Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Ask Annie: How can I keep my friendships without going broke?

Facing a problem yourself? Annie has answers. Ask away!

                      Graphic by Nicholas Anastacio

Dear Annie,

As a first year I found a really great group of friends at GW. They all come from an affluent background and I come from a working class family. I have a hard time whenever we go out because they like to go to expensive restaurants and do things that cost money. I don’t know how to explain to them that I can’t afford to go to expensive restaurants and do expensive things but I’m scared I’ll lose them as friends. What should I do?

Help please,
Broke and Soon To Be Friendless

Dear Broke and Soon To Be Friendless,

With friends who like gold teeth, Grey Goose and tripping in the bathroom, it can feel awkward to dampen the conversation by confessing you’ve never seen a diamond in the flesh.

With tuition, housing and Whole Foods as the local grocery chain, life at GW is expensive. Though the children of an illustrious reality TV star and a dreamy fictional doctor who attended our University may not bat an eye at splurging at the nearby Nobu, that’s not the case for many GW students. If you are honest and open with your companions about what you can afford, then you needn’t fret about being broke and friendless.

Reflect on how vocal you have been in the past with your friends about your financial disparity. If you haven’t said anything, they may not know their choice of fun drains your funds. Set the tone of your finances with a casual comment when your friends have an expensive idea. For example, if they want to try the latest workout class, mention that sounds pricey and suggest a similar activity you can afford. If you haven’t ever said anything, casually mentioning that a suggested activity sounds expensive gives your friends a hint of your financial situation.

If you’ve mentioned certain activities sound expensive in a casual setting and your friends haven’t picked up on the tone, have a direct conversation. Explain how much you value your friendship but can’t afford to keep up with their activities. Say you enjoy splurging every so often but would appreciate it if your friend group could incorporate cost-conscious activities much more frequently, like visiting the Smithsonians or catching free performances at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. Focus on what you can and want to do with your friends.

If they are a “great group of friends,” they won’t drop you because of financial disparities. Rich people, however, can be notoriously aloof. One episode of “Gossip Girl” contains more vitriol than whole seasons of shows about people in any other tax bracket. If their behavior changes toward you, remember friends should be reasonably accommodating and relatable. If they refuse to incorporate lower-cost activities into your friendship, they may not have been the great friends you thought they were.

Friendship necessitates honesty and openness. The benefits and connection last longer than any discomfort from a brief conversation. Stay positive. These are your friends, and friends should want to make sure you can hang out with them without breaking your bank.

Always Priceless,

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