Friends and Money

August 16, 2012 at 8:01 am | Posted in Friends Then and Now | Leave a comment
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As a kid, you generally grow up in a neighborhood with other kids whose parents bring in the same average median income as your own.  In my neighborhood, a town where only 1% of students qualify for free/reduced price lunch (a common indicator of income level), money was never really an issue.  Our parents provided for us, and sure there were families that had more or less than others, but we all received the same education and couldn’t always tell the difference.

Fast forward to adulthood.  I know a wide range of young adults who, while still the same age as one another, are no longer on the same level financially.  Some still have support from their parents, some do not.  Some got their careers off the ground, some are just now figuring out what they want to do to make their own money.  Some were lucky enough to land a high paying job while others struggle to pay their rent.

Rewind for a minute, back to college.  College was when I met people who were truly different from everyone I knew growing up.  I was drawn originally to people who had a similar upbringing from me — lived in nearby towns, and I would maintain those kinds of friendships.  But I became close to people with very different upbringings, people who grew up on the wrong side of town and people from the middle of the country with very different values than East coast folk.  I learned a lot about different kinds of people starting in college and up through the start of my career.

So now as life becomes more and more expensive, I try to be conscious and sensitive to other people’s budgets.  I myself am not made of money, and of course with wedding planning I’ve been on a seriously tight budget, but I never want to put anyone in a position where they feel like they can’t come out because of money.

Because the amount of money one person makes is not what makes them my friend.  Money can buy you a lot of fun, but you can have fun in a dungeon, so long as you are in good company.

Though I do not recommend hanging out in a dungeon regularly.

Whateva, I Do What I Want

February 7, 2012 at 7:34 am | Posted in Friends Then and Now | 1 Comment
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We live in a world of doers, downers, don’t carers, and homebodies.  For some, the glass is half empty, and others half full.  We all have our limits, and they vary widely.  We don’t all find the same activities enjoyable, the same jokes funny.  We are different, and being different doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.

My friends have always meant a lot to me, but I’ve never hung out solely with one clique.  Instead, I have always been attracted to many different kinds of people.  I can blend well with lots of people, but sometimes my friends don’t blend with each other.  I used to care, but I’m starting not to.  Because at the end of the day, they are still my friends, even if they don’t like each other.  So when I plan events, like birthdays, I decide what I want to do and invite everyone knowing full well who definitely won’t come.  I still try to make it convenient for the masses but I’m increasingly stepping away from that frame of mind.  Because if people want to come out, they will do it, and for those who don’t, they won’t, even if you bring the party to them.

There are the coffee friends, the occasional phone call friends, the Sunday brunch if you are lucky friends.  And then there are the grab a beer friends, the hardcore party friends, the happy hour friends, the hungover Sunday breakfast friends.

For me, there is a time and a place for all of these activities.  In general, I’m not much of a homebody.  I’d characterize myself as a doer.  I don’t like sitting still.  I like to be with people more than I like being alone, though I do enjoy some quiet thinking time.  I like conversation, I like people watching, I like to try new things.  I like to do.

And life is too short not to do what you want, within reason.  I have some friends that are much more adventurous and risk-taking than me, but I’m not too far down the safety poll.  So I’m going to live my life, doing what I want to do as much as possible, even if I have to go at it alone.  I never want to regret not living.

My Judgment-Free Zone

April 14, 2011 at 7:26 am | Posted in Friends Then and Now | Leave a comment
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All throughout my life, I have befriended a diverse group of people.  I was never attracted to one specific “type” of person when it came to friends and I enjoyed learning from people with different perspectives, personalities, backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses.  But there is one trait that I have always been attracted to.  It’s a combination of modesty and acceptance that creates my judgment-free zone.

Everyone needs friends who won’t judge them.  I know this sounds ridiculous because everyone judges everyone, but sometimes you just don’t want to be judged.  My friends often turn to me as the person they can tell anything to, no matter how obscene it may seem, because I do not judge.  People do lots of crazy things. It’s all part of living.

I have friends who have some really great things going for them. That’s not to say that I don’t.  I have friends who work really hard so that they can afford the lifestyle they want to lead.  They live in nice apartments, drive nice cars, wear expensive clothes.  These are things that were never my top priority, but they are theirs, and I am okay with that, and they are okay with me in my average apartment, average car, average clothes.  This lifestyle doesn’t get in the way of us being friends.  I also have friends that are extremely smart, but that will never make you feel stupid.  And of course I have friends who have family money and can afford a lot more than I can.

These are friends that I know I can trust.  Beyond the fact that they accept me for who I am (and I, them), they exhibit an admirable amount of modesty.  They don’t hide who they are but they don’t show off either.

Let’s face it — it’s easy to feel like you have to compete with your friends, and in some ways it is healthy. But competition can destroy a relationship.  What keeps friendships strong are mutual respect, acceptance, and a little bit of modesty. No need to show off. Your friends know how great you are.

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