Can you be friends with rich people?

I wanted to title this post, “Can you be friends with people in decidedly different financial situations than you?” but that wasn't very catchy. (And I know: some of you ARE rich!)

But I was reading the acclaimed recent novel, “The Interestings,” with my writer's craft book group (we discuss books based on writing analytics rather than whether characters and stories are likable). The book's main character is just ordinary, with an ordinary job and ordinary talents. But Jules has some extraordinary (“interesting”) friends, friends that she met long ago at a summer camp for the arts.

Because Jules hasn't pursued her art as a career, and she probably wouldn't have made a ton of money at it in any case, she often finds herself terribly envious of her friends that have; notably, her friends whose talents have made them a huge financial success. (The male half of the couple seems to be loosely modeled off Matt Groening; his animated series quickly becomes huge and he's rich within months of winning a network deal.)

In one particularly ugly scene, the main character bemoans their recent transformation from regular struggling artists to fabulously wealthy, comparing her own pleasure at the great deal at the kebab place (“it comes with free salad AND flat bread!”) to their never, ever again needing to worry about such things. To how easy it is for them to pick up the check and how ridiculous it is for her to do so. How she can't see them the same way any more and surely! Her friends will look down from their Tower of Rich and shake their heads at their poor friend, still walking up stairs in her apartment, still picking up her own dry cleaning. Her husband sympathizes for a while, but loses his temper at one point, saying something along the lines of, “we're not boring people just because we're not rich! Do you hate being married to ordinary me? Get a grip!”

Jules may be more extreme in her statements than most of us, but we probably all feel like that sometimes.

I have a few friends who, in the course of our relationship, have gone from ordinary middle-income to bona-fide rich. One of my dearest friends' husbands sold his little company to a huge corporation. My brother, who has worked for Intel most of his adulthood, has been doing very well. He bought a new house a few months ago and when I visited, I was shocked to find it was kind of mansion-y. Another friend I met at a writing conference, I discovered after I'd been chatting for hours, had enough money to be an angel investor in independent films. The sort of conversations that start out, “I've been working on this novel,” (happens all the time in my life) and end, “I've been thinking of buying the movie rights to this famous author's novel.” (Never happens.)

I found myself, like Jules, sometimes re-evaluating ordinary money conversations after I'd had them.

My friend who'd gone from middle-income to rich was used to hearing about my money woes. Not that I'd complain all the time, but I'd remark on how my husband and I were arguing over money, or say I couldn't afford to go out to coffee, or worry about a freelance check that was overdue and oh my goodness I was broke until then. Now I'd start into those conversations and at some point remember that she could sympathize but not relate, any more.

My friend is a good enough friend that I know she still does sympathize, and luckily things have been better for me, finance-wise, in the past year so I rarely have the situation where I have to say “no” due to finances. She's not the sort given to social extravagances, anyway; when we go out, it is to plays, coffee shops or small cafes where we order small meals. We're absolutely OK.

But what about rich people in your family? Can you still relate to them?

I found my brother's case a good lens through which to look at this rich/middling dichotomy. His young adulthood was challenging and, when he was a new dad, I know he did struggle with money a lot. I know there were arguments in his first marriage over money and, well, that marriage ended. So when I realized that things had definitely turned the corner for him, as evidenced by his new home and his toys (he's a computer-chip engineer; most of his toys are computers he's built himself), I was more thrilled for his success than feeling a yen for comparison. I don't know if his friends felt the same.

He's had the same group of friends since he was in middle school, and none of them have become highly-paid engineers at Intel. I'm fairly sure most of them are still living in apartments; they certainly don't live in mansion-y homes. Having just finished reading this book, I wondered how they'd take it. Would they go home and, like Jules, complain that they couldn't hang out with their friend any more? That every discussion now was tinged with differences?

I don't know them well enough to ask, but my guess is they've known my brother so long his differences have grown slowly, had time to grow on them.

It's hard, though, to think about sometimes; one of my siblings lives in a mansion while another lives in a house share with two other families. It's all the choices we've made, and can we visit each other and truly be happy for one another's successes (babies, artistic accomplishment, happy relationships) without comparing incomes?

Being friends with rich people is really all about you, not them.

My friend the angel investor was in town and invited me out to a play. I let him pay for the cab to the play but took him back to his hotel on the bus (I paid the $5!) — through the sketchy part of town — thinking to myself, “he could afford better. But he's an adult enough to protest if he doesn't like it.” I had to realize that any concern I have about how my lifestyle must look to my friends is all my problem and none of theirs.

Being friends with people whose financial situation is far better than yours should be an exercise for you — in not comparing. So what if they could go to dinner anywhere; if you get to pick, pick the place you can afford in case they say “Sure. Thanks,” when you offer to pick up the check. Be honest, but not assuming; it's OK to protest, “I can't afford Le Cirque, how about the kebab place?” and give your friend the benefit of your gratitude if they respond, “Oh, I was going to pick up the check.” Remember how gracious and awesome your friend is if they just say, “OK.”

If you stop yourself in the middle of a discussion about a really great deal you've found on organic yogurt or the best way to buy recycled toilet paper, thinking, “Oh my god, they don't care,” well, let them decide that. Maybe they do care. Just because they're rich doesn't mean they can't be frugal (and don't we all tune out friends sometimes when they talk about things we can't relate to?). Be yourself, still, because that's the person your friend was attracted to in the first place. Even if you're a broke person.

It's OK to fall out of touch if it's too much.

Sometimes it just can't work. Your friend invites you to a week away in Europe, which is great, but you can barely find the cash to travel to a French restaurant. Your friend wants to go shopping with you at boutiques where you couldn't afford even so much as a hair accessory. Your friend offers to meet at the spa/country club/billiard room. Your friend doesn't protest when you offer to pick up the check at an expensive lunch and then you've blown your food budget for two weeks. Your friend gets you a very expensive gift for your birthday and then complains to you about how a third friend gave her something handmade — which was your best idea for a suitable gift in return.

Sometimes friendships can't work out with such out-sized differences. But it's likely those friendships were too shaky anyway; maybe even based on the wrong things. If friendships are based on your personal relationship and not your relationship to things, places, and entertainment, you can weather the wealth of a friend.

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MoneyAhoy.com
MoneyAhoy.com
6 years ago

I think it can work if you are comfortable with it and don’t always second guess situations. If you’re uncomfortable, they will notice and it will put strains on the friendship.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
6 years ago

I don’t think it’s income that matters so much as having things in common — especially one’s outlook on life. I have wealthy friends and family who have treated me as “less than” because I don’t have the same “stuff” or experiences that they do. But I also have married-with-kids friends who have treated me the same way because I’m single. Yet, most of the people in my life aren’t that way at all. I think strain is going to happen anytime someone thinks their lifestyle is better than yours, or when you think their lifestyle is better than yours.… Read more »

Darlene with BlogBoldly
Darlene with BlogBoldly
6 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

I’m with Elizabeth here: “I don’t think it’s income that matters so much as having things in common – especially one’s outlook on life.”

But also you’re going on the premise that GRS readers are not rich.

Personally, I find most affluent pp more interesting because there seems more synergy and excitement going on.. business and fun.

darlene 🙂

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
6 years ago

Yikes! I hope you aren’t reinforcing the idea that non-affluent = boring! Some of my most interesting friends are ones who are constantly learning, creating, building and innovating — and they’re all over board when it comes to income. I’m a creative type as well, so I think it boils down to common interests again.

Carla
Carla
6 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

+1

Pauline @ Make Money Your Way
Pauline @ Make Money Your Way
6 years ago

I have friends on both ends of the spectrum and we can stay friends because we do things we are both interested in and contribute the same. A rich friend who likes hiking will offer to go visit a national park, I just won’t join the $250 diner after that. Same for my broke friends, I try to meet them in places that won’t make them feel uncomfortable. I don’t mind inviting them once in a while but it shouldn’t be the reason why we meet and I can pay for drinks out while they invite me for a home… Read more »

Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies
Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies
6 years ago

Like Pauline, we have friends on all ends of the financial spectrum. And oddly, oftentimes the ones that also complain the most about money issues are the ones that are less satisfied with having a nice homemade meal at our place and insist on going out to dinner. Whereas the multi-millionaires love coming over to our modest home for a nice homemade meal (and they happily bring some cheap wine or a six-pack to show their gratitude – nothing fancy needed).

raj
raj
6 years ago

People are the same here. I am at, and from India. My friends who earn much less than me laugh at my frugality. For our re-union, I suggested that we can cook good food, eat and drink at home. But they felt bad and want to blow away half of their monthly pay in the most expensive Restaurants in town.
I think they feel they are rich during the moments they spend in big places. The are ready to fake and lie to themselves for those moments. Is there a single word in English for this behavior?

Mysticaltyger
Mysticaltyger
5 years ago
Reply to  raj

Not a single word, but a phrase “Keeping up with the Joneses”. The Joneses may not even be real people, but a figment of their imagination, but these people are too hung up on social comparison.

John S @ Frugal Rules
John S @ Frugal Rules
6 years ago

Like Pauline, we have friends on both sides of the spectrum and generally have no issues. We share things in common and have been friends for years, which makes it easier. We also tend to not discuss earnings or money specifics (other than maybe investing strategies) so that makes it easier to not have issues. At the end of the day, I sort of see it as being friends with them because of who they are as opposed to what they make or don’t make.

Atlanta Financial Advisor
Atlanta Financial Advisor
6 years ago

I think common interests and personality plays a large part in friendships. Of course, wealth may change that to some degree but I think it is possible for people of varying financial situations to be friends.

Uncle Snake
Uncle Snake
6 years ago

Man, is it just me or does it seem like everyone that writes for this site is poor? This blog should be called “How To Be Cheap If You Are Poor Or In Debt”

SwampWoman
SwampWoman
6 years ago

*shrug* I’ve been rolling in money. I’ve been so broke that I couldn’t afford the dollar menu at Mickey D’s. My favorite clothes regardless of circumstances are jeans and walking shoes. I like to read but, when broke, instead of buying, I check them out from the libraryor download free E-reader classics. I like to travel but, when broke, I stay in a tent or a cheap hotel instead of luxury accommodations. When I’m broke, I wear T-shirts that I designed and created from thrift store castoffs instead of store-bought creations of somebody else. In other words, I’m the same… Read more »

Carole
Carole
6 years ago

This is life! Sometimes we out grow people, sometimes they out grow us. I think it’s better to not over analyze things. Our friendships change over the years for various reasons. I remember Meg in “Little Women” as a young housewife who tried to keep up with richer friends. She decided that she couldn’t, and quit trying to be in that social circle.

Some Guy
Some Guy
6 years ago

I think this applies to more than just friends. Regardless of what relationship you have with someone else (friend, relative, coworker, customer, etc.) a difference in economic status shouldn’t be that important. Some of the people I work with at my office are multi-millionaires, others are “average joes”. I treat everyone basically the same and base my views about each of them for who they are, not how wealthy they are. Some of the wealthier people I work with are great people who I enjoy talking to when we have a moment, others are unpleasant and I tend to avoid… Read more »

Janice Salomon
Janice Salomon
6 years ago

I’m with swampwoman here. I’ve had money and not had money…having money is easier, but I’m still the same person who when I can will share my largess with less affluent friends, and when I can’t will accept generosity from my friends who can.

Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. Smart, aware people get that. More important than money I’ve found is to be fun, interesting (and interested) and engaged in life. You will never lack for people who want to spend time with you, no matter who’s paying.

Laura
Laura
6 years ago

I wonder if a distinction needs to be made between people who ARE rich and people who SEEM rich. As GRS readers keenly know, just because someone lives in a McMansion or shops in designer stores does not mean they’re rolling in dough (often the opposite). Off the top of my head, I think of one friend who I’m sure must be rich because she’s always lived modestly, enjoys frugality, and worked in high-paying fields. But she’s down-to-earth, and because she watches her money, she has no issue with me doing the same. I can talk endlessly with her about… Read more »

Rosa
Rosa
6 years ago

So far, it seems that just about everyone responding knows someone who is well off. That’s not my situation. I have only one sister. She’s a public school teacher, not married, so no other income. I’m a librarian, & my husband has health problems & works only part-time. I moved so many times in my life that I don’t know anyone from decades-ago high school, and the two closest friends I had then both died young. Everyone I know is in a similar financial situation, more or less, since literally everyone I know is either an academic, a librarian, a… Read more »

tentaculistic
tentaculistic
6 years ago

I think it’s important to realize that sometimes the people you fight not to envy for their successes may be themselves fighting not to envy you for your successes. My friends are mostly in the young-family mode, while until my divorce I was a DINK with both of us white-collar professionals making decent salaries – so it’s possible that by comparison I was the “rich” friend who they could have envied because I could go out to dinner frequently, buy clothes and shoes, etc. The thing is, I have been working hard at not envying THEM (happy marriages, getting to… Read more »

Slackerjo
Slackerjo
6 years ago

I am really good at saying no (it was my job for years) so I have no problems not committing to social events. If someone gets pissed off at me for saying no then they are really not a good friend in the first place.

I do find it a bit frustrating being around two income (no kids) people who sometimes forget that single people are responsible for every expense and might not have the same amount of disposable income. I don’t think people are intentionally thoughtless,they just are used to having the flexibility of two incomes and forget.

phoenix1920
phoenix1920
6 years ago
Reply to  Slackerjo

But two income people have twice the expense in going out. It seems like the only benefit in having two incomes is that you both contribute to the same household expenses. However, I have single friends who share a house with another person, so I don’t see where the financial benefit is. It is more of a lifestyle choice as to whether you choose to share a living space with another person, similar in many aspects to deciding how much to spend on your house in the first place. For me, I have found it just as frustrating sharing a… Read more »

Lauren {Adventures in Flip Flops}
Lauren {Adventures in Flip Flops}
6 years ago
Reply to  phoenix1920

Meh, it’s not as simple as “the only thing you share is household expenses.” You might share a car and carpool to work, and when you go on vacation you can share a hotel, a taxi, etc. On the household expenses side of things, thats one house, one bed, one set of pots and pans, property taxes, cleaning supplies, etc. And, let’s not forget the tax breaks for married people, as well. These are small things in themselves, but they do make a big difference in a budget. Of course, there are always solutions (go on vacation with a friend,… Read more »

Mike B.
Mike B.
6 years ago

It goes both directions — even the “rich” people know richer people. My SMIL’s snarky Facebook posts make it clear that she thinks we’re intolerably rich, and it’s true that my job provides us better nominal income than most of my wife’s extended family. On the other hand, we live in a very high-cost-of-living area, so those intolerable riches don’t go as far as my in-laws think. Beyond that, we’re one of the few single-income couples we know, and there’s a notable difference between having one six-figure income and having two six-figure incomes. At home, I’m the one who has… Read more »

Carla
Carla
6 years ago

Since the beginning of adulthood I’ve always had friends and acquaintances who were well-off. Having worked for Fortune 500 (and better) companies, I was surrounded by such people. My volunteer work/organization is full of women who don’t have to work and is sometimes shocked when I mention my job to them. Being from the Bay Area, most of my friends were definitely rolling in it but it never affected our friendship. Most never talked about it or flaunted it. I think its more about the people I attract in my life than anything. How I feel about myself and my… Read more »

lmoot
lmoot
6 years ago

In my circle of peers/ co-workers I’m known as the “rich” one (rich by comparison, not definition). This is absolutely hilarious considering that I earn barely enough to qualify for the medium of the middle class. I do think the “rich” talk is mostly tongue-in-cheek b/c they know of my love of PF (my sister calls me rich auntie b/c I pay for my niece and nephews for many things, and seemingly can afford to buy anything I want). The truth in my case though is not how much I earn compare to them. I probably make as much or… Read more »

lmoot
lmoot
6 years ago
Reply to  lmoot

Wanted to add…for me, it’s much easier to say “no” than to constantly be told “no”.

Also, I am finding that as I continue on my journey to FI, I have more in common with those who do what it takes to not constantly be broke all the time.

I’ll admit I pull the broke card when I simply don’t value the activity enough to do it…so maybe they are doing the same, who knows.

Carla
Carla
6 years ago
Reply to  lmoot

@lmoot

Your comment does remind me when I started to lose friends when I first went on disability and wasn’t working. I quickly realized cheap activities can only go so far with certain people and I can’t say I blame them.

I was still on their Facebook and Christmas card list but the invitations, phone calls, etc gradually faded.

lmoot
lmoot
6 years ago
Reply to  Carla

Oh no, that sounds terrible. I would hope I wouldn’t be that sort of friend. I guess this is the reason why it’s good to have different kind of friends. The friends you can hang out with doing anything, the friends you go places with, or simply the friends you talk to. Most of the time when I am annoyed at my friends’ brokeness it’s b/c I know why they are broke…new cars they can’t afford, apartment they can’t afford, blatant refusal to pursue a full-time job because they can’t commit to the hours. Those are the ones that I… Read more »

Carla
Carla
6 years ago
Reply to  Carla

@imoot

😀 I wasn’t implying that you were one of those (it sounds like you’re far from it!), but I can relate to the separation that can naturally occur in relationships when there is a financial gap.

Matt @ Your Living Body
Matt @ Your Living Body
6 years ago

What if you reversed the question and phrased it like this, can you be friends with poor people? I mean, really can you? And I’m talking about poverty stricken. I agree with one of the posters that it’s better not to over-analyze things. One thing I’ve found is that as my life has gone forward compared to those friends of mine where their life hasn’t gone forward we have slowly grown out of touch.

lmoot
lmoot
6 years ago

I agree wholeheartedly to this. That pretty much sums it up right there. I’m in a place in my life where I am constantly trying to grow, and improve, and I tend to lose interest in friendships in which the other person does not.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
6 years ago

When people say “rich” and “poor” in this context, they aren’t usually talking about the 1% and people living below the poverty line. I think those relationships would be very difficult indeed!

I think sometimes we define rich and poor by how much other people have in relation to us. That’s just an illusion, really.

Counter
Counter
5 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

So what you’re saying is that the vast majority of these people are in fact not poor (albeit often not rich), and are in fact relatively privileged. Not only is there some classist sentiment floating around, there’s the inherent ableism (& sometimes racism) when people assume that the reason for others being impoverished is entirely within their control. A fair portion of the comments are rather repulsive in their attitude towards those they claim are “friends” solely because their income level or their expenditures don’t fit what the poster thinks is best. People like that (the posters) aren’t friends; they’re… Read more »

Tara @ Streets Ahead Living
Tara @ Streets Ahead Living
6 years ago

I agree that I think having common interests really is what matters and not the income. If you are not flush with cash and a friend/family member cares about you enough and you talk to them how you can’t always participate in their high fallutin’ ways, they’ll tone down the high spending outings to compensate. Obviously, don’t say, “I’m broke and can never go out with you” but do be honest. If a friend can’t accept that, then it may be best that the friendship wanes. People change over time and you can’t keep hanging out with people just because… Read more »

EMH
EMH
6 years ago

Yes.

I am also friends with people with less money than me. People who are taller, shorter, bigger, skinnier, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, atheist, drink, straight-edge, vegan or a carnivore. What I am not friends with are jerks.

Cherie
Cherie
6 years ago
Reply to  EMH

EXACTLY Your example of someone complaining about a handmade gift from another friend . . . why on earth would you spend time with such a beast? Who complains about a well-meant gift?!?!?! Sheesh I am richer than some of my friends and poorer than others – and think little of it – if I can’t afford something I say so – I offer to pay for those who can’t when it feels right to me and won’t leave me feeling resentful – the reasons I would feel one way or another has everything to do with the other persons… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
6 years ago
Reply to  EMH

+1!

Warren Buffet
Warren Buffet
6 years ago

You can be friends with anyone, just don’t fall into the trap keep up with the Joneses. Find something in common and stick to it.

Brendan Long
Brendan Long
6 years ago

This was great, except for this:

> Your friend doesn’t protest when you offer to pick up the check at an expensive lunch and then you’ve blown your food budget for two weeks.

If you don’t want to pay for something, don’t offer to. Even if your friends know you can’t afford it, they may not object because they don’t want to offend you.

Cherie
Cherie
6 years ago
Reply to  Brendan Long

That one offended me as well – if you’re that tight – be honest and ask for a less expensive place, and don’t offer to treat if you don’t WANT to do it graciously and can’t without eating ramen noodles for two weeks.

If I’d let you treat me to lunch in the last year I’d feel pretty horrified reading that

Carla
Carla
6 years ago
Reply to  Cherie

I totally agree. I know how to negotiate entertainment costs with friends so this never comes up. We always ask each if XYZ is OK, no matter what the economic situation for us.

Ramblin\' Ma\'am
Ramblin\' Ma\'am
6 years ago
Reply to  Brendan Long

Yeah, I don’t really understand the point of offering to pay for something you can’t afford. Is it to look affluent and generous, even if you are struggling? Your true friends shouldn’t judge you because you can’t afford a $100 lunch.

Monica @MonicaOnMoney
Monica @MonicaOnMoney
6 years ago

I think this is a great topic to consider and really a topic that affects anyone interested in their personal finances. People in general should be aware of how comfortable their friends feel when it comes to spending money since everyone is at a different place financially. Great points!

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
6 years ago

I have zero relationships where money is an issue. What kind of person they are, what we have in common is all that counts. I don’t care how much money they do or do not have. My issue is their character.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
6 years ago

Rich people are awesome to be friends with. They have plenty of fun things to do and opportunities to throw your way. My girlfriend just got a job through knowing an executive at a fairly large corporation who happens to be a member of the same yacht club as her, which is not to mention all the sailing she’s done on other rich people’s boats (common perceptions aside, you may have to be rich to own a yacht, but you don’t have to be rich to join a yacht club. Plenty of yacht club members don’t own boats, they just… Read more »

Jen from Boston
Jen from Boston
6 years ago

If you have trouble being friends with someone who has more money than you then either they’re putting on airs and putting on a show, or you’re just plain insecure. If it’s the latter than that’s YOUR issue. I’ve been friends whose families are moneyed and trusts funds are a regular thing. Those friends are some of themost down-to-earth people I know. They value the worth of a dollar and don’t blow it all on caviar and yachts. They have a work ethic and appreciate a good deal. Odds are they’d appreciate hearing about a great bargain you found because… Read more »

Jamie@SoyMilkMustache
6 years ago

Great post! My mid- to late- twenties were a significant social/financial time for me, because so many of my friends transitioned from being dirt-poor grad students who were relying on their parents for financial support, to PhD-holders making a 6-figure income (I did not transition financially– I worked at the University where they were earning their degrees). In a relatively short period of time, I went from the friend that took them out for coffee to the friend that couldn’t afford to join $1000 French Laundry dinners. It took time for all of us to re-define the dichotomies of our… Read more »

Waverly
Waverly
6 years ago

$80 for a pitcher of margaritas? What? Why? Where?

Jamie@SoyMilkMustache
6 years ago
Reply to  Waverly

In England, where tequila is an expensive import! I didn’t realize the cost when he asked if we should split a pitcher. One pitcher turned into four (between multiple friends), and sadly, my buzz was completely killed when the bill came!

Stacy Rodriguez
Stacy Rodriguez
6 years ago

“Weather the wealth of a friend.” I like that! It’s like, “She’s going through a rich phase right now.” LOL.

CalLadyQED
CalLadyQED
6 years ago

Interesting, i seem to be richer, financially, than many of my friends. Partly bc i’m single and don’t have to think about mortgage or kids. My frustration is a family member who often says, “I’m poor.” Seriously, how awkward is that! That and older friends who won’t let me pick up the check sometimes. It makes me feel like they think I’m a child. With one family member, we took turns paying when we went out to eat. If it was her turn and she didn’t have money, we didn’t go out until she did. (Though that wouldn’t stop me… Read more »

Marie
Marie
6 years ago

Twice in my life, friendships of ours have ended because the other couple spent every last penny they had on IVF, and they couldn’t stand that we could afford extraneous things. It was so weird. We are solidly middle class, but I guess when you’re spending upwards of fifteen grand on hormone shots and lab procedures, it’s a strain to be invited to Olive Garden for all-you-can-eat breadsticks and salad.

Teinegurl
Teinegurl
6 years ago

Most of my friends are either in the same financial state as me single moms or slightly better off. I always thought that my friends with no kids would be more better financially off but they seem to be worse because they are not responsible and have no one who relies on them except themselves. (They call in sick to work, bad work performance etc. whereas i’m more responsible ) I also agree that it just depends on the time sometimes the friendships will flip where the “rich” person is now the broke person but in general it’s easier to… Read more »

Julie
Julie
6 years ago
Reply to  Teinegurl

I don’t think you can generalize on who is more responsible. I have known plenty of women who call into work sick claiming their kids are sick when in actuality they are either hungover or want to stay home and bake cupcakes for an impending birthday party. I also know plenty of people who are worried about taking care of their parents when they are elderly bc their parents were so irresponsible with their money their entire lives and they have no savings.

Michael | The Student Loan Sherpa
Michael | The Student Loan Sherpa
6 years ago

This is depressing to think about. I’d like to believe that the best friendships can survive regardless of financial differences.

Lauren {Adventures in Flip Flops}
Lauren {Adventures in Flip Flops}
6 years ago

It really just depends on the people. I know I will never make as much money as my friends. They are engineers and I work with youth in out-of-school programs. They married young and their parents all paid for college. Mine didn’t and I didn’t know enough about personal finance at the time to avoid the ridiculous amounts of loans so many of us have. But, you know, I love them. And they love me. And some of them offer to pay sometimes and don’t make that a big deal. Some don’t offer to pay, ever, and split the bill… Read more »

Skint in the City
Skint in the City
6 years ago

Fascinating post to read. INHO you can be friends with rich people if they are sensitive enough to realise not everyone has the same income as then. It only becomes awkward when all of thier social invitations cost a whopping amount of money – eg ‘why don’t we all go away for a spa weekend?’ If your rich pals have any sensitivity they’ll choose activities like beach walks, vintage shopping or picnics for you to share together. If they persist with the spa weekend invites after the first ‘I can’t afford that,’ it might be time to say bye-bye!

Sam
Sam
6 years ago

I have a dear friend who is married to a very wealthy man (although he wasn’t super rich when they got married). Frankly, I enjoy our friendship as she invites me to their vacation home and then we go out on their boat, etc. Being friends with rich people can be a great perk. I have other friends who are well off and sometimes when we all get together for a girls weekend I’m sometimes a bit taken aback at the shopping, the designer purses, etc. Louis Vuitton is just not me, but I still enjoy spending time with them… Read more »

Tina
Tina
6 years ago

I had a good friend who I have known since we were in elementary school. We both got married and had children and our families did many things together. She and I could relate to financial struggles because we were in the same boat. A few years later, her husband sold their computer business to a larger firm and her husband stayed on with the larger company. They became wealthy pretty much overnight. Last time I saw her, she pretended not to know who I was. She of course got some enhancement surgeries done and looked great and I was… Read more »

Adam P
Adam P
6 years ago

I say enjoy your uber rich friends. Especially the ones that earned their way there, rather than inherited it or won it in some lottery/fluke. My cousin recently became President/CEO of a Fortune 500 company’s Canadian operation. She has access to a private jet, an 8000 square foot mansion, servants, sauna/pool/hot tub/etc. Visiting with her is like going to a luxury hotel for free, and I get to spend it there with my extended family. On the flip side, I have a friend who is now homeless and living on the street (in another country). I help him out and… Read more »

FruGal
FruGal
6 years ago

I think this has a lot more to do with attitude than actual bank accounts. I have friends with various financial situations and financial attitudes and the situations and attitudes sometimes match up in unexpected ways.
Overall, I appreciate having a variety of friends. I enjoy seeing life from their perspectives, because it often reinforces that I’m content with my own. I’ve made choices based on what I value and so have they. The differences are sometimes interesting/sad/funny/beneficial but I learn from them no matter one and that makes me value their friendships more.

nightwatcher
nightwatcher
6 years ago

I think it’s when people start being judgmental and making a whole lot of assumptions about each other is when friendships go bad, regardless if it’s about money or not. Just because someone is frugal doesn’t mean they aren’t sitting on a decent sized nest egg, and someone who makes a lot of money may not have a very high net worth. I don’t talk much about the fact that I can brutal about my expenses when I’m determined to save (I’m a mid-level executive in the tech industry and at one time was living on less than $400 a… Read more »

cantaloupe
cantaloupe
6 years ago

I was raised to never talk about money. So was my billionaire friend. So even though we are on the most opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of wealth, we still have plenty of things to talk about and we rarely have awkard inequality moments. I don’t do things with him that I couldn’t afford if he wasn’t paying, often he picks up bills to be nice, but mostly we just hang out and talk about movies and travel and culture. Sometimes he talks about a plan or investment I could never afford, but I can be interested even… Read more »

ProtestantWorker
ProtestantWorker
6 years ago

For me personally it’s sometimes hard to be friends with SOME of those who grew up rich, especially when I am under financial pressure / working hard on a project. The rich just sometimes can’t understand that your appetite for risk is quite low when you have less than 1 000 (of any currency) in your bank account, and that if you make a mistake, there is no safety net, or family to help you out. The only poverty they experienced is when their allowances got cut and their parents felt they should experience not having access to everything for… Read more »

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
6 years ago

With the size of the log on your shoulder, I am amazed that you have any room for anyone else in your residence!

Uncle Snake
Uncle Snake
6 years ago

PW, you act like “rich” people are a different species or something. A lot of “rich” people gained their wealth by working hard and living below their means. They are regular people and a lot of times no one would even realize they are wealthy because they do not live in mansions or buy flashy things because they want to save and invest their money. What you are saying is ignorant and actually kinda offensive.

ProtestantWorker
ProtestantWorker
6 years ago

I am sure I have a huge log on my shoulders, otherwise I wouldn’t have taken the time to write – but I know that I am not alone in this and for every rich douche convincing themselves that they are actually OK, one of us little people have to say “no”. I was cursed to be raised under the Protestant work ethic (work must be good for society, not about monetary gain, honest, hard work earns you happiness and respect.). Just to be clear, I did mention “some” rich people, not all. I do know rich people who’s defining… Read more »

Mid-upper class
Mid-upper class
6 years ago

I have 2 friends that i grew up with that keep in touch via Facebook. Both never worked a day in their lives. Both almost didn’t graduate. Both are now incredibly wealthy because of family or a relationship. Both flaunt their endless funds online. I get a little annoyed to see the 10th high end home transformation in 6 months, the hundreds of new shoes bought, the perfect bodies they have all the time to work on. Meanwhile, I’ve been working since 11 and am an a student with no family and horrible health. Id like to think if i… Read more »

Joandurtz
Joandurtz
6 years ago

Death. The great equalizer.

jefferson faudan
jefferson faudan
6 years ago

i made friends with well-to-do people and quite often than not, i get to listen to their private lives and how things are going which they won’t tell just about anyone they know… they are just like you and me, they are people with issues in life to deal with either their business or what not… there are some things you may have to keep in mind… 1. don’t treat their friendship like they are VIPs… they get that even on a business-casual. they simply just need a company 2. don’t expect them to foot out the bill simply because… Read more »

peter petraitis
peter petraitis
5 years ago

The idea is pertinent but the content of the article is I think simplistic. I don’t know of any friendships between poor and wealthy persons. In general, wealthy people with their vast amount of choices dislike being around people who have none. I’ve actually heard rich people say things like “He can’t afford to do that, it’s so boring being around him!” That, I think, is the most popular consensus. I have wealthy relative I’ve grown up with who were like sibs until they found their riches. They now flit around the globe with their trendsetter friends and I get… Read more »

linda
linda
4 years ago

I am very lucky. Although I have had a series of disasters in my life that have rendered me poverty stricken, my hard – working best friend has ended up in a very comfortably-off position, both from her hard work and inheritances, and she shares her good fortune with me at every opportunity. She pays for me to go on holiday with her and her sister every year, treats me to expensive meals and treats and always gives me a generous sum of money on my birthday. There are some wealthy people who are very generous – and she is… Read more »

jennifer
jennifer
4 years ago

I believe it is a no win situation- I came from a wealthy family of origin and went to elitist schools- anyway for whatever reasons every one in the family did extremely well in life (not just financially) except for me and my disabled brother- And they are happy enough giving him tokens- helping him minimally but there is always the fear when he calls that it is for another handout- he got an inheritance a few years ago and blew it within a year- so now when he calls they are frustrated and help begrudgingly. It can’t work ……as… Read more »

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