I Make More. I Make Less.
Stop comparing and start sharing (the good times and the bad)
Do you find yourself comparing your financial health - or intelligence - to your friends’? Of course, it’s only human to peep across the proverbial garden fence now and then to assess the greenness of the grass on the other side. But in these days of Instagram one-upmanship, it’s easy for our competitive natures to get out of hand. And so often it comes down to money.
What if a friend has more than you?
Most of us have a mate who, through hard work or accident of birth, is living the high life in a way that we can only dream of. Perhaps she’s constantly buying amazing clothes, never having to worry about the rent, or making life decisions purely based on pleasure rather than economic constraints. Sure, it can be fun to be swept up in the glamour of her life, but there will come a time when you have to have a tricky conversation. Say she keeps inviting you to go shopping with her – are you really happy to keep standing outside the changing room offering your opinion on a series of designer frocks? Or what if she asks you to go on holiday with her, and you just can’t afford it? You know what we’re going to say. If she’s a true friend, she’ll pay for you, and set up a standing order for your emergency fund too. Errr… oops! We mean, if she’s a true friend she’ll take the hint and find a way to make it ok, like offering to pay for your flights so you only have to find enough for the accommodation, or, if even that’s out of your league, suggesting a weekend staycation with lots of movies and home made food.
And when you’re the better off one
It’s easy to get used to paying for your broke friend, but wouldn’t it be kinder to both of you – and more nurturing to your friendship itself – if instead of doing things one of you can’t afford, you find some free or cheap alternative activities? Think drinks instead of dinner, or a walk and a picnic instead of that pricey soulcycle class followed by brunch in a cool restaurant.
Any chance of a loan…?
You know full well it’s foolish to lend or borrow from a close friend. But if there really is no other option, make sure you draw up a proper, grown-up plan for repayment. Show her you mean business, whichever side of the equation you’re on. We’re talking an agreed date for giving the money back, even including interest if you can stomach it. But it had better not be for something silly like a fun pair of heels, or your bff will be seething inside.
To be honest, thinking about how money can poison friendships makes us want to shout from the rooftops “JUST DO FREE STUFF TOGETHER”. Because at the end of the day, what sustains us in a friendship is those late-night chats, that silly text exchange, the comforting words as you face a hard moment, or a tiny, ridiculous gift that only makes sense to you two and no one else. It’s a secret smile, a shared joke, a memory in common. It’s a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold and someone to pass you a tissue when you’re laughing so much the tears are steaming up your glasses.
If money is trespassing on these precious acts of friendship, you need to take a good, hard look at yourselves and re-boot your friendship, leaving cash out of the equation. That’s what we think, anyway.
What are your feelings and experiences with friends and money? Do you think women are different in the way they deal with this issue than men? What would you do if you were invited to a “destination wedding” that would blow your whole travel budget for the year?? Tell us your thoughts!