Many of our friends are more... financially comfortable (some of them quite a bit so). They also tend to spend more freely (in other words, I suspect some of the them rely on credit cards and stuff, whereas I'm very much a tightwad!!) So often when we are hanging out they want to go out to dinner, or to costly events, or whatever... sometimes I feel like I'm really holding them back because I will only do free activities & all.
Anyway... so a few times we've run into situations where friends have offered to pay for us, or buy us dinner, or chip in on tickets, or gift us something that to me is pretty expensive. I really appreciate their generosity but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with this. There are a few situations where I have felt OK with it (an expensive Christmas gift that was also a thank-you gift; an 'anonymous' gift sent in the mail, etc.) but for the most part it makes me feel awkward & indebted to them & I worry that I'd be taking advantage of them.
I'd never be able to pay them back (at least not in the foreseeable future!) They rationalize it with "You helped us with XYZ and that saved us money," but those are just things friends do for each other, you know? Plus we are not poor. We don't have a lot of money but we do have some that we can live off of for awhile. We tend to be a bit minimalistic and I'm cheap (even in the best financial times) so I feel like maybe they think we are in a worse situation than we really are. We make the choices we make because I just want to make sure I can continue to feed my kid and all.
How do others feel about these kinds of situations?
I can speak a bit from the other end of the spectrum, though we are transitioning to a super-tight budget so I can be a SAHM after #2 is born in July. I have several friends who are less fortunate financially than we are. I've bought them gifts spur-of-the-moment while out shopping, or offered to pay for dinner out so that I can enjoy their company somewhere other than a park or out "shopping" without one of us having to "entertain". I don't expect anything in return except the pleasure of their company. I don't even try to justify it, really. I do the same with friends who CAN afford to pay their own way as well. It's more of an "I want to go out and I want you to go too, so I'll pay for it." Or with gifts it's because I know they'll like something and I am able to get it for them. I certainly don't give gifts with the expectation of getting one in return...
I can see if how it would be awkward if someone were always paying for me, or if we never did anything at all together unless someone else paid. But if we were still spending time together as friends when no money was involved (i.e. picnic at the park, going for a walk, or inviting a friend over for a meal/coffee/whatever), I think I'd be okay with it. I just wouldn't want to be someone's "pet", you know??
Married to my loving hubby, proud mama to Ethan (9/09) and Rowyn (7/12) and aspiring homesteader
Missing my twins, Owen and Sophia, born too soon, July 2011
It's weird, Crunchy, but I GLADLY pay for others in social situations, especially if I know they are struggling. I have a hard time, though, accepting the same if I were in that situation. It is a pride issue for me. Probably one of the deadly sins that people talk about. If I were your friend, and if I knew that you were struggling, I would pay your way knowing that it perhaps would not be reciprocated anytime soon in a financial respect. I guess my thing is: the company of friends and family is more important than keeping tabs on who pays their share and when. Someday when I'm destitute and my neighbor/friend/relative has a crust of bread or a bowl of soup to spare, I would hope that they would reciprocate. I think there is lots to say about pay forward. We should all share during times of abundance and we should all share during times of famine. I'm not counting over here. I've been hugely blessed and will give freely. OP, if you have friends who feel the same, then appreciate and know in your heart that you will do the same in the future to the same people or others.
I LOVE paying other people's way. If I can afford to buy their dinner, or movie ticket, it makes me happy. Probably because I can rarely afford to do so! But it is something that really brings me joy, to do something like that for someone.
I am trying to be more accepting and gracious when others do the same for me. My friend/supervisor bought me lunch many, many times over the last few years. Other friends have bought me movie tickets or gifts. I always try to pay my own way, but I won't fight them on it when they insist. Instead I accept graciously and thank them, and hopefully I can do something nice for them soon.
It depends on how often and what it is.
I wouldn't want to accept someone paying my way at expensive places unless it was a very special occasion. If it is something they want to do on a weekly or monthly basis just because then I would have to decline joining them at that kind of place or accepting that kind of gift. I would hope we could find something we could mutually enjoy that wouldn't be out of our reach financially.
Honestly, if I were on the other side and had the money I wouldn't frequently pay for a friend to go to expensive places or give them expensive gifts knowing that they couldn't reciprocate. I would actually consider someone doing such things frequently to be very rude and insensitive. I think generosity when incomes are unequal is not paying the poorer person's way because you can but about respecting the other person and their feelings.
Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)
|Finances , Frugality|