To tell this friend she is being ridiculous(43 Posts)
I have a friend who I worked with for many years. she's one of those people that everybody likes and everybody wants to be friends with, but she's such a social butterfly that it's rare people actually get much of her time. I'd say we're closer than many are to her so she confides a lot in me.
She recently confided in me that she has been put on performance management at work. To be honest, this isn't a surprise... she's a very intelligent woman but she is incredibly inefficient (think 2 x hour long coffee breaks, full lunch break etc every day in a job that is long hours in any event and full of very ambitious and often irritable people who don't appreciate her never being available for actual work) and isn't really interested in the work so she does do a very slapdash effort at most things. She's there for the money though (its very well paid) and she'd openly admit that... but on the flip side she's scared of change and she had sort of buried her head in the sand previously when she's had awful appraisals and awful feedback. She's likely to be pushed if she doesn't leave, but leaving will probably involve somewhat of a pay cut.
She's also recently learned she needs a major operation. She learned this after she was on performance management by the way so the two aren't related. It'll require 3 months off work, but she will be paid full pay for 2 and half pay for 1. She also has a £50k wedding they are still paying for for next year (don't even get me started on this - but their choice).
Given the above, I'm hearing a lot (i.e. very time I see her) of "i'm worried about money". I sympathise given all the issues set out above - each one does have a clear bearing on their financial situation and it could be an expensive time for her. I'm a good friend and I listen and sympathise.
However - 2 issues with this:
1. Her and fiancé earn 200k gross between them and take home around 10k a month. they spend money like nobody's business almost constantly and they are so flash its ridiculous - her ring cost thousands, every meal out isat some foodie or Michelin starred place, she has new clothes from designer shops every week etc etc. I know how much their mortgage costs and its 1/5th of that, so I am completely lost as to how they can possibly really be worried about money!
2. Maybe number 1 is short sighted and she lives to her means (many people do) or she deserves the holiday given recent stresses, but she's just come back from a week in a 5 star hotel abroad. They ate out at very nice restaurants every meal and hired a car to drive around. Now, that's all their choice and I have no issue with their holiday but it was booked fairly recently, and what I take issue with is the fact that she's back and immediately moaning about cash yet again. I want to shake her and say "how can you think it's ok to moan about money when you just did all that and you spend what you do!!! and how can you possibly think it's ok to use your medical issue as a 'woe is me' reasoning for said moaning when you clearly didn't care enough about the cash in the first place to not go on this ridiculous holiday or to cut the cost down!
Its none of my business is it... but AIBU to say something? it's really starting to grate on me...
I think the thing with friends is that you shouldn't ever really discuss money. I don't know what any of my friends mortgage payments cost because I make a point of deliberately not discussing money with them. Just cut her off each time she talks about money til she learns to keep it to herself.
Telling her she's being ridiculous isn't likely to lead your friendship down a good road. Just ignore and don't engage.
One friend told me once, it doesn't matter how much you earn, you will always find a way to spend all of it.
It sounds like they haven't saved any money, that they probably are spending everything they earn due to their lavish lifestyle.
People also tend to get used to a certain amount of money, and when that is in jeopardy, they feel hard done by. I've had friends complaining that they only had £80 left until payday, when payday was in a week's time and I'd been living off £80 for most of the month!
Unfortunately, I don't think it is really any of your business, but if you are getting frustrated, next time she mentions money, ask her if she wants help budgeting, or direct her to moneysavingexpert.com. It might shut her up once she looks at her finances and realises how well off she is! Or, suggest that they eat at Nandos instead :D
She sounds a bit draining and quite similar to a friend of mine who frankly does my head in about money.
I don't know what you can do except avoid discussing money and not seeing her as much. She sounds like she needs a reality check.
YANBU, its ok to say something. She is being at best incredibly insensitive, wasting a resource that other people dont have access to, then moaning about her own behaviour as if it something that just happend to her.
You have a choice about what to say. and she will have a choice about whether to hear you and take it on board, or write it off as jealousy and have a strop.
If she's a close friend I wouldn't have any qualms about saying, next time she brings it up, that she could cut back a bit. You don't have to be pushy about it; just point out what should be obvious.
One of my friends said, the problem is, when your wage goes up you like to afford nicer things and you end up in the same hole.
It's all relative. When I was struggling in my early 20s, lunches and dinner out weren't happening at all. I couldnt imagine being so frivolous. Ditto nice clothes.
Now though I have very little cash day to day as I am saving the majority to try and buy a flat.
I would say something to her. At £10,000 net a month take home I'd tell her she can make savings easily if she tried.
I'd tend towards avoiding the money subject but under the cirumstances, if I was hearing a lot of it, I'd probably crack and 'say something'.
"You lead an extravagant life, perhaps you need to cut back?"
Try some active listening?
Each time she says she is worried about money, ask "what do you think you might do about it?" or "how bad do you think it might get?" or "are you worried it will affect the wedding?"
That way you are asking her what she thinks (not telling or advising) but also mentioning in passing both that she has it in her power to act and some areas that she might act on?
Also, if she is really just boring on with no real issue, then some lavish sympathy might shake her out of it...you know "I'm so very sorry to hear of your financial difficulty, it must be so hard for you...do you have family that might be able to bail you out?" Then she'll probably back track and admit it isn't all that....
YANBU. She needs a reality check. They have a very very decent income. We get a 7th of that and manage very well. However it is likely changing next year and we will be struggling a lot more. People like your friend really piss me off. No one needs a 50k wedding. No one needs expensive holidays and constant designer clothes. They could easily cut a few things back, they just don't want to.
She should pull her finger out and actually do her job. She doesn't deserve a well paid job where others have to pick up the slack because she can't be bothered and just wants the money.
I'd say straight that she needs to start cutting back on expensive meals, clothes and holidays if she is so worried about money and that others manage much better on far less and she should think herself lucky. I'd have lost patience long ago.
What icebeing said.
I think that, as a mate, it's sometimes your job to have difficult conversations when someone is coming to you for advice (i.e. NEVER unsolicited). You can do it in a way that is hopefully gentle and helpful and supportive, rather than crushing. This sounds like one of them. You sound less annoyed with her and more worried about her and her passivity in your OP.
It sounds like you like being her friend not because you like her, but because she's popular and she confides in you above others. You are very critical of her and down on her. Have you ever asked why she doesn't apply herself to her job?
DH has a friend like this. He earns in excess of six figures and they live in a very modest house/have one car yet he used to constantly whinge that he had no money. He also used to forget his wallet every time they went out.
Eventually DH had it out with him. He asked him where on earth all his money went and why he was constantly bleating all the time. It did the trick. I do think that he had a problem with poverty consciousness though (i.e. whatever he earns is never enough).
i'm sorry I couldn't get past the 50k for a wedding! I also know someone like flopsy's friend. it doesn't matter how much they earn, they still bleat its not enough when others earn a third , if that, and seem to get by
! I think this is a nod and smile scenario. You will never convince her she is in the wrong and they should be saving up and not frittering it all away. She didn't seem ' worried about money' when she was booking up 5 star hotels! if her hubby earns loads I don't think theres much to worry about really. either that, or they will end up in the bankruptcy courts.
You need to do a whole separate thread about the wedding!
Anyway, next time she's moaning about cash, ask her if she'd like to sit down with you and work out expenditure and see if you can help her make savings? Tell her to print off two months of her bank statements and you can both look at where money is going and where savings can be made.
Either she'll take you up on it in which case you have an 'in' for suggesting she stops spending money so much or she'll say no in which case tell her to stop moaning if she doesn't want any help.
I think it's fine to tell someone to stop moaning about money if they are frittering it away. I had a friend claim she couldn't afford to buy - while whining about the awful flat share she lived in - and one night at dinner about 6 of us said "hey, budget like everyone else if you want to buy a home - or shut up". She showed me a spreadsheet once asking for "help" - but when I suggested the expensive clothing and wine could be reduced, I got "oh, no, that's important".
so fair enough to comment on that if she is talking about it - I wouldn't comment out of the blue but that's different.
obviously I would be sympathetic re the operation!
well, judging whether something is someone's fault or not isn't a very friendly thing to do. I do have a few very well off friends and I'd love to have the money in the bank they do, but once you can't sympathize or listen to what people perceive as their problems, you're not much of a friend. I would only ever tell what I perceived as a harsh truth (you aren't working very hard, in reality you have lots of money etc) to my closest friends, and be careful how I said it. It doesn't sound as though you're a very close friend of this person?
my logic is - if you're trying to help someone change for the better, that's a worthy aim to have for a close friend, if you're just pointing out a sort of friend has brought trouble on themselves, that's not terribly kind, is it? An operation requiring 3 months off doesn't sound like a picnic to me.
Rabbit " but once you can't sympathize or listen to what people perceive as their problems, you're not much of a friend"
I used to think this until the day I listened to a (now former) friend who is absolutely loaded (by marriage, not by earning) complaining about her new cleaner and how the floors had been polished. In the same afternoon she said she was sick of hearing her sister being upset about being made redundant and "people have far worse problems". Sister was not rich btw, not at all.
I am usual a great respecter of people having a range of problems but that afternoon was one of the first moments I began to think it was time to call it off.
where do I get a job like that btw ?
Get in the queue Lorelei
Lorelei I agree with that - I had another friend who followed her cleaner around in case she rested a mop on the wall due to the risk of marking her walls...I decided to slowly distance myself...but that's the right response, if they're not close and you can't muster sympathy, better to disengage overall.
Rabbits - if in London, possibly same person!!!
It sounds like she values you and trusts you and confides in you.
Perhaps it's because you don't judge her or call her out (to her face).
Sounds like she has to put up a front to everyone else. And that she has some big issues to face coming up.
Poor lady. I know she has cash etc but sounds like a bit of a lost soul to me.
Fancy dinners and a fancy wedding. Who is she trying to impress? So many people looking for external validation when much of the time it's what's inside that matters.
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