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I have a friend who is literally bored of everything (Male, in his twenties, student).

The individual is studying a very interesting subject, Computing Science. He is an average student. He is in his 3rd year and he hardly knows/remembers any of the programming skills he supposedly learned in the classroom. He sleeps 14 hours a day, waking up only to forcibly go to classes, do some university assignments (always at the last day or two) and maybe socialise, if he is invited to any social event.

In multiple occasions the individual confesses his inability to code and asks for help with his coding related assignments. He shows no interest in learning whatsoever, and if he does anything on his own he just copies code from the internet, without learning what each code segment does.

I have tried multiple times to help him understand when he asks for help, but he just says that he is bored of learning why something works, and wants to see the code required for it (of course I have never provided any code but only explanations and links to documentation).

In the end of the day his reasoning for not learning any code is that he did not get taught in the classroom enough to do the assignments and that his teachers expect him to learn on his own (in case anybody wonders, this is true and intended in the computing science business, as we have to learn to adapt to new technologies in a daily basis).

Another reason he provides that he doesn't want to spend his time to learn coding is because he is bored. I have to add that being bored is one of his daily reasons for not doing anything (laundry, food, socialise).

I have in multiple occasions explained that he should try practicing on his own, or with me if he wants with different projects, to get better. My reasoning is that he already wastes enough money from his own parents for his studies and that even if he ever gets a diploma or a bachelors he won't be able to get any job in our business.

Even though he looks like the typical bro in University, he is very smart in terms of user psychology and human-computer interaction. In addition to that he tends to read in a frequent basis articles and research material on his own, for no reason, different subjects (cross referencing in multiple occasions too). Something that has lead me to suggest him to follow a research occupation, which of course he answered that at some point he gets bored. Last, when he speaks for his future he notes to everyone, that if he does not pass he will just get a job anywhere and call it a day.

I know, not everyone is meant for being a scientist and a professional, and not being one is not considered as anything subpar. My only issue is that I can see potential in his skill and reasoning but non-existing motivation to train that. Before it's too late I want to help my friend start being just a little more productive.

Any suggestion would be appreciated.

closed as too broad by apaul, Tinkeringbell, JAD, Anne Daunted, Omar Abdelhafiz Dec 27 '17 at 18:10

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • "The individual is studying a very interesting subject, Computing Science. He is an average student. He is in his 3rd year and he hardly knows/remembers any of the programming skills he supposedly learned in the classroom. He sleeps 14 hours a day, waking up only to forcibly go to classes, do some university assignments(always at the last day or two) and maybe socialise, if he is invited to any social event." Is he similarly apathic towards other things than his study? – JAD Dec 27 '17 at 14:37
  • Is there any negative backlash to his current behavior? Does he have bills, disappointed parents/sponsors, or something? This sounds like something that is being enabled by circumstance. – Erik Dec 27 '17 at 14:46
  • @JarkoDubbeldam Yes to some, not to others. No clear pattern though. I would say he tends to be 50/50. Sometimes, he may be apathic to topic that he was empathic a week ago. – Nick Dec 27 '17 at 15:06
  • @Erik Some paternal dissapointment as far as I know, but unaware of the extend to that. – Nick Dec 27 '17 at 15:09
  • @JarkoDubbeldam If you have an answer, please post it below. Thanks. – Robert Cartaino Dec 27 '17 at 17:50
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Based on my personal experience I will answer your question:

I need to say some things about myself:

I also did Computing Science college, also in my 3° year of college I stopped and just resumed after a year of 'boring things to do', also in that year I had no social life and I was just stuck in my room playing video games and sleeping 10 - 12 hours/day. Since I told you this, now I will tell you how I got over all that.

First Probably your friend has some kind of depression, it's the most common problem in the world and people just don't know how to deal with. For this problem there is 2 ways to get out (that I know), first is go get professional help and second is with help of friends and family. In my case I got out of depression by constant help of friends and family, if your friend does not have a relationship, try to introduce him to some girl or boy that he will actually bond (this really helps with the depression part).

Second Help your friend to get a job in your area, even if it does not pay much, this is the only way I found to get real interest on learning how to deal with programming problems and stuff. An internship is my best advice in this case, he will not work so hard, but still get some money to spend and he will must go after information that helps him in work. (You can ask for his parents help with this, they will need to stop giving him money to buy stuff, he needs to learn the value of things.)

Third Get him out of the house, he will not practice at home, he will not have interest in there, home is his safe spot, and you need to get him out of there.

With these 3 steps your friend will start realising that life is not just sleep, eat and games.

MOST IMPORTANT : In cases like his and mine, we always need someone saying to us that we metter and we can do more, that we are awesome... this is not because we don't believe that or we don't realise it, most of people try to get out of this situations but goes back to the safe zone and the nightmare starts all over again.

This is some part of my history too, hope it helps you and if you need more info just ask.

PS: Now I'm graduated, living with my future wife, getting money, I have a good car and a good apartment and I never stoped doing stuff that were from my safe zone like gaming. I hope your friend gets better.

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    Please avoid diagnosing mental disorders based on second person accounts over the internet. – JAD Dec 27 '17 at 14:38
  • Take the medical stuff out of your answer and I would consider voting for it. – Mister Positive Dec 27 '17 at 15:13
  • I'm not diagnosing anything, just saying my opinion based on my personal experience, that's why i advice to search for professional help..... – Lucio Zenir Dec 27 '17 at 15:32
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    You don't have to be a medical professional to surmise that someone unmotivated and sleeping 14 hours a day might be suffering from depression. It seems to me that this is a germane and relevant response to the question asked. – Curt Dec 28 '17 at 19:25
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I'm going to start here:

Last, when he speaks for his future he notes to everyone, that if he does not pass he will just get a job anywhere and call it a day.

So, it sounds like he has a plan for his future. He's simply not very motivated to achieve beyond that, because he doesn't feel the need to. Unless you have the power to make this backup plan fail, there's not a whole lot you can do. You could point out some flaws in the backup plan, if you see them, but be prepared for rebuttals. ("You won't make as much money!" "Meh, I don't need lots of money." etc.)

You can't make someone else be motivated - that's something that has to come from within. What you can do is fan the flames when his interest is sparked, and encourage him to go further.

You could also play career advisor and suggest ways to channel these interests into potential employment. It seems like you've tried this:

He tends to read in a frequent basis articles and research material on his own, for no reason, different subjects (cross referencing in multiple occasions too). Something that has lead me to suggest him to follow a research occupation, which of course he answered that at some point he gets bored.

So at this point, I'd just stick to encouragement. "Wow, that's so interesting! I wonder if...? Do you know?" to push him to keep at it. Make him feel good about himself for doing the things, and that positive reinforcement can help him stick with it longer. If it's something that you personally don't care for, you might be able to point him towards a person or a group that does take an interest in it, so he could continue discussing and learning about it with them.

That said: it's great that you care about your friend's future, but this is not your problem to solve.

He may simply not like computer science that much, and hasn't found his true passion yet. Not everyone figures out what they want to do when they're in college! Being decent or even smart at something doesn't mean that's what they will be happy doing all their life. People can change careers. There are also plenty of jobs which don't require long-term concentration on one topic.

He may also be depressed, have ADHD, or some other condition that a professional would need to diagnose. If you are concerned, you can suggest he see a professional (your university may even have some on site for low cost).

You could also suggest he talks to a career counselor (again, which your university likely has), or to people in jobs that he is considering. This could give him clarity and make him realize the importance of his studies, as academic work and actual work can seem very disconnected at times.

(As a side note, I do not recommend suggesting a romantic relationship to solve his productivity issues - that just shifts the burden to the new partner instead of you. And what if it doesn't work out? If he's depressed, now he's even more depressed, and now someone else is frustrated with him too. The support of friends and family is very helpful, but let relationships develop for their own sake, not to try and fix some issue.)

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