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Friend thinks she's poor

(145 Posts)
Transformer123 Mon 11-Nov-19 22:53:39

This is a bit controversial. It's not a biggie, but wondered what peoples' views are about this attitude...

There is a friend in our group who talks a lot about how she is one of those families the government refers to as 'just managing' to get by financially. She says she married a man who had nothing and they are not well off.

When I mentioned once about my child benefits, she mentioned they weren't entitled because their income was too high. They recently moved into a massive manor-type house in the middle of the countryside (and we live in an expensive area of the country). She mentioned they pay £2000 a month for it. She always buys expensive clothes, etc for her kids and seems in general to have stuff that we could not afford - expensive memberships, etc.

Recently, I was talking about how I am trying to apply for 30 hours free childcare a week. She mentioned that their income is too high to be eligible. That must mean their net income is over £100000 per annum. I'm sure that's not what Theresa meant when she said 'just managing'.

She talks to me about how poor they are A LOT. It's starting to annoy me. She knows we must have an income less than half of theirs. We have a small three-bed semi. We live quite frugally and do OK. But if they are poor, then what are we in her opinion?! What planet is she on? Maybe they have debts, etc. But I don't understand why you would move into an expensive manor house and splash the cash around if you are hard up??

Yes, and it's none of my business. But I don't understand this attitude at all.

isabellerossignol Mon 11-Nov-19 22:57:20

She's doesn't sound like a friend, she sounds like someone who likes to draw attention to her relative affluence. She knows it is frowned on to boast but thinks she can get round it by pretending to be struggling instead.

Singlenotsingle Mon 11-Nov-19 22:58:56

So why don't you call her out on it? I would.

Transformer123 Mon 11-Nov-19 23:00:19

It doesn't come across like a boast - it never crossed my mind she could be showing off! I genuinely believed she thinks she's hard up.

Maybe you are right then.

Random18 Mon 11-Nov-19 23:01:02

Shes not who they meant.............

Transformer123 Mon 11-Nov-19 23:02:17

singlenotsingle: I'm guessing it could be the end of the friendship if I mentioned it. No one would take that conversation well! What would be the point - I'm unlikely to change her attitude and she'd probably just take offence.

Random18 Mon 11-Nov-19 23:02:33

Mutton dressed as lamb?

Got a big fancy house but can't afford it.

All about appearances.........

LadyLanka Mon 11-Nov-19 23:02:46

Do they rent or own the property?

merryhouse Mon 11-Nov-19 23:03:41

Ha. Some people just can't see past their own nose.

When we were first married (baaaaa) husband was on 12kish and I was temping at a rate that would work out at about 5k. We had friends who were on 35k and 12k.

I remember several occasions of them saying that really, you know, they didn't have any more disposable income than we did.

Quite apart from the fact that even two lots of commuting and car loans wasn't going to come to 20 thousand a year....

... every time we saw them they'd be talking about places they went out to eat. We went out to eat literally only when we saw them (had moved for job so knew no-one) and had last had a takeaway on the day we moved. But yeah, they had no more spending money than we did.

Transformer123 Mon 11-Nov-19 23:04:51

They rent the property. But if I was hard-up, I'd get somewhere cheap. Surely that would be the logical thing to do.

I'm wondering just how common this is. Are there lots of people out there who think they are not well off but living this life?

Finchy19 Mon 11-Nov-19 23:04:55

It might be that the more you earn the more you might think you should be able to afford so it's kind of all relative. Because £100k a year sounds like loads but if they have friends or relatives who earn £200k they will feel less well off in comparison.

raspberryk Mon 11-Nov-19 23:08:09

Call her out, I called out my ex FIL on this bullshit poor/just managing/scraping by, at a family dinner no less. Pleading poverty on their large income working PT with no mortgage and a holiday home.

Transformer123 Mon 11-Nov-19 23:08:59

A lot of people around here are very wealthy. To be honest, we stick out like a sore thumb. Our road is on a little street of much smaller houses. I think there is pressure to conform and people get sucked into having to look a certain way.

isabellerossignol Mon 11-Nov-19 23:10:48

I have friends and relatives with massively differing incomes, some with less income than us and some with more. A lot more. The only people who talk about money at all are the one's who like to rub other people's noses in how wealthy they are. And they're not actually the wealthiest by a long way, just the most insecure.

The genuinely poor people don't talk about struggling for money because they find it embarassing. The ones who are very wealthy know they are fortunate and don't want to make anyone else feel awkward or embarrassed so they don't talk about it either. The one's who talk about it a lot, usually by making some comment about how they'd love to do x, y or z if only they had a decent income, are just fishing for flattery because they want others to say 'oh, but I wish I had as much money as you' because it makes them feel validated.

Transformer123 Mon 11-Nov-19 23:12:14

Good point Isabellerossignol!

purpleme12 Mon 11-Nov-19 23:13:54

Of course I'd call her out on it.
When she says she's poor just say to her you told me you earn too much for the free hours childcare so you can't be poor
I don't see how that will end your friendship to be honest it's just being honest

SleepingStandingUp Mon 11-Nov-19 23:13:57

I'd call her out but nicely.

"were struggling so much, we can barely feed the ponies!!"
"it's hard when money is tight, are you looking to move somewhere smaller? I think there's a house in our street up for rent"


CountFosco Mon 11-Nov-19 23:21:42

I'm wondering just how common this is. Are there lots of people out there who think they are not well off but living this life?

I think some people just can't see beyond their noses. We have a high income and DH is always worrying about money and talking about how we can't afford stuff. But he means e.g. multiple holidays abroad not can we pay the bills/buy enough food. I do call him out on it and have told him he can't complain because we have a very good income and loads of savings. His brother does it as well (he told me the average income in London is £50Kpa!), they have lived their lives in an upper middle class bubble and just don't realise how offensive what they are saying is because they mainly mix with people the same or higher income than them.

Ellisandra Mon 11-Nov-19 23:25:19

I’d pick something obvious and big, like the £2K housing and mention it Every Single Time, but in a ‘nice way’.

- that sounds tough, will you downsize?
- that sounds tough - did you think about downsizing?
- that sounds tough - are you going to have to bite the bullet and downsize then?

Every time, until she realises how fucking ridiculous - and rude - she is being.

Mydogmylife Mon 11-Nov-19 23:32:00

Total stealth boast- ignore her

loseyourself Mon 11-Nov-19 23:45:37

But they are renting, which potentially means they can't afford a mortgage on a property? Maybe they are saving really hard to get on the property ladder. How many kids have they? I live in a shithole town and if I wanted to rent a one bedroom flat I would have to pay 1000 per month. It is all relative so I wouldn't go all out in confronting her.

BlackeyedSusan Mon 11-Nov-19 23:50:12

Ellisandra's idea sounds a good one. so sympathetic, but not...

ohdobehavedahling Mon 11-Nov-19 23:50:50

we live in an expensive area of the country.

Obvious answer - move to what you can afford

BlackeyedSusan Mon 11-Nov-19 23:51:09

they can't be saving that fucking hard if they live in a 2k house. saving hard you would find the cheapest place you could.

Velveteenfruitbowl Mon 11-Nov-19 23:53:09

They very well could be in mountains of debt and can’t find a cheaper house in the area.

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