I’m struggling with maintaining meaningful friendships as an adult, and I think my income is part of the problem. I’m careful not to flaunt my wealth, and I don’t choose expensive outings that my other friends can’t afford. I grew up poor, and we often ate cheap ramen for several days in a row to make ends meet. Many of my oldest friendships are with friends who grew up in similar circumstances, and not all of us have been able to cross the poverty line. Even when I meet new people, I tend to prefer friends who grew up working class and lower-middle class because we can relate to one another better and often share similar values.
My partner and I met in college as STEM majors and spent all of our 20s saving money and prioritizing our careers. We’ve been lucky, and now we’re truly financially secure. We lived in a modest apartment for a decade and were recently able to buy a house. It’s nicer than average, and it’s in a great school district. We’re both homebodies, so having a really comfortable house was always our goal. But there have been major fallouts with our friends as a result. I haven’t flaunted our purchase. I even held off on telling some of them because I was afraid of their reaction. Now I’m being treated like I am “too high society for them,” which seems crazy, because I don’t see how my actions or interactions have changed at all, aside from this one massive purchase. Is there any hope that I can sit down with these friends and say, “I’m still me”? I’m so hurt by some of the backhanded things they’ve said. Two of my friends outright ghosted me when moving came up, and I specifically tiptoed around the actual kind of house it was with them. Is it normal to not be able to have friends with different incomes? Or am I forced to get wealthier friends? Where could I even start to find new friends so that this won’t be an issue?
—Gaining a Home but Losing Friends