You can’t exist without having friends. Currently, as things stand, you definitely have work friends, squad friends, workout friends, etc. However, most people don’t realize that some of these friends could really be bad for your finances. As a matter of fact, your close friends could make or break your financial success.
With that being said, let’s take a look at 5 different types of friends that are definitely not good for your finances.
1. The bully
It’s a Friday evening and you are about to leave work with a group of friends. On your way out, they start reminiscing about the times they spent at your favorite cocktail’s joint and before you know it, they make plans to visit that joint right away. “Twende. Twendeni ata saa hii” (Let’s go. Let’s go right now.) You smile and chuckle a little wishing you could join them but deep down this was not a part of your budget so you know you’ll have to skip it. The uber arrives and as everyone is going in, you let them know that you won’t be joining them.
As soon as you say this, Sarah, one of your friends, gives you a certain type of look. She looks disgusted. Almost like you just said that your favorite snack is raw Weetabix and ketchup (Yeah! That face exactly). Sarah then takes a deep breath and with a calm but very condescending tone, she asks you, “Why don’t you want to come with us? Is it that you can’t afford cocktails?”
This, ladies and gentlemen, is a financial bully. A financial bully is someone who always makes you feel bad about your choices. Whether this is saving, investing, the way you budget, they will always find a way to belittle you. As with most bullies, they often target people based on their own insecurities that they are trying to hide from the outside world.
To deal with a bully, laugh it off when they belittle you. By doing this, you indirectly let them know that teasing doesn’t really get to you. Secondly, calmly explain your situation to them. “Yes. You are absolutely right. I can’t afford to go over budget but it will all be worth it once I hit my savings goal for the end of the year.” By doing this, they will think twice before trying to bully you again.
2. The pressurizer
Today is one of your friend’s birthday and you’ve been eagerly waiting for this day. Jennie has been one of your closest friends for a while now and your squad has been planning to do something special for her. Kimberly, Jennie’s best friend, is in charge of the planning and she has been handling all the details about the event for about 2 weeks now.
Earlier that morning, Kimberly calls you to brief you on the plan. “We shall be heading to Bao Box this afternoon. We shall each contribute 1,000 for the games, 2,500 for cocktails, and about 800 for transport.” Woooh! This is way over your budget. Before she ends the call, she asks you not to be late and then “…oh wait, we’ll also need 1,200 for the birthday cake.”
Seeing that this is way over your budget, you let her know that you will skip today’s plan and do something special with Jennie the following day. She doesn’t want to hear any of that. “Wow! We spent way more than this on your birthday and you can’t spend half that on Jennie’s? It’s like you don’t even want to hang out with us anymore.”
Kimberly is a pressurizer. A pressurizer normally wants to go all out, and they expect you to do the same. When you tell them that you can’t spend as much, they guilt-trip you until you are pressured to spend as they are, or sometimes, they will push you to spend much more than they did.
P.S: The difference between a bully and a pressurizer is that the bully belittles you to force you to spend, while the pressurizer guilt trips you into spending. In this example, Kimberly, the pressurizer, guilt trips you by saying “We spent way more than this on your birthday and you can’t spend half that on Jennie’s? It’s like you don’t even want to hang out with us anymore.” However, if she was a financial bully she would have asked you, “Wow! So you can’t afford to spend 3,500 on her birthday?” Knowing the difference is important so you can learn how to deal with them.
To deal with a pressurizer, first, make sure that you explain your situation “Hey Kimberly. I’m so sorry but this is way over my budget. I had a budget of KES 2,000 so this will really throw my finances off.”
Second, offer to meet her halfway. “How about I come for the event but don’t participate in the games and the cocktails? I’ll bring my camera and take the best pictures you could ever ask for. You guys are going to love it!” By offering to meet halfway, you take away the pressurizer’s main ammo by proving that you are a great friend, despite your circumstances.
3. The enabler
“OMG you need to buy this!”
“TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE!? This is an amazing deal. What are you waiting for?”
“Honey after all the hard work you do, you really deserve nice things. Treat yourself to that handbag.”
An enabler is a person who wants you to keep on buying because they think you deserve it. The thing about most enablers is that they don’t normally do this with bad intentions. They just want you to feel special because they love and care for you. In most cases, your best friend is normally your enabler (Is this the case for you?).
To deal with an enabler, there are 2 things that you can do. First, whenever you are out shopping with an enabler, always carry the exact amount that you had budgeted for. Once the cash is finished, there will be no more money to spend, and therefore you take away the enabler’s ammo.
Second, avoid situations that trigger your friend’s enabling behavior. For example, if you know that when you go to fast-food restaurants with them, they enable you to spend more, look for alternatives. You could go for a picnic instead or whatever you choose. Another example is if you know that when you ask for shopping advice they always enable you to spend more than you intended to, reduce the number of times you ask for their advice (I know this hurts but, it’s a smart way to avoid overspending).
These 2 approaches will help you take away the enabling power from your friend.
4. The borrower
It’s a few days to the end of the month and Kevin has begun texting you more often than he normally does. He is commenting on all your new pictures and laughing so hard at your not-so-funny tweets but deep down, you know all this is a play to ask for money. Just as you expected in the middle of one of your conversations, Kevin goes …“oh btw can I borrow 5k. I promise to repay by next Tuesday.”
Kevin is a borrower. A borrower is almost always low on cash and is always borrowing money to meet their spending. The sad part is despite all the grooming you up for the favor and all the sweet promises that they make, it’s almost always very difficult to get your money back from a borrower.
To deal with a borrower, make sure you ask about the purpose of the money. If the reason is to cater for spending, simply say no. If they, however, need the money for a business or something as productive, have a structure in place to lend them the money (agree on the amount borrowed, repayment period, interest, late fees, etc). You could also enable your friend to manage their money better/make more money by:
5. The show-off
The final type of friend that we shall talk about today is the show-off. “OMG Mac, I just got a huge bonus today and I used it all to buy the new iPhone. Could you even? haha”
The show-off always finds a way to make you feel jealous or bad about your financial status by bragging about his/her belongings, savings, etc.
To deal with a show-off, dig deep to find out why you are really jealous. Are you jealous of the belongings or are you jealous of the financial stability? If the answer is financial stability, understand that we all have different situations in life and that despite the pace, the goal is to get there in the long run. Stick to your budget and savings plan and you shall get there eventually.
If the answer is belongings, write all these belongings down. Take a month to assess if you really need to buy them and if you do, budget for them. However, it’s important to note that there will always be a better phone than the one that you have, a better house, a better car, etc, so you should learn to love what you have or else you will never be satisfied.
So there you have it. The 5 types of friends who are bad for your finances; the bully, the pressurizer, the enabler, the borrower, and the show-off.
Are there other types of friends we didn’t cover? Share below.