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Adam32
member (16)member
 
06/04/2018 01:30PM
I brought a old friend into the BW for the first time this spring. He is talking like he had a great time, but the others in the group, incuding myself, feel he didn't pull his weight in every part of the trip. Didn't help purify water, even when asked directly. Didn't help cook, but was first in line to try and eat, even before the 3 about 10 yr olds and the diabetic 61 yr old. The list goes on.

How would a guy go about it telling him he's not welcome on future trips with damaging the friendship, he is one of my friends from kindergarten and all of highschool. Just feeling like he stole our true enjoyment from the trip. Have any of you had this happen and how did you handle it?
 
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Oldtown13
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
 
06/04/2018 02:13PM
That is tough. I know for some people, they just honestly don't get it or don't know how to act. It's not them trying to be dead weight. Especially if it was his first time, maybe he didn't feel comfortable with the equipment, or procedures, didn't want to screw something up, or? I've had people that I know were well intentioned but it just didn't occur to them that they were being "that guy". If he was enjoyable outside of not helping with the camp chores, I'd just tell him what to expect next time. Maybe make a chore list and assign him. Not sure if this would work with your friend, cause I don't know him, but that's what I'd think about doing.
Mocha
distinguished member(7206)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/04/2018 02:23PM
+1 on that reply. i hate purifying water so would gladly do another task. if it was his first time he could have been intimidated with all the gadgetry involved. invite him over some time to go through your gear so he knows how it works and why you bring it and then casually bring up camp chores and how there is lots to get done before and after eating.

it's best to work this out rather than not invite him again , then he'll wonder why and it could put a strain on your friendship.
Adam32
member (16)member
 
06/04/2018 03:02PM
Good points. One of the other things was we had spotty service and he was face timing home 3 times a day and on Facebook. Just don't get it, up there I turn my phone off untill pics need to happen. And when I get a better camera it's going to stay in the truck lol. And there was a couple of broken fishing poles of mine too. Maybe you're right on point with intimated by us just moving from one chore to the next so fast he didn't know where to jump in.
OCDave
distinguished member (144)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/04/2018 05:33PM
Adam32: ".... How would a guy go about it telling him he's not welcome on future trips with damaging the friendship...?"

No reason to tell him he is not welcome on future trips. Just don't invite him on future trips; group size is limited after all.

If he presses you to take him on another trip, encourage him to plan it and you'd be happy to come along. Remind him that it is a lot of work but, very satisfying.

Good Luck
analyzer
distinguished member(1645)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/04/2018 06:36PM
Adam, I know the feeling.

Last year, I went with my wife (N), my brother (D), his wife (B), his good friend/work associate (T), and his wife's good friend (J). We are all 49-53 years old.

As this generation would say, "J" is a hot mess. She has been through alot in life, both psychologically and physically. She nearly died recently with some sort of surgically related infection. I'm not really certain of all the details.

Her friends baby her, and treat her with kid gloves. Almost to a fault I feel. It seems to me that "J" leans on her depression etc, like a crutch.

Either way, when we were setting up camp, she was taking pictures of the lake. When we were gathering wood, she was taking more pictures of the lake. When we were prepping dinner...she was taking more pictures of the lake. When we were doing dishes... You get the point.

She actually took some great wild life photos, but she was completely checked out on camp chores. And was slow to crawl out of bed each morning. We base camp,so that wasn't a huge issue, until the last day, but all of it was bothersome to me.

We have 5 other people sharing the work load, and I am used to doing 40-60% even when it's 4 of us, so it's not like I felt overworked. It just bothered me. Any time I brought it up in hushed tones to my wife, she would brush it aside, and dismiss it as "J needs time to herself, she's dealing with some issues" ... I'm paraphrasing, but that's the jist of it.

One other thing that sort of bothered me about her, was she never shut up. I talk alot in town, but when I'm in the bwca, I like to hear the wilderness, so I tend to be quiet more often than not. Especially when I'm fishing. I like to hear the birds,and insects, and white throated sparrows etc. Seems like this past trip, all I heard was J.

This year, almost thankfully, that group is going to crescent lake car camping instead.

I doubt I would ever say she can't come on a trip. But I would never invite her.

I think it's much more difficult in your situation, as he is your friend. While J, is my sister n laws friend.

I will say that none of my friends get invited to the boundary waters anymore. They all drink too much, and none are particularly reliable on their commitments.

As well, I won't invite one of my son's friends anymore either. He still comes deer hunting with us, but I can get away from him there. I find him to be lol funny sometimes, but his non-stop singing, nonsensical songs, off-key, in the boundary waters about drove me nuts. We went to lake 4, and he sang the whole the way. If you call it singing. He was kinda making the words up as he went.

I think I'm pretty easy going, and get along with most people, but the boundary waters is pretty much a once a year thing for me, and it's the highlight of my year. It's such a magical place for me, and when they're being noisy, it's like someone playing a boombox all trip.

I think where he is such a good friend, you need to have a discussion with him over a couple beers. Be gentle. Ask him what he thought of the trip. Praise him for anything you thought he did well. Give him some honest feedback.

I run into this alot in sports. A good friend wants to play, and he's just not very good. Now what?

There are really only 3 options:

1. Let him keep playing, and ignore the suck.
2. Let him keep playing,and try to coach him to get better.
3. Don't invite him anymore.

I wonder if the answer wouldn't be for just the two of you to go on a trip. He'd have to learn to pull his weight. Then you can just ask him, "do you want to get firewood, or do you want to grab water?" or make it a team thing.... "Will you help me get some wood?" "Will you help me get water?"

I think like some have said, unless he's just lazy as a whole, maybe he just needs to get acclimated to what needs to be done, and how it's done. Show him how to filet fish, or whatever.



4keys
distinguished member(549)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/04/2018 07:28PM
Analyzer- we also do not invite any of our friends. Day trips down the river was enough. Cooler with beer, music, non stop talking. Pretty sure few of the women could handle the thunderbox and no shower, and I'm not carrying the amount of liquor some of the guys would want. Prefer alone, or with a couple of people I know enjoy that kind of camping.
PapaBear1975
senior member (75)senior membersenior member
 
06/04/2018 08:11PM
If it means anything, I held off going to the BW for over 20 years because I literally have no friends who enjoy this level of camping. People think I am nuts- especially my friends who pay thousands to go on Canada fly-in trips each year. I've never candy coated wilderness travel in the BW....that might be part of the reason I have trouble finding people to do these trips with me. It's definitely not for everyone- especially when you mention the primitive camping, the work, and being in bear country (we're all from Iowa). I figure sooner or later I'll find a friend who is equally in love with this place as I am, and will literally beat me to the car when it's time to head north. Until then, I'll just take solo trips!
Oldtown13
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
 
06/04/2018 09:38PM
Adam32: " And there was a couple of broken fishing poles of mine too..."

Oh, well just if that's the case, I'd invite him on the next trip and he might mysteriously disappear! :-)
anthonyp007
distinguished member (239)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/04/2018 09:44PM
OCDave: "Adam32: ".... How would a guy go about it telling him he's not welcome on future trips with damaging the friendship...?"


No reason to tell him he is not welcome on future trips. Just don't invite him on future trips; group size is limited after all.


If he presses you to take him on another trip, encourage him to plan it and you'd be happy to come along. Remind him that it is a lot of work but, very satisfying.


Good Luck"


Love it! As a lifelong Minnesotan, I can appreciate the passive aggressive non-invite! But, in all seriousness, that sucks and I’m sorry the guy made the trip less enjoyable. I wouldn’t take him again.
murphylakejim
distinguished member(606)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/04/2018 09:49PM
Adam32: "I brought a old friend into the bw for the first time this spring. He is talking like he had a great time, but the others in the group incuding myself, feel he didn't pull his weight in every part of the trip. Didn't help purify water, even when asked directly. Didn't help cook, but was first in line to try and eat, even before the 3 about 10 yr olds and the diabetic 61 yr old. The list goes on. How would a guy go about it telling him he's not welcome on future trips with damaging the friendship, he is one of my friends from kindergarten and all of highschool. Just feeling like he stole our true in-joyment from the trip. Have any of you had this happen and how did you handle it?"

key words "first time"

maybe just tell him directly he needs to purify that water or hes getting last dibs at dinner!

maybe there is hope if you keep on working on him.
analyzer
distinguished member(1645)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/04/2018 11:37PM
murphylakejim: "Adam32: "I brought a old friend into the bw for the first time this spring. He is talking like he had a great time, but the others in the group incuding myself, feel he didn't pull his weight in every part of the trip. Didn't help purify water, even when asked directly. Didn't help cook, but was first in line to try and eat, even before the 3 about 10 yr olds and the diabetic 61 yr old. The list goes on. How would a guy go about it telling him he's not welcome on future trips with damaging the friendship, he is one of my friends from kindergarten and all of highschool. Just feeling like he stole our true in-joyment from the trip. Have any of you had this happen and how did you handle it?"


key words "first time"


maybe just tell him directly he needs to purify that water or hes getting last dibs at dinner!


maybe there is hope if you keep on working on him."


Unfortunately, they DID ask him directly to purify water, and he still didn't do it.


I used to go with my wife's brother quite a bit, but our camping and fishing styles clashed. I just quit asking him to go. I am usually the leader, and I just invite other people. His wife has hinted that it's almost time to initiate their children, and I haven't figured out how to tell her I'm not interested. Similar boat I guess.
analyzer
distinguished member(1645)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/04/2018 11:46PM
PapaBear1975: "If it means anything, I held off going to the BW for over 20 years because I literally have no friends who enjoy this level of camping. People think I am nuts- especially my friends who pay thousands to go on Canada fly-in trips each year. I've never candy coated wilderness travel in the BW....that might be part of the reason I have trouble finding people to do these trips with me. It's definitely not for everyone- especially when you mention the primitive camping, the work, and being in bear country (we're all from Iowa). I figure sooner or later I'll find a friend who is equally in love with this place as I am, and will literally beat me to the car when it's time to head north. Until then, I'll just take solo trips!"

I think your boundary waters friends are on here.

bwcasolo
distinguished member(1601)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/05/2018 05:28AM
be honest, if he is a true friend, he should get it.
pswith5
distinguished member(3330)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/05/2018 05:47AM
PapaBear1975: "If it means anything, I held off going to the BW for over 20 years because I literally have no friends who enjoy this level of camping. People think I am nuts- especially my friends who pay thousands to go on Canada fly-in trips each year. I've never candy coated wilderness travel in the BW....that might be part of the reason I have trouble finding people to do these trips with me. It's definitely not for everyone- especially when you mention the primitive camping, the work, and being in bear country (we're all from Iowa). I figure sooner or later I'll find a friend who is equally in love with this place as I am, and will literally beat me to the car when it's time to head north. Until then, I'll just take solo trips!" I am with you papabear. Most of my friends don't get it. Although, I have done some group solos with folks from here. I took a couple greenhorns once. They didn't appreciate me telling them 'you're not pulling your share of the weight'. They never went again! Does that mean honesty is the best policy?
06/05/2018 06:25AM
IMO a lot depends on what the bwca trip means to you. do you go every year/ twice a year and have multiple other weeks of vacation? Then it might be worth going with him again and giving him another chance.

Or is the bwca a desired destination point that you only get to go every other year or less? And you get MAYBE two weeks total of vacation per year.... then you tend to be really picky with whom you trip.
arm2008
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
06/05/2018 07:48AM
Sounds like he went on vacation, while you were expecting a camping companion. It could be a matter of differing expectations, or one of the other ideas already brought forth. You could just shut him out - "oh yeah, we had a great time, didn't we! I'll be sure to let you know the next time we have space for you." If you want to give him another chance you could have a heart to heart with him - "I liked doing xyz with you on the trip, but I felt like your sherpa and didn't enjoy that. If you want to try it again I need you to participate in the camp chores. I've been doing this so long I might have assumed you would know how to do camp chores, but next time we could go over the gear in advance so you will feel confident stepping in... first time you were our guest, from here on out you're part of the group..." Could try a smaller, local camping trip with him. Maybe every man for himself style... filter your own water, cook your own dinner... starve if you don't...
A1t2o
distinguished member(568)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/05/2018 08:03AM
Honesty, not inviting him is the best option. I get people talking about how it would be nice to go all the time, that doesn't mean I extend the invite to every neighbor or in-law that is interested. If someone wants to be direct about it and ask, then they deserve a direct response. Usually along the lines of limited party size, what type of trip we are doing (not for first-timers), and the wishes of the rest of the party. So if he asks, you can talk to him about the issues and figure out if he was intimidated or just lazy.

To me it sounds like he just didn't step up. That alone can say that he shouldn't go again. Typically someone not familiar with the chores will take the easy and obvious ones, like gathering firewood. Biggest issue for me though is not doing the chores when asked. That goes beyond lazy, that's insubordinate to the trip leader.

I say you should still make an attempt at letting him know why he is not going again. Either don't keep quiet about it so it filters through to him eventually, or confront him directly and let him know there is an issue. You seem to be in contact since he is telling you how much fun he had, so don't keep it a secret that you didn't have as much fun as him. If he wants to talk about it then you can go from there, but you don't want to keep it from a good friend that he let you down.
06/05/2018 08:31AM
My dad does the cooking, I fillet fish and do dishes. He used to do all the firewood, but I will be doing that this year. You can tell when someone appreciates something, and it makes you want to do more.
bct
senior member (73)senior membersenior member
 
06/05/2018 08:39AM
That is a tough one. Years ago, my brother and I each had a friend who wanted to go backpacking with us. We agreed to take them under the condition that they carry their own gear and take care of themselves. There would also be no complaining, regardless of conditions. We helped them get their gear together beforehand and did our best to provide guidance. It rained most of the trip, and they were both having a tough go. "Nope, we warned you - no turning back." They pressed on. Fortunately for them, the trail crossed a paved roadway that could take us back to our car and significantly reduce the mileage. At this time, my brother's friend offered up a steak dinner on him if we took the road back to the car. My brother and I took the offer and they agreed that backpacking was not for them.

Now, I am very selective about whom I travel in the back country with - its a short list. Mostly, its me and my wife or a solo.
dele
distinguished member (118)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/05/2018 10:00AM
I really sympathize with people who have been in situations like this. However, I think there is a silver lining to all of these stories. We know that wilderness camping is not for everyone. If it was, it wouldn't be wilderness. But everyone who brings somebody new to the BWCA does a big service in two respects. First, they give that person a chance to experience something amazing - even if they don't appreciate it. Second, they contribute to the maintenance of the wilderness by making it possible for another person to fall in love with the place and hence become part of the group of people who will protect it from the various threats it will always face.

So, to people who have dealt with frustrating trip partners, I say thank you for taking the risk to bring somebody new. Your current trip might suffer a bit, but you're helping to protect the BWCA long term, and you're giving a person a chance to experience something incredible. All you can do is hope they'll enjoy it.
thlipsis29
distinguished member(1157)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/05/2018 10:04AM
Just some random thoughts

1. A few years ago a good friend of mine summarized his two BWCA trips with me this way: "It's not a vacation; it's an adventure." While he had a good time, he also concluded that it was not his thing, and has since stopped coming with our group. His words have become one of the first phrases I use when talking to anyone interested in coming. If they want a relaxing vacation, this is NOT their best choice.

2. As uncomfortable as it may be, in this instance, honesty is probably the best approach. For these trips to work and be enjoyable for all, EVERYONE has to carry their weight. And if he's uncertain as to how to do something or is afraid of messing something up, there's no shame in asking. If he doesn't want to purify water, then what is he willing to do to help the group?

3. Make the next trip even more challenging and tell whoever is invited on that trip, it's going to take everyone to make it work. I have a 12 year old daughter and 10 year old son who have been tripping with me for the past two years and they're quickly learning with each trip you need to do your part because dead weight isn't acceptable.

4. Just don't invite him. If he asks why he isn't invited, see #2 and #3 above. Over the years I've simply dropped email addresses from the initial invite and never heard squat about it. As the trip leader, I reserve the right to form the group as I see best. I want to do all I can to make sure that those who go have a good time, and part of that is putting together a great team.

5. Pray he develops some emotional intelligence. My sense is if he acted like this in the BWCA he does the same in other areas of life. Maybe the stress of the situation exacerbated some character flaws, but I doubt it's the first time he's exhibited these kinds of behaviors.

Hope this was worth your time to read Adam32.
nofish
distinguished member(2735)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/05/2018 10:18AM
I think the best time to handle it would have been while you were on the trip. I do a lot of trips of various types with friends I've known for 20+ years. If one of them isn't pulling their weight, paying their share, is dropping the ball in some other way, or just being annoying we are all quick to call them on it. Same goes for them if I'm out of line in some way, of course that never happens :)

The point is we're all good friends and we can handle it when we get called out. Its never done in anger. Its more of a "Hey, Bob! Get off yer' butt and go collect some fire wood." "Hey, Bob! You didn't cook, get to the back of the line and oh by the way here are the dirty dishes for you to wash". "Hey, Bob! Where is that $20 you owe for the gas on the ride up? We're gonna make you walk if you don't pay up." "Hey Bob! WAKE UP! (Yelled while we shake his tent vigorously until he gets up".

No one likes getting called out but if it happens we all know it was deserved and we buck up and take it. And in honesty it doesn't need to be done very often because we all know we're going to keep each other honest. In my opinion good friends keep each other accountable.
Lailoken
senior member (81)senior membersenior member
 
06/05/2018 10:44AM
Oldtown13: "That is tough. I know for some people, they just honestly don't get it or don't know how to act. It's not them trying to be dead weight. Especially if it was his first time, maybe he didn't feel comfortable with the equipment, or procedures, didn't want to screw something up, or? I've had people that I know were well intentioned but it just didn't occur to them that they were being "that guy". If he was enjoyable outside of not helping with the camp chores, I'd just tell him what to expect next time. Maybe make a chore list and assign him. Not sure if this would work with your friend, cause I don't know him, but that's what I'd think about doing. "

I think this was me. I went on a trip with my brother in law, and had never been camping. I did know how to do anything and kind of would wander off into the woods at camp. I'd just tell him honestly - what is expected. By the way, I had bought new boots for the trip back then, and did not get them wet. I was that bad.
Bushman
senior member (80)senior membersenior member
 
06/05/2018 11:25AM
It can be the same way on other adventures as well. I like to do Canadian fly in fishing. My Dad'd health is really slowing down after multiple heart attacks but he really still loves to go. Last year we went up and I invited my BIL and his BIL. Both avid fisherman and outdoorsmen. I thought it would be good to have some help with the cooking cleaning and filleting etc. plus having minimum 4 guys gets you better prices and more lake options.
Turned out they didn't do squat. Drank all their beer in the first few days and were asking for ours. One decided to bring up a drone and the second day he flew it into his hand which lacerated his finger all the way to the bone.
Had to Dr. that all week for him.
There was an InReach device or something similar in camp and they sat around texting their wives on it all week.

There was constant loud music, even at night. Drunk and obnoxious at times. Not what I want when I pay a lot of money for peace and quiet and to be away from folks.
On the flip side, they paid a lot of money too and maybe that is exactly the kind of trip they wanted. I just know it did not gel with my expectations. Live and learn. Still nice guys in the end.

I won't ever ask them again to accompany us. Dad's health is better this year so I am looking into a trip next year for just us two. Unfortunately he would not have the stamina for canoeing.
kbm
senior member (57)senior membersenior member
 
06/05/2018 12:23PM
I have asserted a level of "ass-ness" to how I approach things that require group involvement. And I am quite brutally honest about what is expected about the trip, and in the canoe, and when making food, and breaking camp. Cooking filleting, etc. I am an RN that works at a correctional facility, and brutal honesty is the best way around it because it eliminates the inevitable "I thought he meant" etc. If they are talking to much in the canoe, tell them you like it quiet, if you need help with dishes tell them they are to do the dishes. a lot of times it only takes 1 bad trip and you know what you need to change in the future. Otherwise be honest on why they arnt going to be invited unless they appear to want to change. remember its your vaca too.
mastertangler
distinguished member(5439)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/05/2018 12:33PM
I get that it's sort of hard to not feel resentful. Believe me, I know.

I put together 3 day offshore trips with 5 other guys. It is non stop physical activity for 3 days around the clock. Usually, at least 1/2 the boat does not pull its weight when it comes to chumming, cutting bait, cleaning the boat at regular intervals, cooking etc.

It is incredulous to me that people will not lift a finger all while their companions are a flurry of nonstop activity. What I have learned is you must either not be concerned about the lack of help or just not invite them. Trying to insist on some cooperation while you are out there is counterproductive.

What you can do, however, is directly assign a task before going as a precondition. What I have ended up doing, for example, is to split the boat into 2 teams. Your "team" is responsible for chumming, bait and cleaning your 1/2 of the boat whenever we weigh anchor. How they wish to organize themselves is their choice. I did not gain the nickname Capt Ahab for nuthin.
missmolly
distinguished member(8217)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/05/2018 01:15PM
I paddled with a guy for three decades. Then I paddled with a woman on one trip and a different guy on another who were both adults, who both carried their load and paid their way. I haven't paddled with that ol' pal since. We hard workers of the world deserve more, but will only get it if we don't accept less.
MyBoysAreMyBuds
Guest Paddler
 
06/05/2018 01:48PM
Great post, dele! Good job. Thank you.
I met a fella this spring who has led several groups into the BWCA with nothing to gain from it other than the satisfaction of helping somebody else enjoy a place he loves. I visited with him after he spoke at a free workshop, sharing his experiences with a group of sportsmen, simply to expose many of us who have never been there to the beauty and benefits of going. Not only did he peak my interest in going, he offered to take me and my boys on our first trip there. Again, for no personal gain to himself beyond knowing a good first experience for us may produce a life long love for the BWCA. I fully anticipate that will happen and we are all thrilled at the prospect.
MyBoysAreMyBuds
Guest Paddler
 
06/05/2018 01:58PM
BTW - Adam32’s original question and the replies are not lost on me either. With six adult men and a 12 yr old son comprising our party, we will all be contributing to a positive experience for the group. If not, I’m gonna tell their mother and their spouses on them and that will be that!
BuckFlicks
distinguished member(557)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/05/2018 02:16PM
Some of this was hinted at here in the above replies but I don't think I saw it quite spelled out like it needs to be for this type of person (granted, I'm at work and things have been interrupting my attention.) What I'd do (three options):

1) Don't invite him again. If he asks why, tell him the group voted and decided he wasn't worth having along. Nothing personal, but you have to carry your weight - and this isn't a cub scout trip. If you have to be asked more than once to do your part, then you're not coming. We aren't babysitters or chaperones. You're a grown up and need to do your share without us having to browbeat you. That's not fun for anyone, and all the work you don't do, is extra work for someone else.

2 and 3) Invite him again, but make it clear that his actions on the last trip are unacceptable. Be detailed and give reasons. People like that (more on this personality type later) will justify anything they can and shift blame/responsibility to other people if there is any way to do it. Also make it clear that this is his final chance. Any failure to completely adhere to one of the two following sets of conditions and he won't be invited to go on any other trips. Failure to agree to either sets of terms ahead of time, and you don't go on the trip.

2) make it crystal clear which jobs are whose before departing, and there are no exceptions barring serious injury or illness (my back hurts, my wrist aches aren't valid exceptions.) If you don't gather wood/cook/wash dishes, then you don't eat what the group cooks. Hope you like your GORP and beef jerky. All occupants of a tent work together to pitch the tent. If you doesn't help pitch the tent, you don't sleep in the tent.

3) Everyone does their own chores. As above all occupants of a tent work together to pitch the tent. If he doesn't help pitch the tent, he doesn't sleep in the tent. Otherwise, everyone gathers their own wood, cooks their own meals, washes their own dishes, purifies their own water. If he is part of a 2 man canoe, he must portage the canoe every other portage (and make him do the first one,) or he doesn't get back in the canoe. Better yet, if there is an odd number, put him in the solo canoe. If he doesn't perform any tasks, he eats no hot meals, drinks no clean water, eats out of his own dirty dishes, etc.

For someone who refuses to get out of the tent (laziness, not illness or injury) start taking the tent down around them and make it clear that the boats are leaving at (x) time. If you're not packed and in a boat, you're staying on the campsite.

I had a friend who was fun to hang out with but didn't contribute anything else to my life, while making constant demands of my time, resources, and emotional energy... (always wanting to go out but never having any money, expecting me to pay his way, etc.) This is how he treated everyone around him including his wife, siblings, and children. Eventually I labeled him an emotional vampire (all take, no give - I didn't know that was an actual psychological term before I coined the phrase, but the actual description of an emotional vampire is pretty accurate still) and I broke off all contact - and never regretted it. He's a charismatic dude but doesn't have anything to offer other than his occasionally enjoyable company. I'm not saying your friend is an emotional vampire, but the analogy still fits - your friend is fun to hang around but when the chips are on the table, he doesn't have anything positive to contribute to a BWCA trip other than his charming personality. You have to decide if it's cool with your group to get to enjoy his company at the cost of doing all his work... or demand in no uncertain terms that he carries his load or face the pre-determined consequences.
mjmkjun
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06/05/2018 02:21PM
Tough call for you. Being honest is an option, though. Maybe he didn't 'get it' but I lean toward other implications. The first in line to eat, lame in the way of camp chores, completely ignoring a request to do a chore & eating before the kids are fed = sucks! Seriously? How old is this guy? (rhetoric) Being naive is one thing. The pretense of being naive is another.
BuckFlicks
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06/05/2018 03:23PM
mastertangler: "I get that it's sort of hard to not feel resentful. Believe me, I know.


I put together 3 day offshore trips with 5 other guys. It is non stop physical activity for 3 days around the clock. Usually, at least 1/2 the boat does not pull its weight when it comes to chumming, cutting bait, cleaning the boat at regular intervals, cooking etc.

"


Unrelated to the thread and not a response to you personally.... but I've found that sailors or sea captains have unreasonable expectations of land lubbers on their boats. Scenario:

Captain is trying to accomplish some task related to the sails. He's across the boat and points to land-lubber who is "along for the ride" and has never been on a boat and has not been taught anything about what to do on a sailboat nor given any vocabulary lessons on ridiculous naval terminology... then yells some jibberish like "Counterbow the sqeeb-squab!" Land lubber says, "What?" impying both "what the hell did you just say?" and "what am I supposed to do?" Captain frowns disapprovingly and says nothing else, but sits in silent judgement of the land lubber for the rest of the voyage.

I've had this happen to me twice by different "captains."

If you expect me to contribute, tell me ahead of time what I might be expected to do, show me how to do it, and tell me what your silly naval terms are in plain language. Don't yell at me to perform some complex action to a piece of gear I've never heard named before... and don't judge me for not knowing exactly what you meant ahead of time.
mschi772
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06/05/2018 07:14PM
Well, if he wants to face-time home while camping...whatever. I don't get it, but it wouldn't ruin a trip for me if someone was doing that (unobtrusively).

I have a similar friend/family member. Different reasons for being unwelcome in the future, but similarly unwelcome. She's just not invited anymore. Everyone knows why--she ruined our last trip for everyone. SHE may not know why, and if she asks, I'll tell her. Simple as that.
EDIT: "ruined" is a strong word. We still had a great time. We all agree that we would have had a much better time without her there, and she would also have had herself a better weekend anywhere else as well.

If this guy is a friend since kindergarten, I'd hope that he could handle the honesty of "You didn't step up, and that impacts everyone else's enjoyment negatively; IF you want to come again, this is what needs to happen differently." If something as simple as that could jeopardize your relationship, what kind of friend is this really?

Also, no matter how much something ISN'T my fault, when things like this occur, I always try to reflect on what I could have done differently so that I can be a better leader in the future. I'm not saying to dwell on past mistakes, but simply to search your past for lessons and ideas to take with you on your next trip.

At the end of all of this, I certainly wouldn't bring him again without at least some expectation of better behavior. The last thing you want is to have him spoil another group's trip (or the same group for a second time).
Northwoodsman
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06/05/2018 09:17PM
You could always position it as... "Almost anybody within reason will get invited/allowed to go once. That's a tryout and determines if you get invited for a second trip. We are all here to have a fun and enjoyable trip, but if there is an obvious weak link in the group, that person is always at risk to get replaced by a new prospect."
Deacon
member (16)member
 
06/05/2018 10:24PM
I would say that your chances of success in making him into a good camping companion are directly related to his work ethic and quality of character in the rest of his life. Having known him so long, you should have a pretty good bead on what kind of guy he is. We all have friends of many stripes. Straight talk is only going to bring him around if has the right stuff to begin with. Maybe he just needs some direction.

Otherwise...don't invite him and if he asks to go with you again, simply explain why you have not extended an invitation. But keep him on the Christmas card list...

My two cents.
Adam32
member (16)member
 
06/06/2018 07:19AM
mjmkjun: "Tough call for you. Being honest is an option, though. Maybe he didn't 'get it' but I lean toward other implications. The first in line to eat, lame in the way of camp chores, completely ignoring a request to do a chore & eating before the kids are fed = sucks! Seriously? How old is this guy? (rhetoric) Being naive is one thing. The pretense of being naive is another. "
He is in his mid 30s with a little one of his own. Would have thought that more of the dad instinct would have come out like it does around home.
hexnymph
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06/06/2018 07:54AM
arm2008: "Sounds like he went on vacation, while you were expecting a camping companion. It could be a matter of differing expectations, or one of the other ideas already brought forth. You could just shut him out - "oh yeah, we had a great time, didn't we! I'll be sure to let you know the next time we have space for you." If you want to give him another chance you could have a heart to heart with him - "I liked doing xyz with you on the trip, but I felt like your sherpa and didn't enjoy that. If you want to try it again I need you to participate in the camp chores. I've been doing this so long I might have assumed you would know how to do camp chores, but next time we could go over the gear in advance so you will feel confident stepping in... first time you were our guest, from here on out you're part of the group..." Could try a smaller, local camping trip with him. Maybe every man for himself style... filter your own water, cook your own dinner... starve if you don't..."

I like this answer.

I have been a sherpa on more than one occasion. It's a big part of why a stayed away from guiding. When it is my family I can be a little sharp and straight forward because they can't disown me and I still go along with them from time to time :)

Group dynamics is critical to the enjoyment of a trip and the harder you push, the more important it is. I'm lucky to have a very tight knit regular crew. We bring rookies occasionally but if they don't pull their weight after a day or two the heckling will begin... well, even if they do pull their weight... heckling

Hex
mc2mens
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06/06/2018 09:04AM
bwcasolo: "be honest, if he is a true friend, he should get it."

+1
Pinetree
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06/06/2018 02:16PM
Mocha: "+1 on that reply. i hate purifying water so would gladly do another task. if it was his first time he could have been intimidated with all the gadgetry involved. invite him over some time to go through your gear so he knows how it works and why you bring it and then casually bring up camp chores and how there is lots to get done before and after eating.


it's best to work this out rather than not invite him again , then he'll wonder why and it could put a strain on your friendship."


I agree I think I would give him one more try and maybe slight hints joking like he will get the hint. You must know if he is lazy normally?
As he learns the ropes he probably will get better. Like you say Mocha gently get him to realize it is teamwork and it can be very enjoyable.
A1t2o
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06/06/2018 02:42PM
Pinetree: "I agree I think I would give him one more try and maybe slight hints joking like he will get the hint. You must know if he is lazy normally?
As he learns the ropes he probably will get better. Like you say Mocha gently get him to realize it is teamwork and it can be very enjoyable."


Some people just don't get that this vacation is an adventure. They treat it like a beach vacation and go to relax. With that mindset how could he think he has done anything wrong?

I say make him ask why he isn't getting an invite, or ask to be invited. If he cares about going enough, he will. Then the issues can be raised and the decision can be made to let him go or not. Either way, no automatic invite or it will be that much harder the next time around to exclude him. Plus you want him coming to you to ask about it rather than you initiating the conversation and making it look like you are ambushing him with all these issues.
BuckFlicks
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06/06/2018 02:58PM
Pinetree: "

I agree I think I would give him one more try and maybe slight hints joking like he will get the hint. You must know if he is lazy normally?
As he learns the ropes he probably will get better. Like you say Mocha gently get him to realize it is teamwork and it can be very enjoyable."


Hmmm... I agree, this approach could work with some people and it is actually how I most likely would have handled it on the first trip. If he were a good, long-time friend, I'd probably be more inclined to give him a second chance, but on the second trip, I would 100% avoid the use of uncertain terms or hoping he gets the hint. Obviously he was either oblivious or self-absorbed to the point that he doesn't understand subtle hints and requests based on the fact that he was directly asked to perform tasks the first time and he refused. It's likely that he's self-absorbed to the point that he didn't see anything wrong with what he did and likely won't until it's made very clear to him in absolute terms with no room for interpretation.

Or decide ahead of time that the cost of having his entertaining antics along on the trip are worth the price of doing his chores and don't get upset over it.

Savage Voyageur
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06/06/2018 05:41PM
That’s a real bummer Adam. I have been in you camp before. This is the reason I have tha “No Rookie Rule”. I take one trip a year and I’m not going to let someone wreck it.

Make it very clear beforehand the groups expectations, goals, needs at a trip meeting. If someone cooks the meal, someone else cleans up after the meal. Wood gathering, water filtering, group camp set up, and any chores are expected to be shared by everyone. You need to go over every aspect so there is no question like this behavior.

I’ve had trips where some are fishing while others are gathering, sawing, splitting wood. I’d much be wanting to process wood than fish, not!

It’s your choice if you vote him off the island. Maybe he was going through a hard point in his life, work issues, spouse issues, money issues. If you invite him back you need to have a heart to heart talk with him.
Adam32
member (16)member
 
06/06/2018 08:07PM
Alot of great advice here thanks for all the input. I'm feeling better now that I feel the support from so many like minded people. Thanks again
Adam32
TheGreatIndoors
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06/06/2018 09:18PM
I understand this feeling, except I've also been on the receiving end of that criticism and clear direction. In my case, however, I am pulling the weight of others and the person giving orders is the one with the problems.

If you're going to give clear directions and set clear expectations, as so many people have suggested above, try to do it with humor and grace. Don't be an entitled prick about others not living up to your expectations. The most successful people I know have superhuman skills in this sense. They are unusually good at guiding people in a way that makes everyone smile.

The complaints about sucky dynamics described above sound like any other social situation, e.g. dealing with your family. You have to work together or blow the whole thing up. Sometimes it makes sense to bail, but often you'll end up by yourself or stuck with somebody worse. You might be better off figuring out how to make the people around you happy.

Try to make the most out of what you have and muster some compassion for the idiots around you. You might be one too!
Rs130754
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06/06/2018 10:26PM
Adam32 we have taken ice fishing and a September trip every year for going on 18 years now. There is an ebb and flow to those who accompany us but there is a core of six die hards that go regardless. We had a very close friend do this a couple times and we simply, firmly, and respectfully aired our grievances. All six of us didn't come at him, but three of us let him know how we felt and what needed to change if he wished to keep coming. His response surprised us as he shared that he wasn't quite sure what to do. He couldn't clean fish well, didn't know how to set up ice tents, wasn't sure how to charge boat batteries....

The following year he went again and, my god, the guy can cook! We never knew. He apologized for being dead weight but said he would do all the meal prep and help with clean-up. We have a checking account for the group as a place to place deposits and one place to write checks from. He just gets a check and buys all the food for 8-12 men for 5-7 days and we eat like kings. I would be open and ask them what skill set that they have that would benefit the group, you might be surprised.
bwcadan
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06/06/2018 10:46PM
Solve the use of the phone by going up the Gunflint Trail. No service . If you think you are going to change him, good luck. If you must take him, write a contract and get it signed by him that he will do the work. Post a laminated copy in camp if he fails to do it after a warning about posting the contract if not working as agreed to.
IndyElden
senior member (74)senior membersenior member
 
06/06/2018 11:48PM
I have had two similar situations with trips I have led. One was many years ago with my own brother with whom I had never been to BWCA before (and never will again!). We did a long loop trip around 60 miles long in five nights/six days. The problems started when we went to pick him up. After we got there, he spent the next hour throwing together his crap for the trip, including stuff I told him not to bring like a metal Boy Scout style canteen, a foam sleeping pad, and cotton clothes. He disregarded my pre-trip instructions. And then, when we got on the trip, he was no better. He did not like the fact I was the leader and he complained our route was too long, or he did not want to wake up when I wanted everybody to wake up, or go as far on a particular day as my planning indicated we needed to go. The weather turned bad late in the week, so my plan to get as far as we did on a couple of earlier days was shown to be prudent. Also, he and his paddling partner would go off paddling on their own out of sight when we were looking for the route or portages. We have always had our big differences in personality and style, and our incompatibility was borne out by this trip. The other case was a woman I took on a couple of trips, whom I no longer invite on my trips. She never carried a portage pack or a canoe on the portages, just a bunch of her loose junk and a small lumbar pack. By the time she finished a portage, one of us had practically finished a second trip to carry her pack which we were expecting her to carry. To make matters worse, she was a weak paddler and a liability on the water. Her brother who went with her was great, with lots of good camping and woodsman and fishing skills. He was a good trade-off but not worth the trouble of bringing her.
06/07/2018 06:57AM
I've never had that problem, but if he doesn't ask about another trip, I'd probably not invite and not say anything. If he did ask, I'd just tell him the group felt like he didn't help with the camp chores and that's not the way you all do it.

Did he do OK with portaging?

One thing that hasn't been mentioned much is that the whole group felt that way, so inviting him for another trip with the group should be a group decision. Otherwise, if you just unilaterally make the decision without group input, you may run the risk of alienating some of them.
A1t2o
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06/07/2018 11:53AM
boonie: "Did he do OK with portaging?"

I feel like this one is a big issue that hasn't been touched yet. How he did portaging and paddling might make a big difference when it comes to inviting him back. Base camping and a short trip might not show much though.
BuckFlicks
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06/07/2018 01:21PM
TheGreatIndoors:

If you're going to give clear directions and set clear expectations, as so many people have suggested above, try to do it with humor and grace. Don't be an entitled prick about others not living up to your expectations. The most successful people I know have superhuman skills in this sense. They are unusually good at guiding people in a way that makes everyone smile.



This is a good point that I failed to make... this is how I handle the majority of my interpersonal relationships, unless I'm just driven to the point that gentle kindness has proven without a doubt that it won't work and abrupt directness doesn't work.

Also, I'm not a type A/alpha personality. I prefer smooth group dynamics to always having to get my own way, and I'm fine with other people being in charge and in control as long as things are done fairly with all group members having a voice. But if someone is acting a fool, I'ma tell 'em.
gsfisher13
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06/07/2018 03:33PM
1) you are not required to address the situation, simply not inviting him the next time may be a hint enough.
2) if he is a close friend, you'd have to decide if you have the type of relationship that you can share honest feedback from the group with him (without it sounding like the i'm better than you thing) and without making it sound like (fix this this and that and we'll consider letting you come along again).
3) learn from your decisions, are there things you could have done ahead of time that would have helped set expectations? bringing someone along into the woods and THEN telling them this is what to expect would be difficult for both.

my only experience was a few years ago taking a newbie to the woods, I set expectations, I tried to help what to pack, what not to pack, what the first long portage was like, take it easy. on portage 1 on the return trip the guy ignores my advice, jogs back over the portage, hurts his ankle, ruins any chance for the loop trip we planned. we made lemonade (literally because he also packed in about a dozen fresh lemons for some ungodly reason). he has not been invited back.
BuckFlicks
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06/07/2018 04:18PM
I don't run in the wilderness unless:

1) a carnivore is chasing me
2) I'm escaping a falling rock or other immediate hazard
3) someone's life status is in jeopardy

Actually, just subtract "in the wilderness" and it's still accurate.
Barnesjo
member (8)member
 
06/07/2018 10:39PM
Sounds like only child syndrome. They were never taught any different.
GeoFisher
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06/09/2018 11:42AM
missmolly: "I paddled with a guy for three decades. Then I paddled with a woman on one trip and a different guy on another who were both adults, who both carried their load and paid their way. I haven't paddled with that ol' pal since. We hard workers of the world deserve more, but will only get it if we don't accept less."

Man, that is so true.......

While I've never upgraded partners, I do have a few that are higher on the list then others.
Wick
distinguished member (272)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/09/2018 05:39PM
WHAT???

You mean to tell me that I will be expected to do stuff on the trip? My wife cooks and cleans and does the laundry at home. I just kind of figured she would take care of all that stuff on the trip after she carried the canoes...
CrookedPaddler1
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06/14/2018 09:47AM
I have been involved in getting people into the woods for many, many years. I think what happens on a BWCA trip is so far from what most people are accustomed to, they are in a bet of shell shock when they actually do get to experience it for the first time.

I would encourage you to invite them along again, maybe ask them what they learned on their first trip and what they would do differently. In the process of the non confrontational discussion, you can bring up some of your observations, but only if they are open to hearing it. Most of my experience has shown me that they will be totally different on the next trip, because they can mental prepare for what is coming.

I have been learning a lot about horse training recently. When we introduce a new skill to the horses we work with them for a 10-15 minutes, then often will leave them tied in the roundpen for about the same time. Then we come back and ask for the same behavior, and often times it happens without any further issues. The reason I bring this up is that the horse has time to process what is happening and what is being expected of them. I could fight with them to get the behavior or we introduce the behavior, give them time to process the behavior, and then ask for the behavior again.

I think your next trip with your friend will be totally different, as he had a chance to experience a canoe trip, is now processing what happened on the trip, and will be more mental / physically prepared for the next opportunity.
WalleyeHunter24
member (50)member
 
06/14/2018 02:53PM
Find out what dates DON'T work for him, then make your plans. Or just be honest and tell him the BWCA might not be the best trip and he should stick to car camping.
Captn Tony
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06/16/2018 06:02AM
When I ask some one new to go I don't sugar coat any thing. I tell them before we go that it's a lot of work and you don't get much sleep and the only way to get clean is to jump in the water. Also they will be expected to help out or they don't get invited back.
I only had a problem once and then I got ticked and told everyone that I wasn't their slave and to start helping out and then no problem. I just don't think they realized they were being a load until I brought it up.
That being said I haven't had anyone I wouldn't go up there with again. But if I had a problem I just wouldn't invite them again.
If he really wants to go then you will have to tell him your expectations before you let him come.
06/25/2018 07:39PM
Ugh, people dynamics are tough.
I went to a class by Kevin C - The Happy Camper on Human Dynamics, it was really interesting. He gave us lots of scenarios like, what would you do if xyz....

I hear ya though. I'm in the midst of hiking the SHT, and have a private FB group where I post when/where I'm going so anyone on that list is invited... My one friend brought her mom last time, and her mom was kvetching the entire time and was a sour puss... there's no WAY I ever want to go on a 15 mile hike w/her again, but then my friend invited her (i'm not sure how that worked, to the FB group now...) if I post, "I'm going on xyz date", I'm afraid she'll show up, and yet I'm too nice, so I don't want to rock the boat...

Recently saw my friend and her mom and a choir concert and they both said how excited they were to hit the trail again.

People dynamics... I can see why people just choose to go solo.

ps. Careful now Barnesjo , my daughter Mini_MN is an only child, and she pulls her own weight ;-)
pamonster
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06/26/2018 08:53AM
bwcasolo: "be honest, if he is a true friend, he should get it."

+1 the truth will set you free. Politely let him know your reservations of inviting him on another trip and ask if he will change? If he's game remind him before the trip that you don't intend to nag/remind out there and expect him to do equal shares.
 
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