just can’t possibly get therel, can’t afford parking, etc. Own the choice, take responsibility… Read more »

Stefanie
Stefanie
9 years ago
Reply to  Rosa

Sometimes it really is not a choice.

Physical and mental disabilities, financial status, and the ability to buy, own, store, and take care of a bike that is suitable for riding on one’s own or with children are just a few “non-choice” reasons why this might not be possible.

Rosa
Rosa
9 years ago
Reply to  Rosa

So is taking care of elderly relatives, which someone else pointed out.

But I was addressing the many, many people who are only talking about where they live and where they work, and the infrastructure in between. Which are all changeable.

phoenix
phoenix
9 years ago
Reply to  Rosa

I don’t understand your argument that using the words “I can’t . . .” means that I am not “owning” my decision. If I’m invited to a party but have another commitment, I’ll say, “I can’t come because I have another commitment.” Sure, it’s a choice and I owned the choice. I could have cancelled on the first engagement, but made the choice not to. If somebody declines to meet me at a pool because she can’t swim, I don’t think she’s not owning the decision. If somebody said they couldn’t go somewhere because they could not afford parking, how… Read more »

kate
kate
9 years ago
Reply to  leslie

Cycling isn’t practical for everyone on every trip, but usually when I hear someone say “I can’t” it usually means “I haven’t tried”. Just give cycling a try on a few small trips–to your mom’s house, to your friend’s house 5 blocks away, to the grocery, etc. You dont have to give up driving, but maybe you will find it is fun, you like it, and you can do it more often. Or, even better, you can find a group who bike for transportation, like a bike pool, and you can get a few places as a team. And then,… Read more »

Paularado
Paularado
9 years ago
Reply to  kate

To those of you who say that we all should just try it….you really have no concept of how other people live. Do you really think that everyone is just like you?

The nearest grocery store is 25 miles from my house. There’s a whole wide world out there called RURAL AMERICA. Maybe you’ve heard of it but didn’t think that people actually lived there. Well, I assure you, we do.

Betsy
Betsy
9 years ago
Reply to  kate

But how many people live in “rural America” because they have to … because they make a living doing something connected to the rural economy?

Maybe you are a farmer, a sawmill operator, an equipment repair person, a large-animal vet, or a forest manager.

But probably 90% of people “living in the countryside” commute to a job in a TOWN. And it’s totally a personal choice to live in the country if that is the case.

khadijah
khadijah
9 years ago
Reply to  kate

Who says that choosing to live in the city rather than the rural areas is better for the environment? Flocking to the metropolitan cities adds to congestion and strains the ecosystem in other ways such as energy and land demands. Therefore using a bike is just a way to offset those demands. Its not to be better than using a car in rural areas. Sure its a choice. But I can’t judge a fat person because I think being small, slim and fit is more efficient, uses less energy, has smaller carbon footprint, and is both economically and environmentally friendlier.… Read more »

barnetto
barnetto
9 years ago
Reply to  kate
Katelyn
Katelyn
9 years ago
Reply to  kate

I understand that biking everywhere does not work for everyone. However, I haven’t seen a comment yet on combining bike and bus. In Seattle all the public buses are equipped with 3 bike racks (I rarely see more than one rack in use at a time). So, even if you live really far away from work, grocery store, etc. if you can ride to a bus stop, you can get to where you are going without a car. Again, perhaps your area doesn’t have adequate public transit. Maybe your buses or trains aren’t bike compatible. Maybe you just like sitting… Read more »

Jenny
Jenny
9 years ago

Well some people can’t find a job close enough to were they live that will let them walk or bike. Some people work weird shifts where even if they could bike it would be in the dark (which does make some people nervous.) Maybe someone would like to move but they can’t sell their house. And I say this all as someone who moved 200+ miles away to a bigger city with good public transit so I could get rid of my car and walk/bike/bus every where. (Though in all honesty I really wanted to move to the big city… Read more »

phoenix
phoenix
9 years ago

So how do I transport my children to their schools and activities on a bike? And get groceries for a week on a bike? And what about people with health issues? But for me, my mind was made up when I was at the scene of a bike fatality. Those graphic images will never leave my mind.

But what I find most ironic in a post about people learning to use this site without getting defensive over suggestions is that you tell anybody that they SHOULD be exactly like you–in a post that has the exact opposite POV

Matt B.
Matt B.
9 years ago
Reply to  phoenix

To phoenix (#9): These are questions my wife and I struggled with for a couple of years, until we decided to modify her bicycle with a “long-bike” extension that can hold our two kids, plus a week’s worth of groceries in the saddlebags. We don’t use it as much as we would like (we also have a car and sometimes that seems so much more convenient, especially in the cold Chicago winters – baby steps!), but it has kept us from having to buy and maintain a second car, which is a huge financial bonus. As for the bike fatality,… Read more »

E. Murphy
E. Murphy
9 years ago
Reply to  Matt B.

1. I can’t begin to imagine riding in traffic with two little children on the back of my bike.

2. What will you do when they’re too heavy for her to haul around that way?

Julia
Julia
9 years ago
Reply to  Matt B.

To E. Murphy, When children grow too big for bike trailers, they can sit on a trail-a-bike bike extension, or a tandem or… very quickly they can ride their own bike, too! There are so many options out there. I am hearing a lot of “I can’t”-s and reasons why something may not be possible or feasible. We don’t get very far in life or as a society when everyone takes that attitude. What is feasible? Walking to the drugstore to pick up medications? (I did that this morning.) Taking the bus to work, and riding your bike home? (My… Read more »

Coley
Coley
9 years ago
Reply to  Matt B.

You need to compare bike fatalities to auto fatalities as a function of passenger-miles traveled. Far more people drive far more miles in cars, therefore, there are more car fatalities. That doesn’t mean that cars are more dangerous.

Very few people died last year riding unicycles down the interstate–that doesn’t make it a safe thing to do

Saskia
Saskia
9 years ago
Reply to  Matt B.

I even had 3 little children on my bike, a baby in front and a 2 and 3 year old on the back of my bike, in special made seats. In my country (Western Europe)a lot of children go to school by bike, so when they’re 4 of 5 years old, they have their own bike. Because it’s so common here, car drivers are used to it and are extra careful. We also have a lot of bicycle paths.

barnetto
barnetto
9 years ago
Reply to  Matt B.

I’m not going to go searching for the bike fatality numbers, seen them before, didn’t phase me. Somewhere, per mile, of 3-10x as high as for cars (but I think including children? I imagine car fatalities would be a lot higher if we let children drive). And if you look at per trip instead of per mile, the odds of dying on a bike vs by driving are lower. The thing is, if I don’t give a second thought to jumping in my car and driving <6 miles a way (to the grocery store, library, pool, work) what does it… Read more »

Canadian
Canadian
9 years ago
Reply to  phoenix

People in Europe don’t shop once a week, they shop more frequently and only buy small amounts. This is what I do. In my city most supermarkets offer delivery for a few dollars. I take advantage of this about once a month to stock up on heavy or bulky items. When my parents lived in a city without this practice, my mother took her groceries home by taxi once a week. Much cheaper than owning a car. Kids do not need to be carted around to various activities. They can learn to be self-reliant. They can entertain themselves. They can… Read more »

E. Murphy
E. Murphy
9 years ago
Reply to  Canadian

And some people chose not to limit their childrens to only home based activities. How about music lessons, sports, museum trips?

Lots of schools are not within walking distance these days.

barnetto
barnetto
9 years ago
Reply to  phoenix

Number of bike fatalities I’ve personally seen: 0 Number of car fatalities I’ve personally seen: At least 3, more than likely more (but only three confirm-able since I saw a news story about it the next day). Number of people I did not witness but personally know who have been killed while bicycling: 0. Number of people I did not witness but personally know who have been killed while driving: 4 Your reason not to bike is based on emotion. I am not going to stop driving because I’ve seen or know so many people who have been killed while… Read more »

Shane
Shane
9 years ago
Reply to  barnetto

I completely understand what you are trying to say, but this is something that not every person can be fit into the same mold. For me, I live about 17 miles from my job, which is in the city. I could live in the city so I could commute by walking or the transit system, but my cost of living would actually double, due to the costs of renting or buying in the area. Instead, I own a modest rancher with my mortgage, taxes, and insurance all equaling less than most people’s rent in the suburban area, let alone the… Read more »

barnetto
barnetto
9 years ago
Reply to  barnetto

Shane, who are you replying to? I can see its right under one of my comments, but I can’t see how it relates to anything I said. I assume you’re replying to someone else.

Rosa
Rosa
9 years ago
Reply to  barnetto

People are really irrationally convinced that cars are safe. Even just look at the last article – how many people said to JD “Be safe! Don’t read and walk!” but not one person said to Tyler “Be careful! If you’re driving 60 miles at a time and zoning out with the fancy radio and looking at scenery, you could get in an accident! Safety first!” As if WALKING were less safe than driving. Come on. JD might walk into a pole but he’s not going to kill himself or anybody else. (and weather. Biking on ice is a pain but… Read more »

Michael
Michael
9 years ago
Reply to  barnetto

There are more boat wrecks than car crashes at the lake. Is boating more dangerous than driving?

Anecdote is still not the plural of data.

phoenix
phoenix
9 years ago
Reply to  barnetto

I’ve actually been at the scene of 3 bike fatalities, but I count only 1 because in that one, I stopped to help the man from bleeding to death on a hot summer day. Some towns have bike lanes and have lots of bicyclists, and some are not. However, for me, its not just an emotional response (although that is one aspect), but also a logical decision. I understand that numerous people die in cars, but in the fatality I witnessed, if the person who caused the accident had bumped into another car (as opposed to a bike), it barely… Read more »

Megan E.
Megan E.
9 years ago
Reply to  barnetto

It’s not a black and white issue. I live 30 miles from work. My husband lives 16 miles – in the other direction! We live where we do because it’s inexpensive housing and a (somewhat) fair commute for us both. We *could* bike – sure, but the extra time cost, food cost, clothing cost, bike maintenance cost, etc would add up as well. Biking is NOT a free activity. What I do is take the bus most days – this increases my commute from 45 minutes each way to 90 minutes each way. That’s a whole extra hour I can’t… Read more »

barnetto
barnetto
9 years ago
Reply to  barnetto

…I’m not make biking a black and white issue. I’ve written enough in comments on the various posts that that fact will be obvious to anyone who wastes their time to go back and read everything through. I am black and white on people presenting what is their choice as an insurmountable obstacle. If the solution is to change a choice, but the person chooses not to, then it isn’t that they can’t ride their bike but that they won’t. The difference is between can’t and won’t. I have nothing to say to won’ts. Okay, I do have something to… Read more »

Paularado
Paularado
9 years ago
Reply to  phoenix

Phoenix,

I too arrived on the scene just after a cyclist was killed by a drunk driver in the middle of the afternoon. I’ll never feel safe riding on the road again.

Rosa
Rosa
9 years ago
Reply to  Paularado

But you’re fine with driving on the roads with these people? That is the part I don’t get.

Suzanne
Suzanne
9 years ago

Not to mention that weather can make biking dangerous at times in all but the mildest of climates.

Anne
Anne
9 years ago

I love city life. I love being able to walk to nearby shops and buy what we need or want. I often walk and take public transit by choice, since we do own a car. Walking is even CHEAPER than biking. But I have to say – who will grow your food if everyone lived in cities? At the very least farmers would need cars to get out to the fields every day. There’s a certain diversity to modern American life. And I’m glad that some people live rurally and that I don’t have to. But someone who was born… Read more »

Rosa
Rosa
9 years ago
Reply to  Anne

It’s not farmers who are driving 60 miles to work each way, though.

And in my experience, farmers are the most careful about gas use of anyone, because they are used to thinking about input costs.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago

I too was going to cry foul on that comment, but I can see the point. Cycling year round hasn’t been practical for me (due to climate and health reasons), but I when I was a student I chose where to live based on being able to walk to destinations or have easy access to public transportation — a big money saver as I couldn’t afford a car. I do have a car now, but I’m mindful of my fuel consumption and prefer to use my feet as much as possible. I don’t imagine that makes me any better or… Read more »

Becka
Becka
9 years ago

As a cyclist, allow me to say:

This is an utterly judgmental comment.

Chris P.
Chris P.
9 years ago

You seem like the type of biker that I wouldn’t hate hitting on accident (if it weren’t for all the paperwork). You also make me feel better about myself. Most likely, if you’re living at the extreme, you’re crazy.

barnetto
barnetto
9 years ago
Reply to  Chris P.

“Henceforth, unduly nasty comments on readers stories will be removed or edited.”

Not even remotely called for.

kate
kate
9 years ago
Reply to  Chris P.

oh good, some non-judgemental advocating for violence. seems like we have already forgotten that people getting around in vehicles different from ours are HUMANS and could be your neighbors, daughters, doctors, priests, etc. Keep that in mind, y’all

jlg3rd
jlg3rd
9 years ago
Reply to  Chris P.

You probably can’t even ride a bike, let alone squeeze into your car!

Betsy
Betsy
9 years ago
Reply to  Chris P.

That’s sick. I hope your car falls off a cliff, but that you don’t get hurt.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago

@Life & etc: Every decision has a myriad consequences, some intended and some unintended, so our choices are not really binary when you take into account their repercussions. The only way to make biking 100% possible is if you make that your first priority in life, and It’s rather idiotic to assume that everyone is going to do that. Usually people will make choices based on their career, family, etc., and if the bicycle fits, you have the choice, but if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Also, it wold be hilarious if you got run over by a delivery truck due… Read more »

Chris P.
Chris P.
9 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks so.

jlg3rd
jlg3rd
9 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

or you get nailed by an train while texting.

Gerard
Gerard
9 years ago

We CANNOT all choose to bike everywhere. Try biking in LA in the summer, or in Vegas in the summer. Or in Detroit in the winter.

And that is without considering the snide that we can alle choose where we live. Yeah right, because jobs are available once we move somewhere.

Abby B
Abby B
9 years ago
Reply to  Gerard

I bike to and from school every day and it’s summer in Saudi Arabia so I’d say that’s at least as hot as LA or Las Vegas. For the average healthy person, this isn’t unreasonable. Granted it’s nowhere near as nice and comfortable as an air-conditioned vehicle, but “can choose” and “want to choose” are different. It’s ok if you don’t want to ride, but that doesn’t mean you can’t.

Craig
Craig
9 years ago

I don’t have a choice at the moment. Missing the whole point of the article OP.

Ely
Ely
9 years ago

Really not the point of this article. He should have added, do what works for you, and don’t judge others for doing what works for them!!

chacha1
chacha1
9 years ago
Reply to  Ely

Exactly. Do what works for you. If what someone else is doing wouldn’t work for you, shrug it off. Don’t start in with defensive “well I can’t do that because.” It doesn’t accomplish anything except make the commenter sound like a whiner. And if what you are doing works really *well* for you, don’t start in with “everyone else should at least TRY it.” It also doesn’t accomplish anything except put other people on the defensive! What J.D. was saying, and what so many are STILL missing, is STOP JUDGING. Stop judging YOURSELVES for not being in a position to… Read more »

jlg3rd
jlg3rd
9 years ago
Reply to  chacha1

well said chacha1, most people on this forum making snide remarks probably don’t even own a bike.

barnetto
barnetto
9 years ago
Reply to  chacha1

This!

Evangeline
Evangeline
9 years ago
Reply to  chacha1

Well said, chacha1. If we just took the time spent on picking everyone (including ourselves) apart and put it to better use, we’d all see some improvement in our quality of lives. It’s all about choices and how we move through our own lives with the decisions we’ve made

Paularado
Paularado
9 years ago

Dear “Life and my Fiances”

You are right. People do make choices about where they live. So, what about you? Obviously you’ve made the right ones and we should all follow suit. But wait, what about your house? Mine is passive solar made with renewable materials such as cork floors and walls constructed of logs killed by pine beetles. Oh, yours isn’t? What? You don’t have enough sun where you live? Well, that was your choice to live there. You should relocate.

Amanda
Amanda
9 years ago

Statements that include all or nothing are generally incorrect. I feel judged by this statement and I biked to work, when I worked.

*disability
*extreme weather
*family

are likely just a few reasons why some people would not find biking useful.

I would also say that when determining where to choose a home (sometimes in a state/city/town where they grew up) MOST individuals don’t have “great biking distance” on their list of pros & cons. It’s not exactly something most real estate agents are pointing out!

LifeAndMyFinances
LifeAndMyFinances
9 years ago

Wow! I didn’t know my comment would strike such a debate, or prompt others to hope that I get run over by a delivery truck…. (didn’t appreciate that by the way). All I meant was, yes, it may not be practical for you to ride your bike into work or to the market because you live far away. You might have a great reason to live where you do, but don’t blow off the article on biking just because you live in the pucks. Biking is a great idea and should be considered even if you aren’t using it for… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago

Don’t worry, I don’t have the power to hex people, and I don’t wish you death, it’s just that the mental image was a good comedic counterpoint to your narcissistic sanctimony. “Oh, what a wonderful boy I am, I’m going to the city and I’m going to bike”. Cue delivery truck banana peel…

imelda
imelda
9 years ago

Well, your comment went completely against the spirit of JD’s post. Why are you surprised?

As soon as I read your comment I was like, wow, total reading comprehension!fail. And then I saw the ridiculous discussion below and…. Well. You can see my capslock frustration below.

imelda
imelda
9 years ago

I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS THREAD!!! For pity’s sake, people, STOP JUDGING. Everyone is not like you. Some people are out of shape. Some people live in the country. Some people like driving. Some people don’t know how to ride a bike. Some people have busy mornings and don’t have time to bike. Some people drop their kids off on the way to work. Some people live really far from their offices/shopping options/etc. THERE ARE A MILLION REASONS WHY PEOPLE DON’T BIKE. ARGUING WHETHER IT’S A CHOICE OR AN IMPOSSIBILITY IS PEDANTIC. JUST STOP. …Please??? I guarantee you that every one… Read more »

Courtney Jones Media
Courtney Jones Media
9 years ago

Such a great post ever i seen. I agree with you “lifeandmyfinances” .

I am on my own, and i know what i am, what i can do. I always listen to my intuition, my heart. We all should be.

STRONGside
STRONGside
9 years ago

When i see a post like the one yesterday it is very easy for me to go off on a tangent. I easily slip into the mindset of ” well should I be doing that? or how could I do that?” I think it is important to always question the things that I do and the choices I make, but at some point you have to remember that you have to do what is best for you. Like JD said, nobody is perfect, and if we all followed a strict set of standard rules and lived little cookie cutter lives,… Read more »

Jane
Jane
9 years ago

Point taken. Just because someone makes different decisions than you doesn’t mean that they are judging you for not making the same one. But sometimes they are! And readers can pick up on that. I didn’t read the biking story yesterday, so I can’t speak to that. But the DIY wedding story over the week-end stated explicitly that doing things yourself makes your wedding more meaningful and memorable. That is the language she used. This more than implies that people who make a different choice are being judged in some respect. Here’s a direct quote from the article: “But I’ve… Read more »

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
9 years ago
Reply to  Jane

Good points, Jane. Obviously, GRS isn’t entirely free of judgment. And you’re right: A world without judgment would be pretty chaotic. My point is that we need to do judge less and worry about ourselves more. And, on the flipside, that we need to stop worrying what other people think. This is tough, of course. I still worry sometimes about revealing how I use my money, even when I’m doing my best. “Ohmygosh. J.D. still uses ING Direct? Doesn’t he know that Capital One bought them out?” And so on. But, in the end, I’m doing my best for myself… Read more »

julia
julia
9 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Completely off the subject of the post but I do wonder how JD feels about Capital One buying ING.

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
9 years ago
Reply to  julia

I have no real opinion. Yet. I like ING Direct, and I don’t want to see their service change. Maybe it won’t. Maybe it will. But I know many readers are concerned (they’ve e-mailed me about it), so I did new savings account research last Sunday. Look for the post on Friday.

Kestra
Kestra
9 years ago

Good reminder. I think for almost everyone avoiding comparing yourself to others and not worrying about judgment is next to impossible. Even if lots of things don’t bother you, there is always that particularly sensitive issue. And the issue doesn’t always make sense. For example, I’ve recently decided to learn how to wear a bit of make-up (I’m 34). For a “normal” person, it’s the not wearing make-up that is stressful and prone to judgment. But for me, being a staunch avoider of make-up my entire life, I’m embarrassed to admit to my coworkers that I want to learn. It’s… Read more »

slccom
slccom
9 years ago
Reply to  Kestra

Many women who don’t like makeup have a condition called “faceblindness,” or prosopagnosia. You may want to look them up and see if you are one of us.

I hated makeup and fancy hair styles because I literally didn’t recognize myself. I once cut my hair from down to my shoulder blades to about 3 inches long, and I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror for 6 weeks.

Kestra
Kestra
9 years ago
Reply to  slccom

Interesting. I do have some degree of this, I believe. It takes me a long time to recognize people and it’s hard to tell two people apart until I’ve seen them for quite a long time if general features are similar.

But that’s not really the reason I don’t wear make-up. I just never have ever and see no reason to start. It just makes me feel unauthentic.

Bipp
Bipp
9 years ago

Great response to yesterday’s comments, JD. People will find themselves in a huge spectrum of current life arrangements. It is a question of values and what parts of your life you are willing to sacrifice to enhance other parts. For me I very actively chose a minimal-commute lifestyle, which allows for a nearly car-less existence (and the cost savings associated with it). Other people may really really want a house in the woods with lots of land. That is a priority for them, and I can see the draw. I do question, however, when people comment that they “CAN’T” do… Read more »

Nancy L.
Nancy L.
9 years ago
Reply to  Bipp

As Courtney said yesterday, this argument starts getting into semantics. When one side of a decision is so negative that it becomes foolhardy to pursue it, it may technically still be a choice, but outside of purposely choosing to pursue a negative outcome, the “choice” is little more than a formality. So you are correct in arguing that the person still has a “choice” but the other person is also correct in saying that a particular option was (essentially) impossible to pursue given the specific situation.

Rosa
Rosa
9 years ago
Reply to  Nancy L.

So why mention it? If it’s such a no-brainer for your life, why read the article/post a comment? If the people who hate bikes stayed off the bike articles (and the people who won’t consider couponing stayed off the coupon articles, etc) then it wouldn’t be an issue.

Nancy L.
Nancy L.
9 years ago
Reply to  Rosa

Well personally, I don’t, lol. But I suspect some people do out of the process of having a dialogue to see if maybe they’ve missed something. Using the bike example (although from a previous post’s responses), some people suggested driving partway and biking from that point as a compromise. That is a solution that wouldn’t provide the full benefit, but would provide *some* benefits and could be adopted by people in situations where they can’t bike the full distance. I also suspect that some people are bothered when a post makes something sound as easy as pie, and want to… Read more »

Anne 2
Anne 2
9 years ago
Reply to  Nancy L.

Yes, exactly. My 86-year-old father with Alzheimers lives with me, and I also take care of a 97-year-old lady in my home. Neither can be left alone. So apart from starting a rickshaw service [for humor-challenged readers, this is a joke], there is no choice about how to go to town, even though it is only 3 miles away. Sure, I chose to take care of these people, but if one wishes to frame it terms of biking vs. caring for my elders …. it just becomes ridiculous.

Rosa
Rosa
9 years ago
Reply to  Anne 2

I’m going to assume, since this is an easy and obvious choice for you, you’re not one of the people who feels guilty or attacked or whatever by the idea that many people could save money by biking, though.

Amanda
Amanda
9 years ago
Reply to  Anne 2

LOL Anne, thanks for lightening up the discussion.

Ru
Ru
9 years ago

The flipside of this is that if you don’t want to be judged, you should stop judging other people. How many times do we see a comment along the lines of “my sister just had a baby and she WASTED $6000 on stuff she doesn’t even need for it!”. It’s her money, who are you to judge? I dislike obese people and I dislike people who don’t care about the environment, so I do tend to get a bit judgemental when people get all like “Walk to the store?! But it’s a mile away!!”. “Cook from scratch?! But it’s so… Read more »

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
9 years ago
Reply to  Ru

One thing I try to do in these situations is to offer solutions. “Here’s how I learned to walk to the store. Here’s how I learned to cook from scratch.” Most of the time, the advice falls on deaf ears, but at least I tried, right? Is it wrong to be judgmental of people who are appallingly bad toward the planet? Maybe it’s not wrong to be judgmental so much as it is to act upon it. You’re holding them to your own standards, which may not be the standards they live by. You don’t want them holding you to… Read more »

Martin
Martin
9 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Wasn’t it Gandhi who said you must be the change you want to see in the world? Thanks for this entry. I’m not sure, but I think it touches on a point that’s vexed me about self-help blogs in general. I wrote about it once on my blog (there’s a trackback to GRS back in March if you care to look), but I think I’ll need to revise a little based on this insight. Funny thing, I knew this. I knew that in the final analysis, it isn’t really about what you’ve done over and against others but rather what… Read more »

Suzanne
Suzanne
9 years ago
Reply to  Ru

Nevermind. JD responded.

phoenix
phoenix
9 years ago
Reply to  Ru

Ru, it sounds like you’re saying people should not be judgmental unless they hold your same judgments and then it’s OK to be judgmental. I’m not sure why you’re so judgmental about people who are obese (they don’t necessarily have an impact on the planet, any more than anybody else). And from my personal experience, you have no idea as to that person’s journey. I am at the cusp of being obese, but I HATE to eat and rarely eat more than 1500 calories (usually closer to 1000-1200). I also do interval training 4 times a week for 35 minutes… Read more »

Tazz
Tazz
9 years ago
Reply to  phoenix

I am blessed to have inherited my dad’s “skinny genes” but at the same time, wish I had gotten some of my mom’s “plump genes”. I get a lot of comments from friends, colleagues and even strangers about how lucky I am to hv skinny genes, considering I do eat a lot and never had to worry about calories etc. I even worked at a donut store before, eating tons of donuts (they were free!) But didn’t really gain much weight. However, I do get hurtful comments (I look like a skeleton/famine victim/picky eater etc) just based on my thin… Read more »

Shari
Shari
9 years ago
Reply to  Tazz

The story of my life! It is amazing that people don’t think calling someone too skinny is an insult. I used to come home from school crying because people teased me, called me “bones”, a skeleton, freaky, whatever. (I was 5’4″ and 85 pounds). I COULD NOT gain weight. I had teachers following me into the bathroom after lunch to make sure I wasn’t throwing up, and digging my lunch bag out of the garbage to make sure I ate all my food. I didn’t mind the concern (my own son looks like that now, and I can’t say I’m… Read more »

LauraElle
LauraElle
9 years ago
Reply to  phoenix

Honey, you don’t have to justify your choices to some nitwit on the internet. You’re doing great by taking care of your body and health.

Vanessa
Vanessa
9 years ago
Reply to  LauraElle

“Honey, you don’t have to justify your choices to some nitwit on the internet.”

I think this would’ve been a better title for this article 🙂

Ru
Ru
9 years ago
Reply to  phoenix

Actually obese people DO have a bigger impact on the planet because they require more food to be grown which uses more land/water/chemical fertilisers. They are less likely to walk, more likely to drive. Use more cloth for their clothes. etc etc etc My main reason for disliking obese people is because my taxes pay for their healthcare. The NHS has to somehow fund bigger ambulances, bigger beds, find more consultants for their high risk pregnancies, find the money for gastric bypasses and so on. That’s not fair because my taxes for universal healthcare are supposed to stop children dying… Read more »

The Other Brian
The Other Brian
9 years ago
Reply to  Ru

Unless you live in a 100% solar-powered cave and survive by eating only things you grow, you should really stop judging others “carbon footprint” now….

There are about 5.5 billion people on this planet who could have a justifiable problem with YOUR (and mine as well) lifestyle.

mapster
mapster
9 years ago
Reply to  Ru

Wow! Just Wow. I don’t even know if I can find the words for this. You’ve got me fired up, but I will try to remain in the realm of “nice” instead of saying what I really want. I would like to present you with a case study: Me & my sister: Me: Couch potato for the most part aside from family walks or bike rides a couple times a week, eat whatever I want, whenever I want, Body type: Slim My sister: At the gym 4-5 times/week, watches what she eats, Body type: Obese. The clincher – A TUMOR… Read more »

Rosa
Rosa
9 years ago
Reply to  phoenix

Try being a fat biker. You get it from all sides!

LauraElle
LauraElle
9 years ago
Reply to  Ru

I’m trying to be less judgemental but all it leads to me is thinking mean thoughts like “well, enjoy being fat and poor then”

Wow, just wow. The above statement is the most obnoxious thing I’ve ever read on GRS.

Ru
Ru
9 years ago
Reply to  LauraElle

At least I’m honest about being a horrible person.

If people make their own suffering, do they really deserve sympathy?

Naomi
Naomi
9 years ago
Reply to  Ru

Just because you’re honest about being a bigot doesn’t make it right to be a bigot.

LauraElle
LauraElle
9 years ago
Reply to  Ru

Yes, a human being that hurts themselves deserves sympathy, even if they’ve done it to themselves. Sympathy is not enabling, sympathy is feeling compassion for someone suffering.

Jaime B
Jaime B
9 years ago
Reply to  Ru

Here’s the thing Ru … when you see a stranger on the street who is obese, you have no way of knowing their situation. Full stop. That is why it is better to be kind. For all you know, you’re looking at someone doing all the right things who has already lost 7 stone (~100lbs) but still has 7 stone to go to be at a healthy weight. You’ve just judged, and if you did it to their face, and possibly demoralized someone who has done a tremendous job becoming healthier. For all you know, they could be like mapster’s… Read more »

KS
KS
9 years ago
Reply to  Ru

Fat people pay for accidents and illnesses incurred by skinny people too – I know a lot of skinny soda-drinking smokers.

Wow is right. Enjoy your skinny, lonely, smug, angry life.

Susan D.
Susan D.
9 years ago
Reply to  Ru

Guess what–honesty isn’t an all-encompassing virtue.

Josh
Josh
9 years ago
Reply to  LauraElle

The truth is not always polite.

Amanda
Amanda
9 years ago
Reply to  Ru

Ru, the $6000 on baby stuff example is exactly the same as your eating out/poor example. If someone is on food stamps and had been eating only fish from their freezer for 3 months before that and complaining about it, wouldn’t it be logical for them to quit spending money on things that aren’t necessities? What if you knew that this person also had $10,000 credit card debt and a car with over 100,000 miles that’s just about to die?

PawPrint
PawPrint
9 years ago
Reply to  Ru

And is it wrong to be judgemental about people who dislike people automatically because of their size rather than the person’s character or personality? In my book, that’s a huge character flaw so I say no.

phoenix
phoenix
9 years ago

I generally take most of the suggestions on this site as a big brainstorming session. When you brainstorm with a group, everybody throws out tons of ideas–some will work, some won’t, some will work for only some. I think the problem comes in when judgments get thrown into the mix, even if they are subtle. I work outside the home and am a mom. I know many other moms who don’t work, and I’m not offended that they made different life choices, nor do I think negative of them because they have a difference choice. The fact that we make… Read more »

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
9 years ago
Reply to  phoenix

I love this!

I generally take most of the suggestions on this site as a big brainstorming session. When you brainstorm with a group, everybody throws out tons of ideas—some will work, some won’t, some will work for only some.

That’s how I think of it too: a giant brainstorming session. Thanks! 🙂

Brent
Brent
9 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Something I found interesting in a Public Relations course I am taking this summer is -brainstorming in the public relations world is allowing input from anyone but without critiquing the input as this can hinder the creative thought process.

The critiquing process would take place at a different level.

I thought that was interesting.

Jaime B
Jaime B
9 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

At the beginning of Amy Dacyczyn’s Tightwad Gazettes, she makes a point to say that the purpose of the newsletters aren’t to tell you to do XYZ necessarily, it’s to get you thinking creatively. She wants people to challenge their status quo, to start examining all the little things they consider set in stone and realize they are more flexible than they knew.

Erin
Erin
9 years ago

If you feel judged by an article written on the internet, it’s probably because you feel guilty about some aspect of your own life. Everyone has their own opinion and if you are uncomfortable, it probably means you need to examine why the article/opinion makes you uncomfortable. People have judged me for things I’ve done, but I’m confident enough in most of my decisions that I don’t have to feel weird about what that person says to me. This is a problem with our society. There are so many different opinions and people aren’t confident and open-minded enough to listen… Read more »

Monique Rio
Monique Rio
9 years ago
Reply to  Erin

This is exactly what I was thinking. Whenever you feel defensive, it usually means something’s not right in your life. That has certainly been the case for me. Other people judging you is not something you can control either. Better to practice not letting it bother you rather than trying to make it stop. You could actually succeed with the first one. Also the bikers and minimalists and DIY wedding people are judged too. Some people in my family think I endanger myself by biking, am cheap when I get excited about having avoided buying something unnecessary, and truly wish… Read more »

Jean
Jean
9 years ago

Man, I hate it when people tell me not to worry so much what other people think! It makes me feel all over-sensitive and thin-skinned, like I’m somehow not reading things right. I am such a failure. I hate this post.

(One of my wiser friends once told me that I would worry far less about what others thought of me if I realised how seldom they did. Words to make one laugh and wince at the same time.)

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
9 years ago
Reply to  Jean

Ha! 🙂

I recently heard somebody say this: “In my twenties and thirties, I worried what other people thought about me. In my forties, I stopped caring what they thought. In my fifties, I realized they weren’t thinking about me at all!”

Crystal
Crystal
9 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

And the truly wise figure it out way before their fifties, lol.

jlg3rd
jlg3rd
9 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

exactly

fetu
fetu
9 years ago
Reply to  Jean

Yep. Everybody is too busy worrying about their own problems. I remember as a kid having to give a talk at church. I would be in a panic worrying about it. Then I figured out that I could hardly remember who talked last week and I did not care who it was and how they did it. So the congregation would not be worrying about me either.

Michael
Michael
9 years ago

The big lesson here is that you’re more likely to succeed if your goal is to reduce the severity of mistakes instead of eliminating them. Standing more while reading on the Internet vs. buying a standing desk, or eating smaller, higher quality portions vs. a crash diet for example.

I’ve had more luck with tracks than targets, and the idea seems to be spreading. 🙂

Becka
Becka
9 years ago
Reply to  Michael

“reduce the severity of mistakes instead of eliminating them.”

I really like this way of putting it. You put too much pressure on yourself when you try to be perfect; just try to be better.

Jacq
Jacq
9 years ago

I think that whenever someone makes a strong statement, it would probably be ideal if they preceded it or ended it with the words *for me*. But the writing would sound kind of odd then so that’s not a very good solution. There’s another saying: “When you point a finger, take a look at your hand because there’s three fingers pointing back at you.” Your blog does a good job in not sounding judgmental of anyone’s chosen lifestyle – much better than TSD or ERE (to me). Lifestyle preferences are just that – preferences of that person. All we can… Read more »

Cam
Cam
9 years ago
Reply to  Jacq

Why not put in “for me” yourself if it’s not stated explicitly? Kinda like “in bed” with fortune cookies? Because really, who made the poster arbiter of how everything must be?

Breathe, people. You don’t have to have other people protect you from your own thinking. “Well, if they said it this way, then I wouldn’t have to think this way so it’s their fault!”.

Jacq
Jacq
9 years ago
Reply to  Cam

I’d rather just not drink the kool-aid that the preachers are serving.

jackowick
jackowick
9 years ago

I’d like to see people not get so defensive and feel like they’re being accused of something by driving a car (that’s a 2 way street, no pun intended, for who’s responsible for making someone feel that way). With many “greener” initiatives, it’s important to remember the intent and opportunity is better than nothing. I was at the beach last weekend with my girlfriend and we rode our bikes all weekend due to the proximity of locations of interest. It was great to know that for 2 days, the car didn’t move or use gas. During the week, I live… Read more »

Michael
Michael
9 years ago
Reply to  jackowick

The underrated alternative to making a huge lifestyle shift is switching to an older car that did its production-based damage to the environment long ago.

I drive a little Saturn S series that gets about 30MPG. Sometimes I feel like a cyclist with how people act when I don’t treat it like a sports car, but I don’t worry about it with crumple zones between me and their anger. 🙂

SF_UK
SF_UK
9 years ago

I decided not to comment on the last post because I didn’t want to get into the argument. I’m lucky. I live in a lovely town that’s extremely bike-friendly, my commute is probably faster by bike because I can take routes a car can’t (the centre of my town could accurately be described as car-hating), and the weather and my health are such that this is practical 99% of the time (the 1% being illness or snow/ice). I love the fact that I don’t have to go to a gym (I hate gyms), that I have no parking issue, and… Read more »

Kevin @ Thousandaire.com
Kevin @ Thousandaire.com
9 years ago

I could bike some places, but getting a nice street bike is about a $1,000 up front investment. I don’t want to drop that much cash knowing that I won’t use it all that often. I also don’t want to buy used because I’m weird like that.

Becka
Becka
9 years ago

You can get a perfectly serviceable bike new for much less than that! My Trek hybrid was around $500, and I’ve been very happy with it, and you can go even lower if you shop around or wait for end of season sales (same timeline as cars, I believe).

Shari
Shari
9 years ago
Reply to  Becka

I’ve never paid more than $100 for bike in my life. Am I missing something? Shopping in the wrong places? Or the right places?

Becky P.
Becky P.
9 years ago
Reply to  Shari

Chuckle, chuckle. I think you could probably find a bike at a yard sale for under $20 that would get you from point A to point B. 🙂 One thing about PF blogs is that the varying differences in family sizes/rural-city thing and cultures so affects writing style. Many people in Poland bike for one of two reasons…1. to get places 2. for fun–to enjoy the fresh air/get out of the house. Biking for health reasons is growing, but not so many do it for that reason. However, we see grandmas on bikes, and grandpas as well. It’s just different… Read more »

Becka
Becka
9 years ago
Reply to  Shari

A bike is a fairly complex piece of machinery, and the quality of the parts and manufacturing make a very big difference. You can get a very good bike USED for $100 (because more people than you can count buy a thousand dollar bike and never ride it, then unload it for cheap), but new, definitely not. I would be willing to buy a store brand bike for, say, a child who’s going to outgrow it in a few years and never going to ride it more than a couple miles at a time, but for me, if you’re spending… Read more »

jlg3rd
jlg3rd
9 years ago
Reply to  Shari

you shop at yard sales. how’s that old Schwinn with the banana seat treating you?

Louisa
Louisa
9 years ago

I don’t have a lot of patience when I read that someone wants others (not even real people in their life, but connected only in a surreal digital world, represented by black lines on a screen) to communicate differently so that the person won’t feel defensive. People from other cultures often tell me, “Americans are so sensitive!” and this whole post reflects that. People are going to say things that will sound insensitive. So what? That’s life. Take what you like, leave the rest. (This very comment is a judgment!) 🙂

Jane
Jane
9 years ago
Reply to  Louisa

Fair enough. But the writer in cyberspace should then not be surprised when they get flak or equally passionate responses back. It’s a two way street!

Crystal
Crystal
9 years ago

It is nice to be reminded that defensiveness is usually there for a personal reason. I almost chimed in with “but bicycling in Houston isn’t realistic” and then almost immediately realized that THAT WASN’T THE POINT. I choose not to bike, but I see others braving the roads (sorry, but I am usually cussing at them in my head to get off the damn roads…there aren’t bike lanes and it is frustrating for the bikers and drivers alike). So yes, differing opinions is not the same as being attacked. It’s a lesson we all probably technically know, but sometimes everybody… Read more »

Justin
Justin
9 years ago

Society reinforces the perception that we care what others think (and get defensive when we think we are being attacked/judged even when we aren’t). Why do you think marketing is so effective?

Pamela
Pamela
9 years ago

Sometimes we forget that we are products of our own culture. The American ethos is one of individuality and a constant quest for improvement. A side effect of the desire to always get better is judgment and guilt.

We don’t always have to strive. Sometimes we can just “be.” And let others “be” too.

Canadian
Canadian
9 years ago

No, not everyone can do X (“X” in this case being biking more, driving less) but we have far more control than we might at first think. In my case, the reason that I am able to be car-free is the result of deliberate choices I have made: – to live in a city rather than a suburb, rural area, or small town – to live in this particular city: one with good public transit, rather than the place I grew up in – to choose an apartment within walking distance of a subway station – to only apply for… Read more »

sarahkincheloe
sarahkincheloe
9 years ago

Biking just seems to get people riled up, for some reason. People get bristly any time the subject comes up, and bikers and non-bikers and those in between think they’re being judged or criticized. The only other thing that even seems to come close is talking about vegetarianism – I don’t usually tell people I’m a vegetarian because some people view that simple statement as judgment of them.

I look at the articles here and elsewhere as advice. If the advice seems bad, I don’t take it.

barnetto
barnetto
9 years ago
Reply to  sarahkincheloe

Quit judging me! If animals didn’t want to be eaten they wouldn’t be yummy!

😛

leaf (the indolent cook)
leaf (the indolent cook)
9 years ago

Great post. I just don’t get why people get so defensive. As someone who doesn’t have a bike, I don’t have any problem with the occasional “cycle and save money” article. I may not apply it to myself (I’m sticking to public transport for the foreseeable future) but I still enjoy reading a well-written article, and who are we to deny something that could really help and encourage others who are interested in taking the leap?

Stacey
Stacey
9 years ago

this article – and the comments remind me of how country folk (like me!) view people who take a walk down a gravel road. You WILL be approached by everyone driving by asking if you need a lift so if you want to just “walk”, the saying goes you MUST carry a gun: then everyone will think you are hunting and leave you a lone. Same goes for biking in the VERY rural part of the country I live in: people think you’re broke if you’re biking everywhere. Nothing wrong with that – it just goes to show that everyone… Read more »

Annemarie
Annemarie
9 years ago
Reply to  Stacey

Very true. I live in the country and walk everywhere since for medical reasons I can’t drive.

I was very surprised to learn, years ago, that people thought my husband was a very strict Christian and wouldn’t let me drive. There were many sympathetic comments and a few anonymous brochures on spouse abuse or brainwashing attached to our door.

Matters were cleared up promptly.

Patrick
Patrick
9 years ago

JD, I think you’re just being a bit too nice here, I personally don’t find Elaine’s comment representative of recent GRS posts or being particularly productive in any way.

jesinalbuquerque
jesinalbuquerque
9 years ago

Other people’s judgments = the reason god gave me a middle finger.

Jo@simplybeingmum
9 years ago

“Do what’s right for you” Bang On! We all get a bit twitchy when a post from one of our fave blogs touches a nerve – but we have to remember that we all have different priorities and situations. If a post about biking just gets every reader to clock up an extra 5 mile on their bike that week then job done. “Nobodys Perfect”! Your comment about letting food spoil freaked me out though 🙂 Check out my No Waste Tastes Great Challenge for inspiration. Just off to oil my chain, may just do a couple of miles tom… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
9 years ago

“What Do You Care What Other People Think?” Not much. “Other people” are wrong as often as they’re right, and they’re almost unfamiliar with my own (or your own) personal situation. Just the other day, after I told someone at work, “I don’t watch many movies” he replied, “just wait till your kid’s born — you’ll be watching Dumbo 27 times in a row.” I couldn’t reply with anything else but, “I don’t even see how that will be possible since I don’t have a TV, it might make that difficult.” Other people are clueless, it doesn’t matter what they… Read more »

Lyn
Lyn
9 years ago

Excellent comment. Reminds me of a saying that I try to keep in the top of my memory pile: “What other people think of you is none of your business.”

Jess J
Jess J
9 years ago

Isn’t expressing your thoughts and opinions the point of being able to comment on a post? In the quote, Elaine was simply doing that: expressing that something was bothering her. Whether she knows that she has the ability to choose to stop being “bothered” by others’ comments, is up to her. True, we judge; and true, we don’t like to be judged. Fortunately, I’ve found that having compassion for myself and others greatly lessens the negative impact of judgements – whether I’m the judge or the one being judged. For example, judging obese people does not benefit me at all…… Read more »

Sara
Sara
9 years ago

I really think that a lot of it depends on the tone of the author. I didn’t read the biking article yesterday (I don’t bike, don’t plan too) so I can’t comment on that, but some articles come across as very judgmental, and some don’t. Like Ian’s video and article on being debt free and building his house – that was awesome! The tone of the article was clearly “this is something really cool that I’ve done, and I want to share.” It’s like the difference in tone between: I’m a SAHM. I love being there for my kids and… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago

I don’t give a damn about what any of you think.

Please carry on.

Amanda
Amanda
9 years ago

Zillow.com gives each house a walk score, the higher the better. Something to look at before buying a house. We really like being able to walk to restaurants, the grocery store and the like. My husband could ride the bus to work for $1.25/week, much less than driving and it only takes about 10 minutes more a way. He has debated it many times and always comes to the conclusion that he likes driving and it’s worth it to pay more. That’s ok, it’s one of our spluges and we can cut back in other ways. It’s nice to know… Read more »

Anne
Anne
9 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

1.25 a week? Where do you live? Where I live, one trip with a discounted ticket isn’t 1.25.

Amanda
Amanda
9 years ago
Reply to  Anne

Glendale, Ca, the Beeline is a quarter a way and all buses are free in La Canada, Ca where my husband’s work is.

Joseph mwangi
Joseph mwangi
9 years ago

Let me chime in here if i may- as lots of other people have commented. We are emotional and relational beings- like it or not. That is why it matters a lot what your parents told you when you were a toddler. If they called you a fool, looser good for nothing @#$#- you probably became successful just to prove them wrong, or have lots of bitterness as a result. What difference does it make to toddler vs an adult? Very small! We- human beings still need a person or people who can believe in us and that is why… Read more »

Matt B.
Matt B.
9 years ago

To E. Murphy (#79): We “chose” to live in an urban neighborhood where the kids’ school is less than a mile away and there have been dedicated bike lanes installed on all the major thoroughfares. The new mayor is also working on installing over 100 miles of new, protected bike lanes throughout the city. When the kids are older, they can bike themselves or walk to school. I understand that not everyone has this option, but hopefully in the future the physical patterns of suburban and urban living will continue to change to allow for more transportation options for families,… Read more »

Jennifer 2
Jennifer 2
9 years ago

I think part of the problem with this is the sanctimonious tone that sometimes accompanies these conversations (such as biking vs. driving). Somehow, that discussion seems to usually be missing an understanding that what works for you doesn’t always work for everyone else and it’s not always a callous disregard for what is (obviously!) a superior way to live that makes people make different choices. It also unconsciously touches on some class differences. Uprooting yourself to move to a city simply for an ideal is a decision that cannot be made by people living closer to the margins. It, by… Read more »

Shalom
Shalom
9 years ago
Reply to  Jennifer 2

Thanks, Jennifer. For me that’s exactly it. (And it’s why I abandoned TSD several years ago but stuck with GRS.)

Jennifer 2
Jennifer 2
9 years ago
Reply to  Shalom

Yeah, I occasionally swing by TSD (I’m a sucker for advice columns) but the preachiness is off-putting. It makes me start to feel positively Marxist as I run through the reasons why a person who’s on the lower end of things really would have difficulties making those choices. What Trent has done for himself is impressive, but not everyone can live the Horatio Alger myth. Without ranting too much, I feel as though many people will present this idea (e.g. biking) as a great money saver and then turn around and say to someone who’s struggling: well, you’re not using… Read more »

Rosa
Rosa
9 years ago
Reply to  Jennifer 2

I don’t necessarily buy the class thing, because I am from a poor-ass little town where most people have to move away, just to get a job. A friend of mine did a few years in the mill then high-tailed it to the same city I ended up in – just to find that half our graduating class was already here. I know a lot of middle-class kids who stayed where they grew up (often working in the industries their parents are in, or in the small companies their parents own) but working-class jobs have disappeared so bad, the rest… Read more »

Jennifer 2
Jennifer 2
9 years ago
Reply to  Rosa

The class thing basically comes in to play when you have to make a change. When you’ve just graduated from high school and have relatively few responsibilities and dependents, it’s cheaper (and thus more feasible) to uproot yourself in hopes of something better. Taking that risk isn’t for everyone, but it is fairly doable. Once you throw dependents or other responsibilities (that you may be doing in exchange for help elsewhere in your life in part of the non-monetary give and take you get into in settled neighborhoods) there’s both social pressure and your safety net to think of. If… Read more »

Sarah
Sarah
9 years ago

What if we chose to live our American lives by pretending we live in Europe? http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/27/science/earth/27traffic.html

This article has made me try to create a shift in my own life. Convenience is just a matter of adjusting one’s expectations.

Frugal Texas Gal
Frugal Texas Gal
9 years ago
Reply to  Sarah

As someone who spent seven years in Germany and has considered retiring there. I would say that downtown pedestrian zones are true heaven. However, every town, large or small has safe, reliable, 24 hour public transportation as far away is the outer suburbs and even the country. Without that, expecting people to “park and drive” to shop or go to dinner is unrealistic.

And while germany is probably as environmentally perfect as a country gets overall, lets not forget that no speed limit on the autobahn stuff (is that why im still getting traffic tickets four years later??)

Eileen
Eileen
9 years ago

Careful, JD, your ego is showing. What I mean is, some recent posts seem rather devoid of substance. Sure, it’s your blog and you can do what you want. Yes, I like it because it’s more personal than other blogs and I really connected with your story. And fine, each entry is carefully written and edited to a degree superior to many news sites. But….please avoid these entries that are so focused on the needs of a few members of this community, lest it become insular. We want more substantive money lessons and less whining (and/or acknowledgement of others’ whining).… Read more »

KM
KM
9 years ago

Wow, what a battle in the comments! I’m surprised at the number of people commenting who seemed to entirely miss JD’s point here–that the ideas in the blog aren’t provided so people can one-up each other in the virtuousness department, but just as plain old money-saving ideas that people are free to use (or not) as they work (or not) for them. Sometimes a money-saving suggestion is just a money-saving suggestion, you know? If it makes you mad, maybe you should check your baggage. I’d never bike to work–too many kids to haul around and other issues that prevent it… Read more »

L
L
9 years ago

I thought the article was about making the choices that work for you and your circumstances. But, apparently others think it’s still about the bike vs. the car. Obviously it’s a choice, no matter the level of practicality or convenience involved, there’s always a choice. That doesn’t mean you have the right to judge the person that makes a different choice than you. Sheesh!

Mike J
Mike J
9 years ago

I agree with KM (comment 90) I think many people have missed the plot here!

I wouldn’t bike to work but I see why people would do as it’s a great way to help the environment.

I think JD was just sharing a simple money saving tip and some people totally got the wrong end of the stick, it wasn’t supposed to be judgemental!

rail
rail
9 years ago

Wow JD your topic got highjacked again! I didnt know bicycle riders could be so antagonistic. It realy suprised me because I bicycle! Look folks, I ride a bike when I can, were I can. I dont ride to work because I work on call 24/7 with a 1.5 hr call time. I live 15 miles from work. Remember this is on 3 miles of gravel road and in Iowa. Snow,cold,tornados,blizzards etc. put a downer on riding all the time. On the plus side we live only a mile or so from town so I can make lots of errands… Read more »

suzanne
suzanne
9 years ago

This is a silly dialogue… Of course we’ve all made decisions, that doesn’t make the pro-bike/walk group any more important, or LESS important than the folks who are unable… or just dont WANT to transport themselves in any manner aside from an automobile.

Why is society today becoming so black and white? Right and Wrong… one way or another. Why does one group have to be RIGHT and the ones who don’t feel that way HAVE to be wrong.

chacha1
chacha1
9 years ago

I mean seriously. Someone feels bad to read about biking, because biking isn’t practical for their life? Do they feel bad when they read about someone with curly hair, because theirs is straight? That just makes NO sense to me. If it isn’t practical, just file it under “not practical” and move on! No need to tell the world it makes you feel bad. All you’re doing is confirming to yourself that you feel bad, for no reason, and to no purpose. Are you looking for reassurance? “Oh, it’s okay if you don’t bike, we understand everybody’s life is different”… Read more »

EMH
EMH
9 years ago

Let’s put an end to this debate. Here is what you can do with your bikes.

http://www.bicycles-for-humanity.org/Introduction.php

Say What?!
Say What?!
9 years ago

From reading some of the comments, me ‘tinks some people missed the point of the article…and umm I feel so JUDGED right now! LOL!

Meep
Meep
9 years ago

Some people will not be fully happy until they are cycling home to their compostable cardboard mini-houses and growing food using their own manure and carefully re-arranging their 100 items in the evenings before they go to bed at dusk and wake naturally with the dawn. It’s almost like some sort of new fetish.

barnetto
barnetto
9 years ago
Reply to  Meep

^_^

While being childless and working to save the whales.

Melanie
Melanie
9 years ago

Bike, don’t bike. Who cares? Do what’s right for you.

Darwin's Money
Darwin's Money
9 years ago

It’s real easy to be overly judgmental about others, especially with the anonymity that the web provides. People tend to say things online that they would never say to your face. I’ve been guilty of this myself in both my posts and my comments. Thanks for the reminder!

Heidi@pocketchangebook.com
9 years ago

Yep–I love the last paragraph–“instead of criticizing yourself, notice what you’re doing right.” It seems that approach would generate a lot more energy and positive emotion, and that, in turn, would support motivation and persistence rather than sabotaging them.

Jaime
Jaime
9 years ago

Hi J.D. well sometimes people project their insecurities on others or think other people are judging them when they’re not. I live in Nebraska and you really need a car to get by. Frankly I prefer a car. The whole bike vs. car argument is old. I’ve realized there will always be people who judge you, whether you bicycle or not. You have to be confident that you’re making the right choices for your life. Personally I don’t want to bike anywhere. Not even if I lived in Portland. I like my car. Some people like their cars. So what?… Read more »

Kevin
Kevin
9 years ago
Reply to  Jaime

“Personally I don’t want to bike anywhere. Not even if I lived in Portland. I like my car. Some people like their cars. So what? ooh I like driving a car. big deal.” Exactly. Personally, I don’t like having to drive my used motor oil and turpentine back to the garage to be disposed of “properly.” So I just dump it down my sink. And I don’t like recycling, so I just throw all my paper and plastic in the garbage. Also used batteries. And I don’t like paint rollers, so I paint all the walls of my house entirely… Read more »

Jaime
Jaime
9 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

lol. I got the point 😉

Jynet
Jynet
9 years ago

I’m amazed that the first comment on a post about not judging each other is judgemental. And so is the second… and so many others. Or maybe I’m not amazed… just disappointed. I am very good friends with a Vegan Organic farmer who lives an hour outside of the city (driving time) but who still uses a bike to get to most places. He bikes many miles farther in a day than I would think of biking in a week (or a year, honestly, lol). He grows almost all of his own food, and trades with friends for a lot… Read more »

Elaine Huckabay
Elaine Huckabay
9 years ago

Perhaps it’s all semantics at the end of the day, but I take great lengths to separate my “ego” from my “identity” and so in saying that the article hurt my “ego,” I was in no way, shape, or form implying that I care what other people think about me. In fact, I was implying that while I wished I could bike more often and even get rid of my car (desire), it’s not possible for my life, so to align that with my values, I choose to drive a cheapy old car that gets great mileage and isn’t anything… Read more »

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