Is there any experience more dreaded than deciding how to split the bill at brunch or budgeting where to go for a bachelorette weekend? Not that I know of, except for maybe a PAP smear or asking that new guy you’re dating “where things are going.” But like it or not, when it comes to most types of relationships, money plays a big role. It influences the activities you do, where you eat, and the general tone of your friendships. And what if the money dynamics are out of balance? Well, things can get awkward—fast. So what’s a girl to do when one friend rolls up to happy hour with the newest iPhone while another is working two jobs just to make rent? But don’t worry, there’s hope for your group! Here are some tips to help navigate those stressful and awkward moments.
Recognize that the Situation is Normal
First, take a deep breath and realize that this is a super common scenario among friend groups. Unless you met your friends at work or an industry-specific networking event, it’s unlikely everyone will be bringing home the same income—let alone be comfortable spending it the same way. It’s always been very normal to have a wide range of salaries in a friend group (cue the infamous Friends scene below that was filmed over 25 years ago!). Someone working as a teacher is likely going to make a different amount than her friend who is a freelance jewelry designer or an investment banker. People may also be in different stages of their career, which will impact their financial situation as well.
Don’t Make Assumptions
Glassdoor is a powerful thing, and so too are stereotypes about specific roles and industries. Unless you and your friends have spoken about how much each person makes, try to hold off on making any assumptions or doing investigative research online. Your architect friend might have a great salary but also a ton of student debt she is working on paying off. Meanwhile, your artist friend might be absolutely killing it with her Etsy sales and contributing steadily to her retirement account. It can be easy to assume someone has or doesn’t have a lot of money based on their job title, company, or education, but that thinking can gradually impact your relationship if you convince yourself you know someone else’s financial story.
Start a Conversation about Financial Goals
Instead of jumping right into talking about how much you make with your friends, start by casually discussing general financial goals next time you grab coffee together. This will relieve some of …….