Difference of income between friends often becomes an issue in friendships and can even cause a falling out if friends don’t figure out how to handle financial inequality. Interestingly enough, having a higher income than most of your friends can be just as awkward than earning less than they do. How to handle making more money than your friends?
Treat your friends sometimes. If you want to go to a fancy restaurant or bar but you know your friends can’t afford it, treat them and pick up the tab. Just don’t act like you pity them. They are probably already feeling awkward because they make less money than you do, there is no need to fuel their insecurity.
But don’t let them take advantage. It is easy to take advantage of a person who enjoys giving without even realizing it, so it is very important to set boundaries. You can treat your friends from time to time, but you don’t have to pick up the tab each time you hang out together simply because you earn more money. We also recommend against lending money to your friends.
Let them repay you if they insist. Of course, your friends don’t have to repay when your treat them of your own volition. But if they insist on repaying you with something else than money (such as babysitting or a homemade meal), let them do it. It will make them feel better.
Find common ground with activities. Your less wealthy friends can’t afford to go to restaurants, movies, concerts as often as you’d like to or take expensive vacations. To make things less awkward, let them choose a place/vacation destination that is within their entertainment budget.
Don’t discuss your income levels. If money is an awkward subject, don’t bring it up. We’re sure that as friends you have a lot of things to talk about. Discussing your jobs is okay (after all, a person’s job is a huge part of their life), just don’t mention how much money you make.
Keep traditions alive. A change in income typically leads to a change in lifestyle, which can cause a rift between friends. It’s like you start living in different worlds. If you want to keep your friendship alive, don’t stop doing the things you used to do just because you are making more money now. If you used to meet for brunch in a hole in the wall diner every Sunday, keep meeting. It is such traditions that keep friendships alive.
In a nutshell, communication is the key. If it is a true friendship, an honest conversation will help you figure things out and maintain your friendship despite financial inequality. And if your so-called “friends” just want to take advantage, you need to put an end to this ASAP.
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