Are your friends about as well off as you? Are they more poor or more rich? Does this interfere with your friendship? At this point, I’m about equal with my friends, maybe actually more on the poor side because of my choices, but I can’t help but shake the thought that “You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with” Does that mean if I hang out with 5 millionaires all day, I will also become a millionaire? If your friends get significantly richer or significantly poorer than you, will you still be best friends forever?
Whether you agree or disagree, it may be interesting to consider your friends and family in relation to money. Obviously there are a lot of different styles of relationships and we can’t generalize about human interaction and psychology in a blog post, but we can still ponder it and share our experiences.
In a way this reminds me of the housing market. As a Realtor it was common knowledge that if you built a house, you didn’t want to be the most expensive one on the street because it had a negative affect on the value of your home. However if you were on the lower end of the neighborhood it would positively increase your value since there was a tendency to gravitate to the mean. So does the same thing happen with your friends?
Being Friends with Someone Much Richer Than You
They drive a mercedes, have a 10,000 sq ft house, and take vacations to the Carribbean every 2 months. You drive a 6 year old kia, rent an apartment, and take a road trip to the next state over maybe once a year. Could you be friends? I think they made a movie about this… Envy…
The problem I see with this type of relationship is envy, jealousy, and an inability to relate to each other since you have different experiences. Maybe this just cultivates a completely different type of relationship where you’re friends based around a certain activitiy, but when the friend starts talking about the Carribbean… you won’t be able to relate. Friendships are largely based around how other people make you feel, so if your rich friend rubs in that he/she is rich, it’s likely to be a short lived friendship. However if it isn’t brought up much and you participate in activities that are similar without having a feeling that you’re missing out, it probably wouldn’t hurt the friendship.
Being Friends with Someone Much Poorer Than You
If you’re friends with someone much poorer than you who’s struggling, are you a bad friend if you don’t help them out? This might become a burden since your friend can’t do a lot of the things you want to do. Want to go kayaking in Colorado? Not going to happen if your friend is too poor to do it. I suppose it depends more on lifestyle associated with how you use your money more than it does with how much money you have. Kinda like the folks in the millionaire next door who lead simple lives that don’t require a lot of money, but in fact they were very wealthy.
Having poor friends will limit the hobbies and activities you participate in, but doesn’t remove their ability to be there for you and be a true friend. You may however, have to be okay with cooking in with them, maybe footing the bill, and limiting your hobbies.
Jerry’s Ryan’s Final Thoughts
All I know is that friends are usually people we can relate to and who we share experiences and memories with. They’re people who understand us and treat us with respect which then builds trust and a sense of inclusion. The thing I wonder though, is if money becomes so much of a part of who we are that we can no longer relate to people who are much richer or much poorer than ourselves because it directly affects our lifestyle… well at least for most of us.
In turn, maybe we stay in our current situation so we don’t have to suffer the burden of finding new friends based on the social inpact it has of either going up or down the money ladder. Maybe people purposely stay middle class to avoid jealousy and envy from the friendships they have that matter more to them than money. Maybe your bff’s are only people who are in the same financial bracket as you over the years.
What do you think? Do you have any friends who are significantly richer/poorer than you?
If so, does it affect your relationship with them? Does it bug you in any way?
Image from Elvire-r