I haven’t had a good old-fashioned rant in a while, and one has been brewing in me for a bit now. A little over a week ago, a lady on a forum I participate in asked a question about what the busy season for tourists was, as she wanted to start a massage therapist business in either Hopkins or Placencia.
Another regular on the forum answered her question, and then I chimed in and said if she hoped to cater to the expat/local crowd as well (which she should), then she’d have to reduce her rates significantly from what therapists charge in the States. I also reminded her she’d need a Self-Employed Work Permit prior to obtaining Permanent Residency, as well as a Trade License from the town council.
To that she replied, “I’m getting the vibe that this is an exclusive club, discouraging new members lacking massive bank accounts. Is this valid or am I just thinking too far in to these boards?” I was so confused by the comment, I asked her to explain, to which she answered, “It seems when someone posts about working, replies are not very positive; but when someone posts about building a house or retirement, they are met with many positive responses.”
I told her that she was really off base, and that the members of the forum genuinely had her best interest at heart. I reminded her that what would be the point of having a forum if we just spoon fed you what you want to hear. But this is not the first time I’ve had this kind of reaction to the kind of honest feedback I provide, whether it be on forums, on my blog, or when you retain my consulting services. My slogan is, after all, “Relocate Without Rose-Colored Glasses.”
I truly believe sometimes, though, that people would rather be lied to than hear something they perceive as negative. It reminds me of the guy whose wife asks him, “Honey, do I look fat in this dress?” We all know the smart husband answers, “No, dear.” He’s doing it for self-preservation, lol!, but seriously, I don’t think the wife really wants to hear the truth anyway, or she wouldn’t get upset if he did answer honestly.
This is behavior I witness A LOT with wanna be expats moving to Belize. I get it! You have a dream, you’re dying to get here and start living it, and you feel anyone who stands in your way with advice that goes counter to your plan is the enemy. But I caution you to stop if you find yourself behaving this way.
Think about it. What do we have to gain by being negative? If you come or you don’t, it’s no skin off our nose (except we’ll all have to listen to you complain when it isn’t working out for you). Our lives will still go on. But you could be in a bad personal or financial situation, that frankly, was avoidable.
So instead of taking advice too personally, read between the lines and really listen to what others are telling you. We’re not talking for the sake of hearing ourselves talk. We’re talking based on our observations and experience.
I happen to get paid to tell you the truth, and since I have to look myself in the mirror every day, if it means pissing you off, so be it! At the end of the post on the forum, the gal had all but ignored our advice and convinced herself that despite our warnings, she could make a go of it. Hey, good for her, and I wish her much success. But I sure hope she doesn’t regret it two years from now.
Would you rather hear the truth or do you get defensive if you perceive the truth as being too negative?