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Three Common Challenges Faced in Friendships with Wealth Disparities

Adult friendships aren’t always as easy to keep as they were when you were a kid. We all face different challenges in our adult lives and come from different backgrounds. Things that might not have mattered as children can suddenly feel like a giant elephant in the room when you’re with certain friends.

Unfortunately, those issues can end up creating tension, or even tear friendships apart. One of the biggest underlying problems certain friendships face is wealth disparity. No, it shouldn’t seem like a big deal. Maybe it isn’t, at first. But, over time, as the disparity becomes more obvious, you and your friend might think it’s just easier to spend time with people with similar incomes. 

Let’s take a closer look at three common challenges faced in friendships with wealth disparities. The better you understand these challenges, the more you can work to fight back against them for the sake of your friendship. 

1. Resentment

While resentment takes time to build up, it’s something that can live beneath the surface of a friendship with a wealth disparity for a while. If you’re the person with less money than your friends, it might be nice for a time to be “taken care of” when you go out. But, over time, that can hurt your pride. You’ll get tired of always being the one not able to foot the bill. 

You might end up resenting those friends because you feel like you’re not as successful as they are. You don’t get to experience life the way they do. That’s not necessarily their fault or your fault. But, it can create a lot of underlying tension. 

If you’re the friend with more money, you might start to resent those who don’t have as much. You’re expected to pay for everything and pick up the tab when you go out. At first, you might be happy to do it. But, when it becomes an expectation, it can wear on you. 

2. FOMO and Financial Issues

When you have friends who make more money than you do, you might end up being more at risk for financial issues of your own. It’s not easy to see your wealthier friends doing things without you — even if you know you can’t afford those things. 

Social media has made comparison issues much worse. Seeing your friends doing something fun (but expensive) while scrolling through Instagram can create a fear of missing out. No one wants to be excluded, especially because of their financial situation. 

So, you might end up spending more than you can. You might blow your budget just to fit in and make sure you’re experiencing the same things as your wealthier friends. Obviously, that can lead to huge problems in your personal life. 

3. Insecurity

Insecurity can happen on both ends of the spectrum in friendships with wealth disparities. If you don’t have as much money as your other friends, you might start to question your self-worth. It can make you feel like a failure, or that you’re not good enough to be spending time with those people. You might also feel like you can’t talk about money around them, or even admit that you don’t have as much. 

If you’re a wealthier person, you might wonder if your financial status is the only reason your friends like you. You might be quick to offer to pay for things, and they get used to that. So, your insecurities can stem from wondering if your money is the only reason people keep spending time with you. 

What Can You Do? 

One of the best ways to overcome these challenges is to be open and honest in your friendships. Money isn’t always easy to talk about. That being said, many of these issues can be resolved or at least diffused by clear communication and expectations.

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Contact Integrative Psychotherapy Group

Don’t be afraid to talk about your needs and wants within your friendship. Doing so will help to strengthen your relationships while taking the focus away from finances. 

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If you are looking for guidance in relationships, or are seeking therapy, contact us today! We help clients address their concerns and take a depth-focused approach toward therapy.

Our goal is to help clients gain insight into both past and present experiences in order to empower themselves to make informed choices that lead to meaningful change.