You used to be a tight knot group as you navigated life on a small budget, shared the challenges, the noodle dinners and the walks home from the pub when you didn’t have money for transport.
But now something has changed. Money is no longer a common measure and bonding struggle. Some in the group have stepped into another earnings category and everything is different.
This new paradigm can be a stealthy relationship killer as the group is split between those who try desperately to keep up with the others spending habits and those earning more fearing they no longer fit in and trying their best to overcompensate by always being the ones paying.
The situation can quickly devolve into resentment, jealousy and an ultimate break down of the friendship bond.
It may not have to be this way with a little bit of creative navigation.
Be open and honest
Don’t hide your inability to attend a dinner, drinks or destination get together with random and bazaar excuses. The more excuses you have to make, amazingly the more creative they become!
Rather state the facts, it doesn’t work in your budget. You may get a surprising chorus of “me too’s ” from some of your other friends who have also been trying to keep up appearances and are beyond relieved that someone has been brave enough to voice the truth!
Be creative in your social plans
Come up with some suggestions that can fit within your budget and will still be fun social get-togethers.
A different dinner course at each other’s houses. A games night with a “bring and share” theme. A poker night. The list is only limited by your imagination.
Plan your splurges and let your friends in on your big plan
Make space in your budget for the occasional spending blow out. Get your friends involved in the planning and make it meaningful from the social aspect as opposed to the big spend element.
Keep up the old traditions
Traditions keep relationships alive. They bring people together for events that are commonly meaningful and can be low cost given that they are likely to have originated when you were all at a different place financially from where you are now.
If you are the one earning more ditch the guilt
Humans are social creatures and we all want to fit in. If we are the one’s out earning our group it can make us the target of jealousy and bitterness.
This coupled with our desire to be “just one” of the group can cause a great deal of internal as well as social stress.
As with earning less the first step to tackling this new potential crack in the friendship is communication. Talk about it.
Money is a horribly awkward subject but the longer you bottle your feelings and sit in the negativity marinade, the more the guilt and feeling of exclusion festers and thrives.
Work out a middle ground by setting spending boundaries for both ends of the earning spectrum. Make sure that a fair, open and equal foundation is laid for navigating differing finances in the friendships.
Sometimes it’s time to say goodbye
Despite all of these suggestions the friendship may still have reached a point where it’s time to part ways. Maybe the income gap has grown too large or maybe the latent resentments, jealousy and guilt have grown uncontrollable. Whatever the cause sometimes you just have to end the friendship and learn to move on.
Don’t let negative money beliefs sabotage your friendships or your ability to build wealth. Grab the End Self Sabotage Cheat Sheet.