討論逐字稿: Debt, Obligation, Empathy 2014/10/17 discussion

I remember we talked about transactions in the previous discussion, and also obligation.
What do you remember from the discussion?
When I came in, you guys were just talking about teamwork, and you described, mentioned that contribution and trust and sacrifice
Compromise!
Yes, and then we moved up to transaction, and we mentioned that market and profit and the idea that the Japanese company was about.
And we discussed what's the difference between altruism and self-interest.
So do you have any thoughts on that?
Sorry, not yet
Did you bring something?
Yes, I linked to the article
It's about a very popular idea, corporate social responsibility. Is that self-interest or altruism?

Let's vote!
It's too early--
It's never too early to vote!
Self interest: 5
Altruism: 1
But I remember in this article, it mentioned it's about altruism, somewhere.
Why is it self-interest?
It's human nature
What's that mean?
I think it's a way for human beings to survive. I think that's the point. We have this characteristic, to survive
The idea that western culture has dichotomous thinking, I keep thinking about this, so when I see the vote, can we just divide self interest and altruism as different things? Or do they merge, is it on a spectrum
You know, when we vote, you can vote more than once…

Transaction and friendship
What is the relationship between people in a transaction? Are they equals?
They're supposed to be equal.
That's the ideal, or the assumption

How much do you have to know about someone to make a transaction with them? When in a transaction with someone, to what level do we have to think about them as a person? How much do we have to think about their feelings, their concerns? What kinds of transactions require more knowledge of the other party?
For me, if the budget of the transaction is very large compared to my wealth, I will need a very detailed information about the counter-party, including their credit record, and their working background or current life. I also need detailed information about the products or properties that I would like to exchange...
Whew. Finance
For instance the quality, and how many years it will last.
Wow, I always want you on my team
She can do so much evaluation
It's about assets or products
For instance if you want to buy a diamond
But it's not about their feelings, their concerns!
Because I'm a finance person, now you know the difference.
But you're the psychologist, you naturally think about this.
You can give a good example, about transaction
Yeah, how do you do a transaction in your field. You provide a service, and they pay you money
Yes, and I have a third party to collect the money.
Can I be the third party?
Are you serious, you get money through a third party
You think it's an outside industry, he's talking about his employers
But in my industry, the third party is very sensitive
I'm just kind of kidding, about the transaction
We weren't, we want to know!
I'm not clear about the question, can you repeat it?
Because you mention about the feelings and the concerns, how do you think about your clients..?
That's my job! That's all I do!
That is his job description!!
Do you want him to give his resume?
In his case, he doesn't have to focus on the quality of the counter-party
What do you do if they don't pay?
They pay first!
What if they don't want to come back?
No, they come in, and pay, and come in to talk
Yes, but don't you feel like they should come back?
Sometimes they don't, they just drop out
Do you want them to come back
Yes, but it's paradoxical, I try to make them not need to come back.
Because your work is
Your work is really incredible
It's not really profitable
But it shouldn't be about profit
We're totally different
No, I think your jobs are totally different
Why do you think it shouldn't be about profit
If my goal is profit, then my goal would be to keep the person not getting well. I've heard of people doing that and I … wow.
But if they keep coming back to have discussion with you, then you can make sure they are getting better, right?
No it's different, he cannot carry this person for their whole life.
You sound like a psychologist
I'm a natural!

Do we make transactions with friends?
Yes, sometimes?
Is the feeling different?
Yes
How do you know?
It's up to the different person. Sometimes we do transactions in different ways with friends and strangers. Sometimes people just do transactions as business.

Is it a good idea to run a business with a friend? Is it a good idea to sell something to a friend? Is it more or less complicated than transacting with a stranger?
Yes. 1
No. 2
Both. 3
Why yes?
Because you know them already, you know their problems, and you know why you want to work with them
Actually sometimes you thought you might want to work with them, but after a while it might not work out
That's why westerners say don't do it.
I don’t just choose any friend, though, I choose someone mature enough that if it doesn't work out our friendship can survive
Actually architecture is kind of a weird mix of friendship and clients
In my business, it's not in our interest to be friends with our clients. It's not ethical.
Okay, those that said 'no'. Why?
And what's the difference between friend and family
I want to change my vote to yes, actually a lot of business in Taiwan start from teams of friends or classmates, they know each other, and they know each other's abilities, they can build a so-called start-up team, have a good division of labour, they have a same goal, same vision, so they work well.
And sometimes they fall apart. The interesting part about this series is when a startup is broken, will the teammates also be friends. I don't know maybe yes maybe no
It depends on what happened.
Yes!
But actually, friends who run businesses with friends have a lot of benefits
Like what?
Like I said, they know each other, and they know what each other think and what each other do.
Okay, another no answer
If I treat my friend as my friend, I don't want to run any business with them, because if we have some…it's about money
You don't want your friends involved with money.
I think our relationship should avoid things like money
Why, what's the problem?
Because we may have some arguments, fights or quarrels,
So the argument will break the friendship?
Yes, definitely
So do you think there is no formal roles between friends, maybe we can e friends, but business is business. Can we do the two things? Maybe we are still friends? So we can talk formally and have formal roles, but besides that we are still friends. Do you think this kind of situation doesn't exist
It's hard to achieve
You'd have to be fairly mature

Okay, both?
[the business might change the people]
And so that might change the friendship
But I think it depends on how strong your friendship is
[might have some conflict with the money, the relationship has to be clear, no cheating]
In ordinary life, you are friends, but when you get into a transaction model, you both of you need to change.
No, still friends, but we know the goal of business is to get money, but maybe must 10% is enough, but other people want double or triple, and this might break the friendship
So things have to be very clear before you start
So the discrepancy between the definition of friends.
If I called everyone my friend, I could do the business with everybody. So if my definition of a friend is I talk to them for an hour, so I can't do any business with them. No way.
So there's a difference between acquaintance and friend

So what's your definition of a friend
Someone I can really talk to for an hour
Oh, by that measure I have no friends, I only Line
Oh, that's talking
I categorize friends in to categories. Some friends are for sharing info and learning new info, that's you guys, and some friends are for shopping and playing games, and then there's people you can share feelings and life goals, so for me, everyone can be my friends
But if it's everyone, it's not friends
But for me, it is, because I have a lot of categories. So the definition is you want to keep a long relationship with that person, no matter what kind. Even a commercial relationship...
So your manager is your friend? Is that true
But she has the opportunity to be her friend!
If one day I find I can keep a long relationship with my line manager, like maybe I'm not her staff anymore
So you ARE distinguishing between transactional and friendship relationship.
Oh, okay, for me in the office I’m just a staff, but when I leave the office, I will talk with my line manager on Line, and we don't talk about business and working, we'll share our feelings
So she's becoming your friend.
Do you consider all the friends on FB is your real friends?
No, of course not!
I will categorize them
[…]
He said, he'll accept anyone who wants to connect with him, but he won't actively connect with them
Wow, so you're like a movie star
I want to be, but not
So you're a movie star with out a movie
A king without a kingdom
My definition of a friend is a person or people I want to, I feel comfortable to be with them, or have a spectrum, some friends I will share my feelings with them, and some share information with them depends.
So you think the strangers and the friends, are on a spectrum?
Are there outliers? Or?
Interpersonal relationship have a spectrum
Strangers…acquaintance….friends….close friends. It gets more detailed
And sometimes you make friends with strangers. Like the two of us went to England several years ago, and we just met a nice person, and we talk a lot during the trip, and during that trip, for us it's just a stranger, after he came to Taiwan, and we show him around Taipei sometimes, even though we have not kept in contact for two or three years after that, sometimes this person, you will still think about your memories with this person, or some words he put in our heart. When you learn something from that person, so I think friendship will never end.
You remind me of something, friendship is based on or established from time spent with each other. This is the foundation of friendship. So I don't call anyone I’ve know for two hours a friend, I don't agree that they could be. They wouldn’t really be friends, in the category of friends
For me that's a key difference as well
My turn! I think friends are those people I'm not afraid of being cheated by. For instance, I could talk to my colleague for three hours, but in my heart I'd be afraid of being betrayed. So when I talk to this person I would calculate the words to say. So I wouldn't call them a friend. So friendship is a kind of status
The grade of closeness?
A kind of trust
I think it's about calculating or not when you talk to them.
So strangers, you could be friends in one minute
That's true! I once asked somebody to take a picture for me, and we became friends in 5 minutes.
So could you do business with them?
No, I'd be afraid to lose this friend.
I think you should come to 'no'
I think it's both, because if you've known someone for a long time. For example, a friend from my school days, I think of the time working with her was a great experience, so I would choose to run business with her
She's a finance
[laughter]
I will do business…
With anyone!
To be honest, when I do business with friends, no matter what kind of friend, I will become a finance man, because for me business is business. I will change my roles. It's just like he mentioned. You have to have clear about your roles and responsibilities.
You choose both?
Yes, I chose both, for some kinds of friends, for some kind of friend when this person says something, it's hard to say no, so your interaction and behaviour, I find that when you say something, or never, or no, or I can't say no.
That's why I don't do business with certain friends.
But for instance if she were to do a favour for me, or sometimes…it's more easy to say no to her!
Wow
So in that moment you're cheating
No, in that moment of saying no, it might be the most truthful moment

What's the difference between sharing and trading? Friendship and business? Communal and transactional relationships?

Could money substitute for communal relations? Does money displace communal relations? Does introducing money end communal relations?

1-56

42
Maggie 30
Francine 56
Zhihao 56
Paul 25
Susan 23
Haojun 21

Concluding Statements:
What's the difference between friendship and business. They're basically different, right?
Maybe you can explain to us?
Friendship is more psychology based. We might not know each other very well but we want to share things. But doing business, we might not want to share anything with them

Okay, although I think it's possible for me to run business with friends, it for me can be a clear-cut between money and friendship. But I still think that money cannot substitute for communal relationship. Which is to say communication with family and friends, and a warm hug between friends and, yeah, or some sharing truly from the heart. Sometimes when you are in a deep upset, maybe you can use your money to exchange a delicious meal to console your broken heart, but money or that delicious meal cannot substitute for someone else.
Or sometimes you can spend money on a psychologist!
Sometimes you just need to have friends or family to be a light touch, and those money cannot replace
That you don't want to see clients forever, so actually, that acknowledges that
What if your friend is a psychologist?
[…]
Let me help. So we don't do therapy with friends. So if I'm your friend, and I aske for your advice,
As a friend, I can give you advice as a friend, but I won't do therapy as a psychologist therapy is not the words or advice, it's a relationship. There's a term called emotional labour.
I studied this before.
The term is also used in the relationship, I might aske my friend for some emotional labour. "I need someone to talk to".
The psychologist for psychologists! You're doing emotional labour, so maybe you need some help too.

I think the point is that the value you are holding at the time you are doing a transaction, if you see money as a key value, then you just business is business, I want to get more from the transaction. But if you treasure the interpersonal relationship at the moment, then you don't calculate so much or so…
You never calculate the value, like I never calculate my daily allowance for you right?
And for example, If I'm doing a transaction with her, the relationship is more important, I would share more or calculate less
I like that, it's more a spectrum than yes/no
But for someone they might want to earn more money for his family, so his relationship with his family is more important than that with his friend. That's the point, it's where your key value lies.
So in six months we can ask you where we lie on your spectrum!


I think the difference between sharing and transaction, sharing is showing your feeling, or what things you have, and you don't expect someone to return you anything. But trading, it's more like exchange, you give them one thing, and they must return you another thing. So you can calculate the value. And second, the friendship, friendship is bigger than business, friendship is a relationship, but business is about money or a substance. So if we make friend through friendship, it's easier, but if you want to make a friend through business, it's harder, because you know they might get some money from you, and you have to accept that. That's hard to accept.
So it's about what will you give to somebody who gives to you, it's about what will you give to each other
You have to learn from experiences. I'm making friends with you through friendship, but you might be make friends with me through business
There could be a discrepancy
You're having different frames of reference, that's dangerous
I'm confused.
But I think it’s recognition is different.
Like 0204, you consider that the answer is a friend, but he just wants to make money from you.
It's emotional labour
That's what makes it tricky.
Just like the businessman in the bank! They might talk with you very gracefully and share a lot with you, but the purpose is just so you'll borrow money from them!
You got the point!
So you would borrow money from her?
Yes, she's a financial person!
But I have a question for Paul, because he mentioned it's easy to make friends from friendships, but not from business. How about the opposite? Is it easy to do business from friendship?
Business is a matter, not a relationship. There's no emotion, no feeling, just want to communicate with you, and how to get money from you, sell you something, and you pay. But to make a friend, like when I met this guy, I have no idea who he is, or what I’ll get from him, but now that I know him, it's easier. You don't need to compare..
Something just occurred to me. Is a friend related to emotional point?
Emotional bond or affection
So during this discussion, maybe friend is just an emotional bond, or affection, because we build up on this emotional basis, right?
So they co-exist, the business and friendship. But the line blurs, when you do business with friends
I think it's about boundaries. We've been mentioning boundaries, without naming it. When he said, 'it has to be clear', that's boundaries. So when someone has 'healthy boundaries' then you can do business and friendships
How to describe that?
This guy will know!
He's just preparing for his client resources. He shares his profession in our discussion, he shares his ideas
But he said, therapy is about the quality of the relationship, not the knowledge
We are not his clients
So what is a healthy boundary, can you define that?
Well, it's being able to say know when she wants to say no. She knows when she's doing business and when she's being a friend. The roles are clear.
I found something, I think behind the reason of 'no', we have to know the reason behind the 'no', that's important.
Sometimes, the reason is not important.
But we are not doing the business, if you just get together with people, you want to know what your friends think about you. You just say no to your friend, but she doesn't know why, so you need to explain what's behind the 'no.
Actually, it's so hard to respect, especially friends, saying no to us, especially about sharing
You might have broken someone's heart.
Yes, so it's hard to not be so hurt.

I think everyone's covered the basic points, so I want to state a question. Why is bringing a transaction into a friendship potentially harmful to the friendship? The reason is not just that it's hard to say no. Because running a business, there are some points are quite opposite to the foundation of friendship. For example, running a business is easy to trigger the sense of comparison,
He's got more than I did, why?
Or for example, I sell a house to my brother, my brother might wonder why my sister earned so much money, but I lose something
So it's a different expectation between you and your friends and you and your business partner?
I think when you do business for example, maybe I have a colleague, she has everything, she grew up in a rich family, her father is a CEO, and she came to my company and became my leader with out doing anything. So I can easily attribute it to her upbringing. But if I run a business with my brother, and he just become the CEO, it's easier to attribute to our family background, is why he got promoted. So that's the first thing, it's too easy to compare.
Second it's easy to have a kind of situation, for instance when there’s a pressure to earn money, the pressure will destroy the time you spend together
It will ruin it.
That is actually a big problem. I didn’t really understand your CEO comparison though
Ok, in a novel about a guy who doesn't do well, he's not making big money, but his brother is very well-off, and his brother opened the company, and he thinks, well, my father told me to take care of my brother, so he hires him into the company. But at the end of the novel, the younger brother said, facing his older brother is the most difficult thing in his life, because he feels like his brother is always better than him.
But the comparison is always happen between people, no matter we are strangers or colleagues or classmates or in the family.
But if they are not your friends or family, that kind of comparison is easily driven away.
Ignore?
Yes, it's easy to find a reason for it.
If it's just not that important.

[commercial for twilight and f.lux]

I want to talk about the difference between friendship and business. I agree with what he said the difference is about the different kind of boundary between different persons. The boundary in business is more clear than the boundary between friends. I think the relationship or boundary in the business is very clear, unlike the friendship. If we make friends with the other person, maybe we will have some more expectation from him or her, or maybe we just want to share something for nothing, it's hard to define and depends on the person or situation. But in the business world, it's very clear, how much you get or owe the person, or it's clearly about things.
Or it's more clearly written.
Like in a contract
So the boundary in business is sometimes blurred, so someone can gain an advantage, so we need a contract to make it clear
So there's a built-in clarity
But when you do business with friends, you also have to sign a contract
But it might be harmful to the friendship
If you don't have the contract
But you need to have it!
But there is a psychological contract
The point is you have to write down the boundary in business. So it's not a different nature
I think I can refine my statement. Actually in company contracts, it exists, there are things you cannot write down, you understand?
Which is they psychological contract, organizational behaviour! For example, you didn't say, like…
Oh, I know what you mean
I expect you in the employee contract, your company wouldn't say something like you have to work with your whole heart fro me, it wouldn't be written down, but actually the company is thinking like that.
Okay, I want to mention another thing, I believe friendship and business can exist simultaneously. So maybe there are some psych contract between you and me and also we can have some other contract, do you agree?
Let me think/
So maybe a boss and labourer have a psych contract and also a relationship in the office. Maybe the relationship is mixed. We can have a lot of different kinds of relationships between you and me.
Like he and I are friends, privately, but we are also colleagues in the office. And we all attend another class together, so there are many levels of relationships between us, entertainment, work, personal life. It's complicated. So maybe we can recognise this kind of situation in the real world.
A multi-role relationship.
You have to really trust someone to have this kind of relationship with different levels of boundaries.
Okay and we believe in the business world, so-called capitalists will exploit the labour. But in the case of the Body Shop, all the employees, even the boss in body shop are women, and the boss always consider their employees, they will take care of the employees family, and do what they can do. But in this case, the researchers found it's a kind of exploitation, if you're more considerate of somebody, they might work harder for you in the economic relationship.
Sure
So this might be another kind of exploitation, more exaggerated
More insidious
I think the case he mentioned is like the case she mentioned last week
How is it the same?
Because the boss in the Body Shop, they care the employees family, like their own family. It's something like she knows when she does the favour to the employee, she knows it'll earn some benefit for herself. Just like the other case, the Japanese company he'll do good to their suppliers because they know that in the end that'll return to their own benefit.
But what I wan to say is the interaction between the whole relationship. So if you want to maintain the multiple level relationship, you have to have trust, otherwise you might be exploited.
So that's not about trust
If there is no trust, you might be exploited
Or be exploiting others.
It could be a coercive relationship
Trust is when people have a common thought, or common ground. Like we all like philosophy
Like consensus,
Yes, we believe in one thing, so we have trust
So how do you know when you trust someone, or how do you know when they trust you?
When we go to play basketball, if we don't trust each other, the team will fail.
If somebody shows me vulnerable, I can trust him
What if they calculatedly show you that
Maybe your counterparty is calculating about you, but if you still trust him or her, you can maintain the relationship. If one side still trusts, even if the other side cheats, it's still a relationship[
But it's pathological
But that's why I can't do business with some friends, but I can with others.

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