Remember in school when it was so important to have just the right pair of jeans or to carry a shoulder bag instead of a backpack? To a certain extent – depending on your circle of friends and acquaintances – things can stay this way as we grow up and become adults. Are there certain brands you just have to have? Are there gadgets that seem absolutely necessary?
When The Tables Get Turned
The interesting thing about this recession we’re facing is that the tables, in many cases, seem to have turned. Instead of being looked down on for not having the right brands, the right accessories or the right clothes, kids – and we adults too – are being judged when they DO have these things. As more and more people cut back, those that don’t have to do so are under more and more pressure and scrutiny. The idea that a child – or adult for that matter – should feel ashamed because they don’t have the right toys or clothes is being turned on its head.
It’s for this reason that even celebrities – who in most cases have more than enough – are not “strutting their stuff” out of respect for the predicament we as a nation find ourselves in. So how do we handle these issues if we’re the person who’s feeling guilty for not cutting back, or if we’re the one who is unable to continue in the lifestyle we once were accustomed to? The answer, while simple, is something we can take to heart when dealing with issues of money and friends.
How To Handle The Recession In Your Relationships
1. Be honest. I’m not suggesting you should divulge how much you’re making (or not making) but rather that many taboos of money have fallen away – even more so in this economy. It’s OK to tell friends that you can’t afford the Sunday brunch you had planned or that you’ll have to save up for a weekend away. If you’re in a position that hasn’t changed since the recession, don’t feel guilty for continuing to live your life the way you want to. But do be aware of those around you. Which brings me to my next point.
2. Be sensitive. If you have a friend who doesn’t have the resources she once did, while you shouldn’t feel ashamed for continuing to live your life, acknowledge what she’s going through. Suggest meeting for coffee and someone’s house or having a movie night at home. You’d be surprised at how much this can help take the pressure off. And if you’re the person who’s having to cut back, understand that not everyone is having to make the sacrifices you are and that’s OK.
Using my Smart Heart dialogue – which I mention in both Financial Infidelity and Make up Don’t Break up, will enable you to do this. This method of communication reminds us to take the other person into account and, while it’s designed to be used with couples, works quite well with friendships, too. Understand that a person’s money habits can be ingrained in them from a very young age – or they may be used to assuming a certain status or lifestyle, and therefore are usually held to pretty tightly, even if that person doesn’t realize it! Integrating your differences and views about money during a shift in a close friendship or relationship can be difficult but is important to the ongoing health of that relationship!
Please understand I’m not suggesting you air your gritty budget details to everyone, but letting the people in your life know what’s going on – in broad strokes – is perfectly acceptable and understandable nowadays.