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AIBU - competitive poverty

(15 Posts)
lizzieoak Sun 30-Apr-17 07:52:50

This drives me crazy. I'm a single mum, not making much, but not minimum wage either. Plus I get child support. I like our house, we eat well, our car is very old, we buy used clothes, I can't afford to travel, we get our hair cut at the super-saver chains. Lots and lots of economies made. The kids get clothes for their birthdays, can't afford games etc.

I was out tonight w a lovely old friend who's moved away and another old friend (though second one is more friend of a friend). First friend asks when I'll come and visit her. I say I'm sorry but I can't afford to go to the next town never mind thousands of miles away (Canada, very long distances). She makes a sympathetic face, she's a nice and decent person. Friend of friend pipes up that she's gone to visit using air miles! Mmhmm, I say, but you do travel (she goes abroad every year). She says "oh, but when I visited it was on air miles". Then turns to mutual friend and says "where shall we go this year? Chicago or Mexico?"

Not that I mind her travelling but don't in one breath say you can only travel due to air miles and then discuss swanky holidays I can only dream of. Pretending we have the same amount of disposable income doesn't make me feel better, it makes me very, very irritated. She's childless btw, similar income to me, inherited a shedload of money so no mortgage.

Then when I was saying I was tired working full-time while single-parenting she said "I work 80 hours a week so I was confused when you said you were tired on 38! I thought I misheard you! Boy I guess I work too much!" She does this (claiming to work 60-80 hours a week every.fucking.time I see her. And a) I don't believe her (knowing her job & her industry it's just not required or necessary) b) it makes her sound like a sad workaholic not the Queen of the Work Ethic she's aiming for.

AIBU or is this weird competitive behaviour? I don't go on at people on benefits or minimum wage about what a struggle my life is - because that would be rude to expect them to feel sympathy for someone on more than them. I feel whinging about money can go up (in audience's income levels) but not down. And the claiming 80 hours a week of work is getting up my nose too.

topcat2014 Sun 30-Apr-17 07:59:31

She is probably counting the time spent 'door to door' out of the house as work, as well as being economical with the truth.

To work 80 hours per week, would be 16 hours per day. Not many work premises are open that long, and anyway - who would happily manage staff doing those hours.

AwaywiththePixies27 Sun 30-Apr-17 07:59:43

YNBU, it is weird behaviour, and she doesn't sound like much of a friend either.

OvertiredandConfused Sun 30-Apr-17 08:06:31

Plenty of people DO work 80 hours a week Topcat. Whether they need to or whether they choose to is another matter. Before I had children I used to routinely be in my London office between 8 AM and 6 PM. Twice a week I would have an evening function until about 10 PM. On top of that, I commuted for an hour and 15 minutes each way. I usually brought some work home at the weekend too.

I choose to have a job that made those demands and, I hope, I rarely complained about it. When I had children I changed to a job with more reasonable expectations.

OvertiredandConfused Sun 30-Apr-17 08:07:47

Sorry, forgot to say OP, in this situation YADNBU. Friendships like this are hard work. Is it worth it?

KanielOutis Sun 30-Apr-17 08:12:50

YANBU. I grew up dirt poor and have friends who grew up the same. Some still are, but some, like me have an easier life now. Not flush or without worry but still not struggling. There seems to be a stigma attached to bettering yourself and very open competitive poverty. I don't engage in it.

giantpurplepeopleeater Sun 30-Apr-17 08:13:06

YANBU but this sounds more like a woman who is hyper competitive about everything rather than it being specifically about poverty. I would avoid her in future, as whatever thr subject she will try to make a point of hiw much harder, better, longer etc she has done it!!

My parents good friend married a woman like this. They now call her "eleven" because my dad once made a joke that she was the kind of woman who, had you told her you were off to Teneriefe, would announce her trip to Eleveneriefe!

They put up with her to see their friend, but have managed to find a way to not let her attempts to be "better" than them piss them off.

I can see how hard it will be, but if you do carry on socialising with her, you need to find a way to not let it get to you. And remember, she must have some massive insecurities or be very unsatisfied with her life to want to make everything into a competition like this.

58NotBothered Sun 30-Apr-17 08:31:03

I had to laugh about using air miles. How did she get them?

KittyVonCatsington Sun 30-Apr-17 08:35:23

YANBU with regards to your friend and the air miles but it does sound like you are as bad as each other as you do go on a lot about what you have as well.

Maybe just don't talk about money?

JanetBrown2015 Sun 30-Apr-17 09:07:07

She sounds very silly to make comments like that particularly air miles! I had a credit card which accumulated them for a while although I flew so rarely even for work they never seemed to buy anything useful and I didn't like using credit cards anyway as i prefer the money to come straight out of my bank so I can see it like that every day actually so I just decided forget air miles and cash back.

I almost posted that I haven't been to a hair dressers in 3 years (which is true) and I only drink tap water (true) laughing as I type... we can all do ccompetitive poverty but I think in this case you are talking about someone showing off, plain and simple and showing off about her hours of work or whatever or trying always to show she has things worse than you do. That is the personality of a lot of people I don't think it makes them very happy. There will always be people better off and worse off (many worse off) than I am but I very rarely let the fact some have more get to me. It is not a route to being happy in life.#

(And yes some people work very long hours and I often have in my life even yesterday Saturday I was at my desk working at home from 6am and I do some work just about every day of the years actually so that probably gets the hours up. Those saying companies are not open that long - well a lot of people work by email from home and secondly City law firms for example where a lot of our family work they "let" you stay late. All nighters with no over time are not made up. I don't think they are good for people but some work those hours week in week out. 8am to 11pm or midnight for 9 - 5 lawyer pay is par for the course in some departments with a few days some months to 3 and 4am.

Riderontheswarm Sun 30-Apr-17 09:19:36

Working long hours is not always a sign of a hard worker. It can also be a symptom of of inefficiency. Some people can not get their work done in the same time as their colleagues can and need extra time and some people waste a lot of their normal working hours chatting, emailing etc. I don't know why people think not being able to do your work within work hours means they are better than people who can.

manicinsomniac Sun 30-Apr-17 09:36:17

It doesn't matter how many hours she works, her 'Oh you're tired on 38, I thought I must have misheard you as I do 80' type comment is so disingenuous and bitchy it sets my teeth on edge. What a horrible thing to say. Either she can't hear how she sounds when she says things like that or she is not a very nice person.

Disappointednomore Sun 30-Apr-17 10:08:53

People who don't have children have NO idea how hard work it is. I laugh when I look back at my former child free 60 hour weeks when I thought I was working hard. It was a walk in the park compared to 35 hours plus DC now.

JanetBrown2015 Sun 30-Apr-17 10:43:07

I agree with manic, what sort of friend would say something like that! People are always moaning to me about how hard XYZ is in their lives and I just say poor you that must be hard (even though for me it wouldn't be). No one knows how someone else feels and what someone else can cope with someone else can't. There is no point in all this competitive oh woe is me stuff.

lizzieoak Sun 30-Apr-17 15:42:56

Thanks so much, all, that's cheered me up! She's really a friend of friends, as I've always found her a bit "off" though everyone else thinks she's lovely. Perhaps she just does it to me, now that I think about last night she didn't do it at all to our mutual friend.

It is about a lot of things, it's just the money thing I find particularly insensitive. We both get migraines and as our mutual friend is in healthcare she asked and we discussed that. If I said I get migraines some months 15/30 days, she gets them every day. If I say I've had to leave work due to the pain and puking, she's powered through and done an 80 hour week. If I can get relief with triptans, she has to take codeine and triptans. Elevenerieffe indeed!

She does all this in a cheery, upbeat way, so I can't work out if it's intentional or not. I don't think it is, but I do think she may have a problem with me as everyone else thinks she's lovely.

She also said that our mutual friend and I are "so lucky" that our kids choose to go to away camp for part of the summer (mine on scholarship) because "it's like a holiday for you!" We said "no, it's not, we miss them". Totally separate issue, but I always find it odd that people think we're gasping to get rid of our (very nice) kids. So ya, I don't think she grasps the work or the happiness of kids.

And I am quite sure that her job does not require those hours (having worked in that sector I've never seen anyone do overtime, bar - at the most - quarterly evening events so 4 extra evenings per year. So as Riders said below, she may be wildly inefficient (but I also think she's lying - she's always telling us about plays she's been to, evening sailing trips she's been on, language classes she's taking - not viable on a constant 8:00am to midnight schedule she says she's doing).

Honestly, it's all I can do to work all day, get groceries, cook a meal and collapse on the sofa. Even if she was doing those hours (as you've all said) it was weird and rude to go on about how she does more. We all have different energy levels, tolerances, etc.

I do try to avoid her but when my friend visits it can be tricky as I want to see her (as she lives so far away) but prefer one on one. I can't count the dinner parties and pub nights I've left early because of the competitive thing.

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