Social Question

manolla's avatar

Can you become friends with someone much richer/ poorer than you?

Asked by manolla (795points) February 19th, 2011

I didn’t think much about it before untill I recently got a new co worker who is much richer than I am, she is a really nice person, in fact I think that I never meet someone as nice and as sweet as her, and we like each other very much as persons and we had a lot of fun on all the occasions that we spent together.
She drives a Mercedes, lives in a 10,000 sq ft house, and take vacations over seas every month while I can’t afford to buy a car till now, live in a rented appartment, and didn’t go out for vacations the past five years.

I enjoyed her frienship in the short amount of time I knew her, but I feel deep down inside that this friendship won’t last, we can’t relate to each other when it comes to lifestyle, she feels that she will be a bad friend if she doesn’t pay when we go out togther, I feel like a bad friend when I have to make her eat at less expensive places because I can’t afford the places she has been used to.

I guess that in our relationship, I am a burden on her since I can’t afford to do the things she wants us to do together and I feel like she is a burden on me because everytime I have to try to keep up with her and lose a lot of money in the process which is something I can’t afford.

I would like to know what your thoughts are on the subject or on my particular situation?

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27 Answers

janbb's avatar

I have both at this time and I think it can work as long as both are honest and the richer person is sensitive to the needs of the poorer one. If you are compatible people, it should not be that difficult for the richer person to “slum it” on occasion when you are spending time together. There are a number of great things you can do with a friend – walks, Netflix, pizza – that do not involve spending money. I would not let money stand in the way of a friendship.

WasCy's avatar

Probably. I have no idea how wealthy (or not) some of my friends are, and they know nothing about my circumstances, either. “Displaying signs of wealth” doesn’t always mean that someone is wealthy, nor is driving an old beater car and ‘dressing down’ necessarily a sign of poverty.

chyna's avatar

Obviously there is a connection or you two wouldn’t be friends. Some of the fun things friends do is go out to eat, but that doesn’t mean it has to be in expensive restaurants. You need to talk to your friend and tell her how you feel. There is no need for you to blow your budget in trying to keep up with her. I’ve been laid off from work this past year and all of my friends understand that I have to watch my money. We go shopping at the mall, they buy, I look. They will ask if I’m up for getting lunch or dinner. If I say no, they don’t pressure me, they understand it’s above my budget for that week. The important thing is that I’ve spent time with my friend.

Zaku's avatar

It can be difficult for people who have a lot of meanings around money. But it’s not at all impossible, if those ideas don’t get in the way.

phoebusg's avatar

Yes. But I think I could become friends with anyone – provided they were open to being friends with another person. There can always be a connection, humans can relate with humans (and a whole bunch of other species too – as pets).

buster's avatar

When Im out in the streets skating around urban areas I seem drawn to hanging out with and drinking with homeless people and sharing food even though Im not homeless or hungry myself. I got more respect for the poor than rich people and enjoy the company of poor people more. I don’t know why. Maybe because I have always been closer to homeless and poor than rich.

Bellatrix's avatar

I think so. I have wealthy friends and less wealthy friends. Even if she has money, she is still a person and she obviously likes you and you like her. I think the suggestions to be honest about how you are feeling are very valid though. Also, pick places to go that you can afford or if she does want to go somewhere expensive and wants to pay, reciprocate by cooking her something wonderful to say thank you or doing something for her in return. You may have many differences, but you may also have many similarities. There are other ways to show your appreciation than spending money. I hope your friendship works out.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Just hang out and find out. Don’t get defensive because then you’ll bring your fears to pass….

Seelix's avatar

Of course it’s possible. Money only matters if you make it matter.

12Oaks's avatar

Don’t see why not. Most I know, I have no idea of their financial situation nor will I ever ask. I don’t care and it’s none of my business.

Axemusica's avatar

Money shouldn’t matter when it comes to the quality of how you live your life, but unfortunately in some cases it does. I agree with most of the people here though, as in, you can’t put a price on friendship. Be honest with her about not being able to afford things, if she really is as good a friend as you say I’m sure she wouldn’t mind picking up majority of the bill if she is as wealthy as you say. Most people just want to have a good time with people they feel good about. I’ve often treated a bunch of friends and I’ve gotten treated really well before by friends.

Money really shouldn’t be a determining factor for a friendship that has the potential to be something that could make both of you happier beings in the long run.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Money shouldn’t be a lot of things that it is. Money shouldn’t be a reason for tearing families apart, but it does, sometimes. Have you ever noticed that families get torn up if there is a lot of money, but don’t get torn up if there is NO money?

Bellatrix's avatar

@Dutchess_III I agree it can matter. A friend of mine, who at the time was a single mum and lived in a poorer suburb, brought this home to me a long time ago. I won some money. Not enough to be life changing but a reasonable amount. I wasn’t wealthy at the time but I was doing okay. She said to me “will you still want to be my friend now you have this money?” I was horrified she would think money would make any difference to how I thought about her. It never did and never has. I think it was her insecurity about her situation. So, sometimes regardless of whether it should it can make a difference to how people view their place in a friendship.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It can make a difference to how people view their place in their family, too, if someone makes it that way.

Axemusica's avatar

Yea, I know all too well how money effects people, @Dutchess_III. Hence the reason why I used “shouldn’t” instead of doesn’t. Because we all know it really shouldn’t matter, but it usually does and it’s just sad, IMHO.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Very, very sad…...

TexasDude's avatar

I’m friends with people who are extremely rich and people who are pretty poor (personally, I’m on the lower end of the scale, though you wouldn’t be able to tell thanks to my champagne tastes). Frankly, I don’t see how someone’s income would affect my choice of being friends with them. I’m not one of those people who raves about how the rich are evil oppressors (I have zero jealousy towards rich people, even the insanely and obviously rich), and I don’t judge people for being poor (by assuming they are lazy or low-class or any other disparaging image that is often applied to them), so it’s really not an issue to me.

cookieman's avatar

I’m friendly with a couple folks at work who are both extremely wealthy. I don’t think I could be actual friends with them outside of work, not because they’re not very nice (because they are), but because they’re clueless.

I’ll mention I’m tired or stressed and they’ll say, “oh, go on vacation. You should go to Italy next week.” Now I’ve been to Italy twice in fifteen years, so it’s not un-doable, but when I say, “that’d be nice, but it would take me a couple years to save for such a trip” they look at me like I have ten heads.

Another example: my computer broke nine months ago so I couldn’t do some work from home. My boss says, “just go buy another one.”

“Well, I’m saving for one.”

“Huh”, he says puzzled, “I don’t know what you do with your money.”

I thought, well you bring home two million a year and you pay me about 60k – there’s a big difference.

Nice people, but the cluelessnes about how most people afford things drives me insane.

janbb's avatar

@cprevite That’s why I think it can work if the richer person is aware and sensitive to the fact that not everyone has the same resources.

cookieman's avatar

@Dutchess_III & @janbb: I think, at least in my examples, it’s because they both grew up rich and have never had to struggle.

I think if you start out with little and become rich (through a lot of hard work or even inheritance), you tend to be more aware of such things.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I was raised in an upper middle class family. I got married, had 3 kids, then divorced…and the bottom just dropped out from under me financially. I was really poor for ten years…but now I’m remarried. Long story, as of this last year we’re both working…... I went to a woman’s fair on Saturday (actually, I was working one of the booths.) Anyway, I was looking at the cool stuff, some of it with a familiar yearning, then I just walked away. Suddenly it hit me “Hey….you can buy almost anything you want!” literally gave me shivers! And I did. I bought a cool framed photograph of an old train! $50!

Emeraldisles5's avatar

Not really, I’m in really difficult circumstances, and I found myself being angry and envious of people who aren’t struggling to get basic things like health insurance.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Don’t do that to yourself @Emeraldisles5. For one thing, it isn’t their fault. It’s no one’s fault.

Emeraldisles5's avatar

That’s true, lots of suffering over here. It’s mortifying how bad it is. People look their noses down on us. I can’t believe what one has to say or do to get dire help from a therapist or to get medication they desperately need. The country and mental illness system makes me sick. What they did to my mom, I’ll never understand, they all want to get paid, and when you have nothing, they would rather see you on the street, than to help you, so they get richer.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there in one way or another. Keep fighting.

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