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?