The answer is probably yes. Those of us in our early 30s or -whatever age you are – are starting to see our lives take different paths from our friends. For a while, we were all poor college OR grad students. Now that school is behind us (is it ever) we are going on to career paths that will present a shift in our income. Our finance and maybe engineer friends likely started at six figures while those of us in social sciences and humanities might be making a just little over what we made in graduate school. If you are honest though you will see that we are pursuing our passion, our skill and the jobs that we are uniquely designed to do well at.
What does it mean that our friends are making more money than we do? It means whatever you want it to mean. A month or so ago, some friends and I were discussing why it is so easy to drool over people’s picture-perfect vacations or homes. It is only natural to feel a little bit of jealousy when we think others are far ahead of us and nothing is more likely to make us question our worth than money or the ideas of what money can buy.
Having friends who are richer than you can be stressful. You might feel pressured to spend to their level. Just don’t. This applies to every stage of life. In college, if you can’t afford to eat out at the “cheap” taco place, be honest and tell your friends, you can’t afford it. I liked hanging with my friends but could not always afford meals etc. so I joined people at house parties and or hosted potlucks at our apartment a lot. In graduate school, my bestie and I loved hanging out with other girlfriends after church – Sunday lunch. We really could not to spend $20, so we always split our meals. Have you seen the portions in the South? We never missed out on Sunday lunch, and we often got to try out new fun places. At first, our friends looked at us with confusion re meal-sharing but after a while they accepted it.
We can’t control the things people ask of us – but we can control how we respond to those asks. If you want to join your friends for dinner but can’t afford to split a huge check, let them know. Use your words and say I will need to order separately. Telling the waiter in advance will not only make their job easier, but you won’t stress.
Be honest with yourself. Are you willing to do whatever job your rich friend is doing to earn the same? Is it possible to increase your income, doing something that you love? A friend and I talk openly about money. I know that she will be rich – this makes me happy because she gives great gifts hahaha, but I also know she works hard in a tough industry. I work hard but in a different environment that brings me immense joy and loads of flexibility. My job allows me to do an hour of yoga EVERYDAY if I want.
Try not to loan each other money \ (read more here)– it gets tricky. I hate paying off my credit card because I feel like I am wasting money-paying back loans can also feel this way. If you do borrow money -pay back on time. You should not be asked. If you loan money to friends be firm in asking for it back-set boundaries and don’t be passive aggressive just ask for the money.
If your friendship is struggling because of who makes more money that friendship probably isn’t worth it. Friendship should be enjoyable and supportive. If you are a rich friend and can afford to share your gifts, do so from a place of humility, love, and generosity. If you’re not money rich share love in time and other nonmonetary ways.
Shout out to my college friends who always made me feel like a part of the group even when I was just a poor kid from Zim.