I have noticed that, starting around age 24, many of your existing friendships begin to change. By then, most people stop thinking it’s fun to smoke a joint and start finding better things to do with their weekends than binge drink and eat junk food to cure their hangovers. If rings aren’t already on fingers, many people start getting into more serious relationships. And the once taboo topic of kids is often brought to the dinner table.
Along with these obvious factors, I believe that the different paths we are all on lead us to our individual spending and saving patterns. Unfortunately, the varying opinions that come from this could be another reason some friendships dissipate. When you’re broke, people grow tired of hearing the same excuses and start looking for friends who can afford to go out and spend money. At the same time, you yourself may want to hang out with more people who are trying to live a minimalist life, or at least just know how to save money rather than spend it on frivolous things.
Personally, I know my debt has affected more than one of my friendships. In June, when I finally learned how to say no to things I knew weren’t as important as paying off my debt, people slowly stopped asking. I didn’t want to go shopping, I wouldn’t want to go for dinner once/week and I couldn’t afford to go on a vacation. It didn’t help that work/homework/side work were taking up a huge portion of my timetable but, in the end, my replies were often related to my financial situation.
Can I blame friends for getting sick of hearing the word no? No. Especially, since only a few of them knew I was focusing on the numbers in my bank account, while many others were left in the dark about it. But does it hurt? I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. I don’t enjoy saying no to shopping trips, or to visiting friends in Vancouver or saving up for a vacation. I want to do all of those things! But I can’t make any of them priorities over getting myself out of the situation I am in. And I can’t ask people to wait around for me, while I do.
To help myself move past lost friendships, I try to imagine that each of us is a car on a road trip. On certain stretches of the trip, you will be surrounded by other cars. You’ll hang out every day and support each other, especially during some of the long hauls. You’ll all stop when one car needs to refuel or another breaks down and needs a few days to get better. But on your road trip, there are also a number of exits. And some of the other cars may take an exit sooner than you expected. You can miss their company but don’t stay mad at any car for leaving. They just need to continue on their own road trip, to reach their final destination. And their purpose was to help you reach yours.
I hope everyone has a great weekend, xo