You’re a very busy person, as most Americans are. Your time is precious. After all, time is money. For every minute that you spend doing something, you’re, by definition, not doing something else. Unfortunately, if that something else that you could be doing might be putting more dollars in your pocket, then you’re actually wasting time and money doing something else.
I hope you see how opportunity cost works because a lot of people simply turn a blind eye to opportunity cost. Opportunity cost can dramatically impact the quality of your life, as well as the results you get.
You need to think in these terms and think at this level when considering any kind of support group. It’s very easy to get drawn by the emotional value of a support group. After all, who doesn’t want to interact with people who don’t judge them? Who doesn’t want to hang out with people who make them feel welcome and accepted? I get all that.
The problem is you also have to weigh that against what you’re giving up. You’re giving up the opportunity to earn more money. You’re giving up the opportunity to make better use of your time.
It’s really important then to zero in on the fact that not all debt support groups are worth your time. They’re not. Why? They’re not created equal. And it’s really important to look at certain factors so you can effectively filter the wrong support groups. These are support groups that you have no business joining.
So what factors should you pay attention to?
Stay away from support groups that are so open-ended that they’re essentially just long drawn out therapy sessions. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with talk therapy. All of us have problems and we need to talk it out. Maybe by sharing, a lot of the issues can come out and we’ll feel better.
But the problem is if there is no documentation and there is no systematic documentation-based process, it’s very easy for such support groups to essentially chase their tails. What I mean by this is that a lot of the stuff that you shared in the past will come back again and again and again.
It’s not a surprise that a lot of open-ended discussion groups tend to be long drawn out groups and people don’t really make any progress. Whether they’re working on addictions, psychological issues, emotional issues, or personality problems, the results are the same. They keep talking over and over. The sessions keep dragging on and on, and there is little tangible result. Eventually, at some point in time, members start dropping out and then new members take their place. It really is just a long repetitive process.
Focus on joining support groups that are very big on documentation. This goes a long way in ensuring that you will get the kind of results that you are hoping for.
The problem with online debt support groups is that they can go to the other extreme. Since their focus is on written communication, it’s easy to miss out on non-textual signals.
The value of face-to-face support groups is that you’re picking up on a lot of non-verbal and non-textual signals. You’re picking up on facial expressions. You get an idea regarding their demeanor. There are all sorts of body language signals that they’re sending out.
All these combine into a big picture that you simply miss out on if you join an online debt support group. How can you pick up on this? You can’t, because everything is written. Everything is chat-based. Even if you participate in a Skype video conference, a lot of the facial expressions and context simply go over your head. In many cases, they are simply too easy to overlook because the video quality might not be all that great.
Have you ever gone to a meeting where certain people just set you at ease? Have you watched a live speech made by somebody with so much presence that you were able to gain a high level of confidence just by being in the same room as that person? Welcome to the world of aura.
Aura is an intangible quality that people bring with their presence. There’s just something about them that is more than the sum of their body language, facial expressions, demeanor, and the words coming out of their mouth. They just have such a strong presence that they help trigger all sorts of internal changes in you. You don’t benefit from this if you join an online debt support group.
My bottom line is that online debt support groups are useful, but up to a point. If you want to truly make progress, then you cannot skip out on the value of face-to-face interaction. This is where real life non-virtual support groups come in.