Maintaining Friends When Fun Has to Be Free

Yesterday I attempted to reconnect with an old friend. We will possibly be running into each other very soon and I had really hoped that we could catch up. I hoped to renew the friendship that once meant so much to me.

It didn’t work out the way I had hoped.

She was short with me. She didn’t return the sentiments that I sincerely offered up. I miss her, I really do but it would seem as if that’s not the reciprocated.

Something happened more than a year ago that put a strain on our friendship. I’m not certain what was the final straw, whether she did something that left a bad taste in my mouth or I did something that caused her to pull away. To me, though, it doesn’t matter what happened. I’d like the opportunity to move forward and see if our friendship was one that could be rekindled.

When I look back, it seems that the demise of our friendship began when I could no longer afford to maintain the lifestyle we were living. We were spending a lot of money on entertainment and when my life began to fall apart, our friendship suffered.

 

I’d like to hope that we weren’t just friends because we had a good time together on the weekends. I really would like to believe that she cared about me. She was very supportive of me in the beginning when I had to say “no” and cancel plans. She seemed to understand why I had to do it. In fact, the last time we were together it was because I had saved up the money to have some fun. She was so supportive of my efforts and cheered me on along the way. She was my cheerleader then!

Now I reflect on what went wrong. Maybe I vented to her too much? Maybe I complained more than she could handle listening to. Maybe I didn’t take the time to recognize that I was doing all the taking and not offering anything back in return?

I have far fewer friends today than I did two years ago.

The hole that I dug for myself was so deep that I got stuck in there for awhile. It began as a financial hole, full of debt, unemployment and uncertainty but it became a deep, bottomless pit of emotions as well.

My situation weighed so heavy on me that I often cried myself to sleep and then woke up to more tears.

The depression and shame that I felt over what I had done to my finances left me unable to nurture my side of a friendship. I’ve lost more friends than I’ve been able to maintain.

Maintaining friends when financial troubles are a part of your life is difficult. The advice that most people give is that if they couldn’t stick by you during the tough times, then they probably weren’t that great of a friend may be true but it doesn’t hurt any less.

I miss many of my old friends, those I’ve lost during my rough years of financial instability and deep depression, those I’ve lost due to lack of effort on my part and those who have slipped by due to a misunderstanding. I wish you well and I hope that someday life presents us an opportunity to fix what has broken.

To those friends who are still by my side, I love you immensely. Whether you are on the other side of the country routing me on via text message or in another hemisphere offering me smiles and laughter, I love you! To those friends who are nearby but so busy that we let opportunities to connect, I love you! I promise to try harder to be a better friend to you all.

And to that friend who I contacted yesterday, I was sincere in my words. I miss you. I hope someday we can move past what has happened to forge a new and better friendship.

Have you had difficulty maintaining friendship when money was tight?

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10 comments for “Maintaining Friends When Fun Has to Be Free

  1. Amy
    May 31, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Oh my gosh I know exactly what you mean!
    I too have lived this and had to take a step back and I clued in pretty quickly as to who my true friends were. They stood by me no matter what and understood too.
    Sending big hugs!

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  2. April
    May 31, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Ah, lived this and still dealing with it. Mine started with my marriage ending and the financial issues still surrounding it. The people I lost, had no time for me when I couldn’t foot the tab anymore. It was sad but, also freeing to see who my true friends were/are through all of this.

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  3. Karen
    May 31, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I am so happy you shared this, Jessica! There are many people who can benefit from reading this. There are just some people I have chosen not to bother with because their idea of entertainment and mine are very different.

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  4. May 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    I think it’s really hard when you have friends that are not budget concious, and not going down the same road as you. Great post!

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  5. May 31, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    I am lucky to have never experienced this. Then again, my friends are frugal as well! That is part of our bond. Most of the time I hang out with them at their house or vice versa. Sometimes the movies, sometimes out to eat, but many times one of us has a free or discounted pair of tickets somewhere and we make a date of it.

    I know how much losing a friend or feeling like you’ve lost a friend can hurt; perhaps this is a great time to find more frugally-minded friends in your life to bond with as well.
    Amanda L Grossman recently posted..Reclaiming Frugal Kids’ Activities We Gave Up As Adults

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  6. Brent Pittman
    Twitter: ontargetcoach
    May 31, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Relationships and money are tough.

    It’s hard to have close friends in different social economic levels. Awkwardness sets in. Who picks up the check? Does the guy with millions of dollars pay for everything or do you go dutch? How can you afford to go Dutch to a place that is $50 a plate?

    Your friend might just feel guilty about their spending habits and your frugality just showed them their shortcomings. I can see how that would be hard.
    Brent Pittman recently posted..8 Lessons I Learned From The $100 Startup

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  7. Jamie Schneider
    May 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    I’m so proud of you girl! You’re on such an amazing path! I know exactly how you feel. Been there with other friends. Please always know I’m here for you. We need to set some time aside. Miss you! Chin up, you know who your supporters are!!! Muah xo -J

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  8. david
    Twitter: davesnape
    June 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I think you are very fortunate to have the opportunity to understand what these people are really about a little better.

    Having ‘true’ friends is a lot harder than having superficial (fair weather) friends. If someone is willing to be there on your rainy days then your time together on the ‘good days’ will be so much more worthwhile.

    The unfortunate reality is that the vast majority of people do not care about YOU the person, they only care about what YOU can do for or with them.

    I would not feel to sad about what you have experienced. If everything went well it might be 30 years before you discovered what type of person you were dealing with.

    Hang in there. It is good to see a little bit of the reality of life. If you try, you might find some ‘real’ and good friends. I hope you do.

    Stay well.

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  9. June 4, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Wow, you could be MY old friend! I lost a friend in very similar circumstances – I was a frugal budgeter, and she and her husband were spendthrifts. Ultimately, our lifestyles just didn’t jive well and we pulled apart. Like you, I hoped we’d ultimately be able to reconnect, but I guess you could say there’s too much water under there bridge now.
    Elizabeth @ Broke Professionals recently posted..Professional Profiles: Sarah, the International Grad Student

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