How do you treat / deal with your "non-enthusiast" friends? How do they deal with you?

Aug 25, 2001
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#1
I've got a few close friends, most of which, I build / repair / upgrade PCs for, or give them PCs every few years.

I've started to reflect, a little more, this morning, about one of those friends, and then, come to the conclusion that not all of my friends, that have owned desktop PCs and used them for years, are "enthusiasts".

Some of them, just want the thing to work, do what they want, without any impediments or errors, and they don't want to have to actually put in any time to learn how to use it. (This friend that I'm thinking about, has had PCs for over 15 years, and he still calls me when he need to figure out how to open a .ZIP file. Go figure.) Let's call him a non-enthusiast, or at least, a non-motivated enthusiast. He wants to "do streaming", and "be famous". Well, you need to walk (learn how to copy and unzip files), before you can run (run a streaming rig). He seems to secretly want to be an enthusiast, but doesn't want to put in the effort, just wants things handed to him. (Been trying to get him to build his potential new AM4 PC, but so far, he's refused.) He did once build an AM1 PC for his GF, that I had the idea to do, under my direction. He managed it fine. Which strikes me as strange that he isn't willing to do the same thing for his own PC, a few years later. He doesn't believe me that it's not that hard. Although, he installed a video card, finally, completely on his own, not too long ago, after I helped him install one a few weeks before.

Another one of my friends, who is also a long-time gamer, is a semi-enthusiast. He can change a video card out, and maybe re-format a PC, not sure. But he's never built one from scratch. I would love to help him do that, but he doesn't seem too interested, unless his PC isn't playing his games that well anymore. Or maybe I've denied him the opportunity, since I always seem to have PCs to hook my friends up with, when theirs dies.

Another one of my friends, I helped build a PC with (a Core2), and then, when that got a bit older, he built an FM2 rig, mostly on his own, although he asked a lot of questions. He has since built an AM4 rig, pretty-much entirely on my own. I consider him an enthusiast, even though he's not a gamer. We swap PC build tips, and component sale prices.

I guess, sometimes, I forget, that not all of my friends are as much of a "PC Enthusiast" as I am. (I guess, I'm kind of build-crazy, sometimes. Gotta get that YouTube going at some point.)

Friend #1 above, gets really annoyed at me, when I send him links to discounted PC parts, and items that I think that are relevant to his computing needs. In contrast, friend #3 doesn't mind.
 

ctbaars

Golden Member
Nov 4, 2009
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#3
It is good to have friends that are not like you. You have to meet each other in common ground and laugh at each other about the uncommon ground.
 
Apr 3, 2001
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#4
It doesn't really come up, there are very, very few instances where I'll be involved in doing something with someone else's PC these days. I'm sure part of this is related to me prefacing every related question with "Well, I'd probably want to google it, but [rough diagnosis guess]".
Seems like maybe your one friend is suffering from what seems to be a relatively common form of learned helplessness, where people assume that since they don't know how to do a certain thing, they can't do a certain thing.
 

Tormac

Senior member
Feb 3, 2011
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#5
VirtualLarry,

I think it is a mistake to be more invested in someone’s projects than they are. I have a similar friend to yours. I am mostly self-taught when it comes to computers skills, but have been a big computer nerd most of my life. I have a friend that at one time wanted to be a computer technician, and has had taken multiple A+ certification courses at local community colleges, and graduated from a networking program as well.

He still frequently contacts me, asking me to do simple diagnostic things for him, and help him upgrade his computers. At one point I was trying to get him to do things for himself, especially given that he had the goal of doing this professionally. I encouraged him to do things himself, and I would only step in if I thought he was really getting over his head.

I found this just lead to anger and frustration on his part, and was slowly make me go crazy as well.

If your non-enthusiast friend just does not want to do things on his own, there is no point in trying to get him to do so. It sounds like your non-enthusiast friend wants to be a big twitch streamer, which is really a different skill set than desktop support anyways. If he asks how to get started making his own videos send him a youtube link to videos on OBS, and call it a day. Don’t jump in and try to wade out neck deep on something with your non-enthusiast friend if he really does not want to go there anyways.

Edited to Add,

nakedfrog, I think there is something to your post. My friend has had twice the formal computer training that I have had, but he seems afraid to try to do even the simplest things. He has this attitude that everything computer related is easy for me, and hard for him. The fact that I earned most of my computer skills the hard way, by playing with things (and sometimes breaking things then having to figure out how to fix them) seems lost on him. He assumes that because I have fixed things in the past everything is somehow easy for me, and discounts that frequently he is asking me about things that I have no idea about, and have to learn how to do so I can show him how to do them.
 
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Nov 8, 2012
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#6
Some people want to know how things work.

Others just want the item itself to "work".

I think it's just 2 different mindsets - but one is generally a more successful mindset :p
 
Sep 13, 2001
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#7
I'm pretty much an "enthusiast" in anything I have as a regular hobby, but I know a lot of people who aren't, and most of my friends aren't.
 
Aug 25, 2001
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#8
Seems like maybe your one friend is suffering from what seems to be a relatively common form of learned helplessness, where people assume that since they don't know how to do a certain thing, they can't do a certain thing.
Yeah, that's pretty spot-on. He loves to sort of "play the victim" - "here, I don't know how to do this, and you know that I don't, so why don't you just do this for me!!!"

Edit: I'm not saying I mind helping him out... for the first 10 times or so. But after that, you would think that possibly, he would learn to do X,Y, and Z on his own, on his PC.
 
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WilliamM2

Golden Member
Jun 14, 2012
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#9
I don't think I have any friends that still use a PC at home, they all use phones. It's nice not having to deal with their malware issues anymore...

Most are actually surprised when they see the setup I have at home.

I did just replace the screen on my sisters new laptop, and I put an SSD in it as well.
 
Jan 8, 2010
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#11
I am the only one I know with an actual PC these days...but I'd not call me an enthusiast these days either, mine is 7-8 years old and doing just fine.
 
Oct 10, 1999
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#12
Do you have other things in life that you enjoy other than your PC hobby?

Most of my friends are people I work with, some are hardware geeks, but there are the BBQ geeks, the hipster beer geeks, the film nerds, and various other folks. Find common ground.
 
Jan 8, 2010
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#13
I think part of the problem is - or at least what I run into regularly at work - is that it baffles me that in this technological age so many people have zero idea how things work at all. It really comes down to the 'ease of use'. People who think facebook or google are 'the internet' and do not understand what a browser is but they use them everyday but if that browser doesn't open those pages, 'the internet is broke'.
 
Apr 3, 2001
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#14
I think part of the problem is - or at least what I run into regularly at work - is that it baffles me that in this technological age so many people have zero idea how things work at all. It really comes down to the 'ease of use'. People who think facebook or google are 'the internet' and do not understand what a browser is but they use them everyday but if that browser doesn't open those pages, 'the internet is broke'.
This past weekend, I had someone from our helpdesk call me because "a client couldn't log in".
I look at the email from the client, and it starts with the sentence "I just logged in" (then goes on to detail that when they click on a thing, they get an error).
 

UsandThem

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
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#15
I don't do PC upgrades for family anymore (outside of the ones in our house). I occasionally get a call about a family member clicked on a link, and now their PC is fubared (like when my father in law gave his credit card number to the "tech support" malware pop-up and they had his files encrypted by them). But I get along good with them, so it gives me a chance to tease them about it for a few years, plus they always send me an electronic Amazon gift card for helping them fix it over the phone. :D

Outside of a few rare calls like that, they usually just send me a text or email every 5 years when buying a new desktop / laptop / tablet, making sure it's a good choice for their needs. However, the desktops are all pre-built PCs from Dell, HP, etc.
 

Mayne

Diamond Member
Apr 13, 2014
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#16
I hear you. It's a pain in the ass to even educate them on an adblocker.
 

KentState

Diamond Member
Oct 19, 2001
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I think all of my true friendships have evolved past the building computers as we grew up. This was a deal back in 2001 when I joined the site, but since then things like careers, kids, houses, starting and business and such have become the bigger focus. Something like building a PC is such a micro event in life that it's come up maybe once or twice in the last 5 years. You joined the forum around the same time I did and hopefully after 18+ years of knowing your friend, these types of inter personal difference would have been resolved. I know I haven't changed the opinions or view points of things like building a pc with mine, but we have a lot more impactful experiences over time that seem to be much more meaningful. Sorry if that seems harsh, but bickering over which console is best or the merits of building a pc seem to have run the course by the time I hit 40.
 
Oct 12, 2009
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#18
Sorry if that seems harsh, but bickering over which console is best or the merits of building a pc seem to have run the course by the time I hit 40.
Now, it's about who's digging the hole and how deep. Truth.

23rd Anny on Saturday. She drew the short straw. :D
 
Oct 10, 1999
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#20
What is this..."friend" thing you speak of?
You maybe play guitar with a guy who plays drums, a guy who plays bass, and maybe a keyboard player or a vocalist or something? Those might be friends
 
Jan 3, 2001
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#21
You maybe play guitar with a guy who plays drums, a guy who plays bass, and maybe a keyboard player or a vocalist or something? Those might be friends
:confused_old: - those are musicians.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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#23
Hey, well, "it's a free country." Actually, I hear it's a bad idea to drink alone. That song is not among George's best, to put it mildly. And think, that was all kool-aid.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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#24
Speaking for myself, I got my feet wet with the PC by taking a DOS course, which was kind of broad based. I then responded to an ad in the classifieds for a used PC. It had been built by an electrical engineer. He was very friendly and helpful and I must have talked to him about it for a couple of hours before I handed him the money, then I brought it home on a train. Then I used to call him occasionally and he'd answer my questions. One day I called and his wife told me that he'd developed appendicitis. She said she'd pass on the message that I'd called, guess he was in the hospital. I called a couple weeks later or so and she said he'd died. After that I had to figure stuff out by myself! I built several systems since then. Got one put together by Larry, but that's the only new one I've had that I didn't put together myself, other than my laptops, of course.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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#25
The reason I took that DOS course, and then bought a used computer and then took more courses, was that I was tired of menial jobs, low pay and super job insecurity. I sensed that there was more money and much more security if I learned to do the things that people wanted done that they couldn't do themselves. Before that I did things that they could do but didn't want to!

So, computers was a good place to go because a high percentage of people are unable (or unwilling to figure out how) to do a lot of the things done with computers that are quite essential. That includes programming them and servicing them. Of course, networking comes into this too. Myself, after failing to get anywhere in desktop publishing, I followed the advice of a friend and started learning database programming. That gets pretty deep. It's not easy (I've heard it is, but I don't think it really is!) and it requires a commitment to keep abreast of the field, which is tough. It's ever evolving. Anyway, the point is, it's possible to career in technology, but it's best done by someone willing to tackle the issues, whatever they are. And it helps if you are intelligent, and unlike that video, if you can stay sober! :) And one more thing -- You need to be persistent and determined, because there are always problems that come up and some of them can be a total bitch. And you will be defeated unless you are willing to persist until you get your solution. Been there done that so many times.
 
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