I think one of the best things we can all do for ourselves and for others is to acknowledge that everyone is coming from some place different. No one’s experience is the same as ours is.
Whether that’s because of gender, age, or money, it’s just so important to keep an open mind about things.
One of the biggest areas that we can see differences from others is in the arena of money.
When someone has a lot and you don’t, be careful of that Green Eyed Monster. Or when you have a lot of money and your friend doesn’t, be careful of being a show off.
It can be dangerous either way. Your path can vary widely from that of a friends.
My experience has always been as the friend who doesn’t have any money. I’m going to share how I keep myself focused on my financial goals, stick to my means, and avoid getting jealous of friends who have more money.
I’m certainly no angel, but I hang out with lots of friends in very different financial situations than me and I’ve never had a problem with it.
I’ve found that the best solution is to be honest about your situation. When I was in hardcore debt payoff mode, I got a lot of invitations to things that would cost me money. From dinners out to a trip to Vegas, I was asked to participate in a lot of things.
Of course, I turned 99% of them down. I didn’t just excuse myself though, I always made sure to include why I wasn’t going to participate.
Voice Your Goals
I shared my journey to debt freedom with my friends and was overwhelmed by the support I got from them. Debt being more of a priority than brunch or a trip to the beach made my friends more understanding of my constantly passing on things, and it made me feel more comfortable saying no.
My friends were reminded that I wasn’t just blowing them off, but was working towards a goal. The faster I accomplished it, the faster I would be back in for that weekend beach trip!
I found that vocalizing my goal was incredibly helpful. I talked about debt payoff with everyone – friends, family, people in line at the grocery store. I loved to talk about it! It got me excited to share my progress with people, or talk about things that had worked well for me in my payoff process. Friends would ask for money tips and complete strangers would compliment my dedication.
Being upfront about what my goal was took it from the shadows to the spotlight. It wasn’t something to be ashamed of!
Yes, me debt was something that separated me from a lot of my wealthier friends, but they never once made me feel bad because of it. They encouraged me and celebrated with me when I reached my goal.
Jealousy Happens Though
Sometimes, it can be really hard to watch someone do or get something that you want and just can’t have.
I find it particularly hard when friends of mine travel. It’s a huge passion of mine, and I rarely have the time or money to do it. When a friend of mine jets off to Iceland and England for two weeks, I absolutely do get jealous. Who wouldn’t?
I don’t let that jealousy rule me, though. I think it’s totally fine to feel an emotion like jealousy or anger sometimes. But I don’t think it’s okay to let it dominate your life and define your personality.
Do I wish I was going to Iceland and England this summer? Heck yes I do! I own that jealousy. Am I going to pick a fight or silently resent my friend for doing what I can’t?
Of course not! Silently sulking in the corner isn’t going to win me a trip around the world. Instead, I’m happy for my friend – they’re a great person and deserve great things just as much as I do.
Count Your Blessings
I also think it’s important to remember that there are usually a number of awesome things in our daily life. We all have something special going on in our own worlds.
Maybe I can’t hop on a plane every other week, but I can spend my weekend at a beach or at a swimming hole. I can go hiking or biking whenever I want. I can buy myself a top notch cocktail in a cute bar downtown. I can watch classic movies and TV shows from my own couch.
I have a pretty luxurious life, and taking the time to count my blessings is always a rewarding activity.
Remember, your friends like you – they ask you to do things because they want to hang with you! They share their interests and blessings with you because they think you’re a cool and awesome person.
Who’s it going to help to be jealous or mad that their money isn’t your money? If you’re spending more time resenting a friend than enjoying their friendship, it’s time to put an end to that relationship.
You don’t walk the same path as everyone else in your life. Find your path and stick to it. Whether you want to eat dinner out three times a week or if you want to save 50% of your income, you need to stay focused on what’s right for you. Let your friends do what they want and extend the same courtesy to yourself.
Do you let jealousy get the best of you when your friends can afford things you can’t? How do you get over it?