Wedding Woes

If you worry about offending everyone, you will offend everyone.

Dear Prudence,

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

Re: If you worry about offending everyone, you will offend everyone.

  • This is going to be hard if people ghost you because you have more.  It reminds me of the LW from a few weeks ago who thought her brother was a bad person and the reality is that he had the capital to buy a house.  

    It may be a case that the friendships are also running their course. You live in a new place now.  Start looking around in the area for clubs to join and see what comes up.
  • I think LW is MAKING their income the problem.  They're treating their friends differently because they chose to buy a nice home and it seems weird that they're so focused on how much potential new friends make when they're building a relationship.  My guess is they're very focused on income differences and your friends are picking up on that and it's coming across as elitist even though that's what LW says they dont want.  
  • I don’t know, or care, how much my friends make/ how much their houses cost. Sure I could probably guess- but why? 

    If the friends are truly making snarky comments about LWs house, then they’re not really friends. But if LW is also treating people differently (tiptoeing around, not telling people about the house) then LW isn’t being much of a friend either. 
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Envy can be a really ugly thing. I do think people with different incomes and different economic backgrounds can be friends. But it's also true that some people feel like they can't relate to people in different situations. It kind of sounds like LW is someone who would have judged people with means and has actively avoided them even while becoming one, so not surprising that they're friends with people who think the same way. 

    I'm thinking about that Friends episode where Rachel and Joey get all mad at the other friends about wanting to split a totally uneven restaurant bill. People make assumptions about other's financial situations and it breeds all this resentment. 
  • mrsconn23mrsconn23 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited February 18
    I get that poverty can be a mindfuck that I don't understand because I wasn't raised in that environment, but I don't think LW's friend's issues with LW have to do with income levels.  Ambition and desiring to better yourself and your financial situation isn't a bad thing.  However if LW was doing that, but pretending they weren't, I can see how their friends would feel LW was being inauthentic and then it called into question...everything.  
  • You just have bad judgy friends, sorry! Make new ones!
  • ei34ei34 member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    You just have bad judgy friends, sorry! Make new ones!
    Yeah- if we’re taking LW’s letter as written, and they’re not being super awkward/weird without realizing about the house, then the friends who ghosted have a jealousy problem.  I’d agree with the make new friends advice except that that can be hard to do in your 30s/during a pandemic.  
  • One of my best/oldest friends occasionally blocks me because of this. The hardest part of keeping long term friendships is understanding that everyone changes and yet everything stays the same. My friend has this whole martyrdom thing about struggling. I will never stop reaching out because he is like my brother but I know he judges us on taking the "easy way". 
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