Should You Talk to Friends About Money?
I have a friend (a loose term for this guy) who, whenever I see him, only talks about money. Everything has a price tag with this dude, and it’s incredibly annoying. Upon meeting my husband for the first time — who was my boyfriend back then and a lieutenant in the Navy — this “friend” had the audacity to ask, straight out, how much he made a year. (See also: Should You Lend to Friends and Family?)
If it were any of my other friends — who have manners — I probably wouldn’t have batted an eye (I’m sure a lot of people are curious about how much members of the military make), but when I heard it came from this guy, I was offended. Everything has a price tag with him (“My truck cost $_________”; “I paid $____ for this shirt”), and it eventually drove me away from being his friend.
My close friends who are reading this right now know exactly who I’m talking about, and that’s unfortunate (albeit telling), because he does the same thing to them.
In general, my friends and I don’t talk about money together — at least not the money we make. We all have different jobs and varying salaries, for sure, and I have never once divulged to any of them how much I make, nor have they to me.
And that’s mainly for one reason — I don’t care.
To be my friend — and for me to be theirs — doesn’t depend on how much money we earn a year.
I will be honest that money (or the lack thereof) can cause rifts between friends. Sometimes one party can’t afford what the other is doing — and when that happens enough, new relationships are established with those who are on a level playing field and existing relationships fall by the wayside. Still, in my opinion, loyalty is first and foremost. I have poor friends, and I have rich friends — but for me, it’s all about the person and how we click.
While I refuse to discuss base salaries with friends, though, I don’t think that discussing money all together is off the table. It just has to be done the right way.
For instance, saving. All my friends know that I’m frugal. Personally, I think I’m a generous guy, but I also don’t like to spend money that I don’t have to spend. I’m not embarrassed about using a coupon when we’re out to dinner, taking advantage of a Foursquare special, or doing anything else that keeps more money in my pocket.
Some may call that cheap, but there’s a difference. And that’s where the generosity comes in. When my friends need something, I’m there; I’m their biggest supporter — because that’s what friendship is about. It’s never about the money — and it never will be (unless, of course, you have a friend who takes advantage, and there have been those) — but we all know that our friendship with one another is priceless.
You can put a price tag on a lot of things — like that guy I know; he’s not worth anything to me. But you can’t put a price tag on true friends.
Whoever says that money matters is both correct and incorrect. It matters to me because I have to pay my bills. But my money shouldn’t matter to you, because I don’t have to pay your bills — and vice versa.
We’re all grown, responsible adults who strive to make it. Some of us will make it big, while others will continue to struggle to survive. Neither of those circumstances (or wherever I fall on that spectrum) will ever dictate my loyalty to true friends.
The question of this piece remains, however — should you talk to friends about money?
In my opinion, no. In the grand scheme of things, money means nothing.
It’s only the good company you’ve kept that will mean ANYTHING when your life is said and done.
What’s your opinion on this heated topic? Let me know in the comments below.