Tag Archives: insecurity

Friendship Friday: Friends. Money. Imbalance

I am officially the “poorest” of my friends and this is an issue FOR ME on many, many levels.

It means that they are always blessing ME and I can’t do the same for them. It means that we have to go and have breakfast at Penny Lane or Spur or Massimos  instead of at the Table Bay or on a wine farm and it means that, although there is connection and much in common between the parties, there is always this ELEPHANT in the room.

The elephant called Money.

The elephant called Imbalance.

The elephant called Insecurity.

There is even an elephant called PRIDE because I really struggle to accept the expensive help that I get sometimes and I literally have to give myself a serious pep talk.

It means that I have to go to them instead of them coming to me – which I don’t mind.  However, if I was someone who enjoyed entertaining then this probably would affect me.

It means that I can never buy them decent, expensive gifts even though they buy for me – I have to knit something small and cheap.

It means that we can’t go to the Five Flies – we end up at Mugg and Bean instead.

It also impacts my children.  For example, we can’t ALL take our kids to the aquarium or up the cable car or on an overseas holiday. We can’t ALL buy our kids an iPad or an iPod and we can’t all buy branded clothing for our kids. My kids are super spoilt on their birthdays and at Christmas time.  They get the gifts and the toys that I can’t afford to buy them. I was in ToysRUs the other day and saw a gift that one of my friends had bought Child2 for Christmas. It was R699! I nearly had a heart attack. I really cannot buy gifts that cost so much for my kids, let alone for theirs and this further feeds into my insecurity.

I know that this doesn’t really bother them because they surely have a choice, but it DOES bother me. A lot. So much so that I end up staying away after a while. I know that they love me and WANT to bless me. I know that they love me for who I am and what I stand for. I know that they see past the money thing. I just wish that I could see past the money thing.

I always get the cool hand-me-downs (I even got a working computer the other day that my friend was going to throw in the bin or something because she’d upgraded), I always am the one being taken out for a “treat”, and I am always being offered money/loans which I REFUSE btw. I draw the line at lending (or is it borrowing – I forget now) money from friends. My Mom always taught me that friends and money don’t mix and that if I wanted a friendship to be compromised in any way then I must either lend one of them some money or borrow some from one of them. This has ALWAYS stuck with me.

I know that it is more my issue than theirs and I do try to NOT let it bother me but it does.  After a while I start to feel like a “charity case” of sorts. After a while I start to wonder if I am perhaps looking desperate or something. After a while I wonder how the dynamics of the friendship will change when I am no longer in need of hand-me-downs. Will the dynamics of the friendship change when I  no longer need “charity”? Will the dynamics of the friendship change when I am no longer a “project”?

I guess time will tell, because I am currently doing WAY better with the money stuff. We are not out of the woods but we are getting there. Slowly but surely we are FINALLY starting to see flickers of light at the end of the tunnel.

Interestingly enough, I am in a similar situation with another friend where the dynamics of money is such that I am the one in a better financial position and she isn’t. I LOVE to bless her and treat her. If she needs money and I am able to help her then I give it to her as a gift. There is no “debt” between us. BUT. I am very aware of how it may make her feel.

So, this is my question to you:

Are you in friendships where there is an imbalance of sorts where money/wealth is concerned?

Does it affect you in any way? Feel free to tell me if I am reading too much into this and if you think that I need more therapy.

If it does affect you, how do you handle it?

I don’t invite people to my home unless I really have to…

I have issues.

They started when I was a kid. My mom literally BEGGED me to invite people over for my birthdays etc. I couldn’t. I never fully understood why I was like that. It’s not like I was ashamed of where I stayed or anything and my parents were certainly not  embarrassing in any way.

I recently read this post from Margot at Jou ma se blerrie blog where she had an issue because her little boy REFUSED to have his birthday party at home. It brought it all back for me. AS a child I couldn’t articulate WHY I was this way. As an adult, I can.

For me, it has to do with two things: Privacy and Insecurity.

I don’t like people coming around because it feels like they are in my space. My home is MY space. It’s the only place where I can completely let me hair down. I don’t need everyone seeing how I let my hair down. I reserve this part of me only for my husband and sons.

I don’t like people coming around because deep down I feel insecure (and yes, intellectually I know that it is ridiculous) about the fact that I live in  a tiny little house with 2nd hand furniture.  I am conscious of the fact that my house needs a lot of work and I keep thinking that visitors can see ALL the cracks in the walls etc.

I don’t like people coming to my house because I somehow just don’t feel “free” if that makes any sense. It feels like I need to play a role – the role of homemaker, entertainer, hostess. ALL these roles don’t come naturally to me and I have to work VERY hard to get into them.

People in my life already know not to just pitch up at my place or to just quickly pop in. Those who know me (including my very close family) know that they MUST call first – this gives me a chance to prepare myself mentally and psychologically for people invading my space. And they also know that they can’t stay long. Really, I have been known to tell people that it’s time to go home now – especially if they have been sitting on my couch for two hours already!

Co-incidentally, my husband and Child1 are completely opposite. They LOVE having people over and I have really had to work hard to come to terms with this and make it work for me. After all, I would rather have Child 1’s friends play at our house than to have him go outside of the home to socialise. I literally can’t relax when I have people over and I am incredibly tense. Interestingly enough, when my son has his friends over I am not like this at all, it’s only when other adults come around. The other strange thing is that when I do entertain (usually under duress) then I pull it off sooooo well so I know that I can play that role and play it well.

Truthfully, I don’t really like my house all that much. I am VERY grateful for my shelter and that it is liveable and relatively comfortable, but purchasing it was a mistake. My DH and I made the mistake of buying a fixer-upper. We kind of forgot that one needs money to do the actual fixer-upper work and I think we thought that doing fixer-upper work would cost next to nothing. The house wasn’t expensive compared to all the others in the area so we thought that we could pull it off.

When we eventually moved in we saw that there was just so much wrong. In order for us to fix our house, we need to first fix the mistakes of OTHER PEOPLE. We find this COMPLETELY overwhelming and during the last few years of financial difficulty it certainly wasn’t a priority to do fixer-upper stuff.

My house reminds me that I can make bad decisions. It reminds me that I once did something without thinking properly about it. It reminds me that I can be stupid. It reminds me of an incredibly difficult time in my life.

I think that I don’t like people coming over because then they will see this. I don’t want them to see this.

We are going to sell this house. Soon.  We need a new beginning.

Seriously  though. Please don’t take it personally if I don’t invite you over. It’s not you. It’s me.

We can meet at the beach. Or at a venue. Or at a coffee shop.  You can even invite me to your place. Just not at my house. Sorry.x

Are you big on entertaining? Do you love having people over?