Last week I offered a list of 7 people you want to steer clear of when looking at creating a group. Regardless of what your group’s purpose is, those types of people will put you in a poor position. The problem with that list is that it wasn’t complete. There are more people you don’t want, and today we’ll look at them.
If the last article made you cringe knowingly or bristle a bit, this next list will probably be even worse. Again, set aside your feelings, look at this from a critical perspective, and really ask yourself if the situations being described are all that far-fetched. You’ll start seeing exactly why these people are on the list. Let’s get started.
5 More People You Don’t Want in Your Group
- The Financially Irresponsible Guy
- The Narcissist
- The Guy on Psych Meds
- The Gossip Guy
- The Cheating Guy
The Financially Irresponsible Guy
Someone who cannot intelligently or responsibly handle money will always need it; that’s an open vulnerability.
We all know that person; we might even have been that person at one point in our lives. They never seem to have any money; they’re living paycheck to paycheck and don’t have any savings or even an emergency fund. For these folks, an unexpected car repair of even a few hundred dollars could send them into a financial spiral. They might have huge credit card debts because they or their spouse won’t control their spending (sometimes this goes hand-in-hand with the whole “can’t stand up to his wife” thing, but guys are bad about it too). They might have a secret vice that is costing them money; gambling, pot, drinking, pills, online shopping, whatever. I’ve seen people with online habits costing them over $1000 per month or more. Financial irresponsibility often overlaps with other issues, such as a vice, addiction, or inability to manage one’s life in an adult manner.
This isn’t about controlling where your group members spend their money. It’s not about throwing out anyone in your group who’s paying down some staggering medical bills or student loans, or who had to go through a bankruptcy. It’s not about announcing that anyone with a mortgage or credit card is “irresponsible” and can’t play in your reindeer games. It is, however, about ensuring that your group members are not in a “no-win” situation in which they desperately need money and can be put into a trap where they need it bad enough that they’ll do things or associate with people they normally would not.
Most people could use more money. That’s normal. What’s not okay for you and your group is someone who consistently lives above their means or in the grip of a financial vise. People do strange and even awful things if they need money bad enough.
The question then becomes “what if a solid guy in my group is having severe money problems?” Well, like it or not, that creates risk. I’ve seen some groups help each other out in that way; in one situation I’m aware of, one group member who is loyal and trustworthy went through a medical situation that wiped him out very quickly. He was facing utilities being shut off, had no food in the house, and that sort of thing. His group couldn’t help with the medical bills, but they paid his lights and heat, brought over some groceries for him and his family, and took that intense temporary pressure off. By doing so, they 1) reinforced loyalty within the group, 2) showed support for their member, reinforcing group dynamic, and 3) removed what could have become an overwhelming temptation for that member to stray into dangerous territory in order to feed his kids. Should you always do that, or even do it more than once for a group member? I would say no, but you and your group should be the arbiters of what’s acceptable there.
Someone who is driven by their need for attention is incapable of protecting information and is vulnerable to ego stroking.
We all know what a narcissist is. Everything they do is about them, or calculated to ensure that they will receive the attention they crave. In a group dynamic, this could manifest as any of the following:
- Purposely choosing actions for the group to take because those actions will give the narcissist public attention or media exposure
- Creating drama by seeing offenses or “disrespect” where there is none
- Positioning for leadership spots or ‘taking over’ when they aren’t fit to do so
- Poor followers (which make poor leaders)
- Vanity or attention-seeking that puts the group in a dangerous position
- Propensity to put their own emotional needs before group goals
The list goes on. In short, there is nothing that a narcissist brings to the table that you should want. I’ve heard groups say, “Yeah, Jack is pretty self-absorbed and it causes problems, but he’s also the only one who can program the radios/repair firearms/insert skillset here.” That’s called a training issue, as in, you need some so Jack is no longer the only one who can X.
Why is this a problem? Aside from the list above, a narcissist is extremely vulnerable. Their pathological need for attention and/or delusions of grandeur will drive them to not only seek it out everywhere, but also to charge ahead without thinking if they see their need is about to be met. That is easily leveraged; it only takes a few well-placed ego strokes to steer them.
The Guy on Psych Meds
Someone who needs psychotropic medication in order to function in their everyday life will be a problem if they either choose to stop taking their meds or no longer have access to them.
This is a controversial topic. More people are on some form of psychotropic drugs than ever before; whether someone is bipolar, depressed, has anxiety, or whatever else, there’s a medication for it. While this article isn’t going to get into the pros and cons of such medications, there is a very good argument to be made for excluding these folks from your group. There is no place for political correctness or feelings here.
Perhaps you have someone in the group who’s been diagnosed as bipolar. They’re managing it with medication and/or therapy but what happens if they quit either of those? What physical, emotional, or mental side effects come with that? What happens in a SHTF situation when they can’t get those things anymore? The default question is this: Is someone who must rely on medication to function capable of the mental toughness required for survival? Look at what these medications are: anti-psychotic, anti-anxiety, anti-depressants, etc. Do you want psychosis, anxiety, or depression in your group? Affecting your operations?
Are they trustworthy to the level they need to be? Can they be depended on to do their job in any situation even in an unmedicated state? How do you know? Have you seen them do it? Will they have a mental or emotional breakdown in times of extreme stress? By default, the term “mental illness” means “mentally sick.” As in, not performing in the normal healthy way. This presents a problem for your group. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people, or that they aren’t like-minded, or that you need to never speak to them again. It means that they come with risk and liability you may want to think twice about incorporating into your dynamics.
The Gossip Guy
Someone who will cut down or denigrate people to you, will do the same to others about you.
Over at Survivalblog, a reader commented on the first article on this subject, pointing out another problem person for you and your group: the passive-aggressive guy, or gossip guy.
He’s that guy who pretends he doesn’t want to be in charge, but is constantly playing “survivor” by breaking into small conversation with side-groups to push his own agenda. If he talks about people behind-their-back now, how much worse will it be in WROL [a without rule of law situation]?
This is actually a pretty effective infiltration tactic, and one that I cover in class. While not everyone who does this is an infiltrator, they are in some ways a bad actor because their goals are separate and often counteractive to those of the group. They may want power, control, or simply to split the group. They may be whispering about leadership, eroding loyalty and group cohesiveness. They might just have no integrity, which manifests as two-faced activities. Whatever the deal, it’s not something you want around.
The Cheating Guy
Someone who has cheated or is cheating on their spouse exhibits a severe lack of loyalty, character, and integrity, and should never be allowed into your group.
To round out the list today, we’ll talk about the cheater. Contrary to what society will tell you, cheating on your spouse is one of the deepest forms of betrayal. Aside from what it says about you as a person, it is a huge, blinking neon sign that says, “I can be leveraged.” Secrets have power because they’re secrets. If someone in your group is cheating on his wife, then anyone willing to leverage him with that can do so. Anyone who knows about it has power over him. When the information comes out, it can tear a group apart.
Does this mean that you should kick someone to the curb who screwed up at 22 and now 20 years later they’re a different person with a long history of exemplary conduct? No. You should, however, look long and hard at more recent indiscretions. Is it still a secret or has the information come out? How was it resolved? Were there kids involved? Did the respective homes break up? How long did it go on? Was the person impaired at the time? You may decide that you need more information to make a determination — and you may decide that you don’t want anyone who has ever done such a thing at all, regardless of circumstance. That’s up to you and your group.
But No One is Perfect!
It’s true that we’ve all screwed up. We’ve all done things we aren’t proud of. No one’s perfect. Yes, all of that is correct. What’s important to note, however, is that every day we have a choice. We can choose to have character. We can choose not to. We can choose to hold a high standard for our group, or we can rationalize dropping those standards. We can pursue truth, or we can fall to political correctness or societal pressure. What you did 10 years ago might be light years away from how you’d handle that situation now. Should a group take a chance on someone, however, who appears to not have learned those lessons? Who shows a consistent pattern? Who shows an inconsistent pattern with recent occurrences?
As you look at people in your group, complete the following sentence: *Group Member* is really good at *skill* but he unfortunately also does _____________. Everyone can fill in that blank with something, and that something could be a small annoyance, a little foible, or a big disturbing thing. The question is, are you willing to deal with the potential side effects, results, or fallout of whatever is in that blank? Are you willing to bet the next 30 years of your life on that blank not biting you?