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Introduction

I'm a male software developer at the age of 25 in Austria who started his career about 2.5 years ago. Before my "real" career I was quite a social loser, I screwed up in school because I was "bored" and so I had trouble finding a job. During that time I met a lot of (good) friends who were in a similar position.

After I finally put my stuff together, I managed to get a job and was quite successful at it. The past 2 years I have been promoted multiple times and, of course, also I started to earn a lot more money.

My friends, on the other hand, were not that successful, they also managed to get some jobs but earning about 1/3 of my salary.

The Problem Whenever we meet (about once in a week) and we talk about common topics I started to recognize that they start to push me out of the conversation, because I can't "compare" my problems with theirs.

An Example:

A: Hey, guys, I just had the problem that my favourite TV show X was cancelled in TV, but I want to finish watching it.

B: Yeah I also heard about that, its kinda sad but we can't change anything.

Me: Well, I think I already have seen the show on Netflix, I can lend you my Netflix account if you want to finish watching it.

A: No thanks, I don't want to watch on your account, I will just wait until they release it on another channel ....

Later in that conversation

Me: Well but they also cancelled show Y on netflix, it finally showed some nice character development.

A & B: And why don't you just buy more accounts to watch it elsewhere, you have the money dude.

No matter what the topic is, in the end, it just turns out that I have the money anyway and that none of my problems are "real".

In the beginning, I just thought that they are a bit envious and they will stop soon, but it's getting more and more extreme, and to be honest, it hurts.

Additional Info

I can talk a lot as long as it's about a specific topic, but I hate small talk and I'm also having a really hard time meeting new people. Also, these guys usually are also nice people and I really don't want to lose them.

What I tried

I tried talking to them in a private conversation, explained to them that there is also hard work behind this money (Usually I have about 80 - 100 hours overtime a month) and that I don't see them through their money, I'm hanging out with them because I really just like them.

My actual question

Is there a way to just "push away" this money topic and return "back to normal"?

Solution I talked to them again, this time I used a different approach (provided by the given answer), and it really worked out nice, we finally managed to talk about other topics - thanks to everyone who (tried) helping.

  • 3
    Well, from looking at the examples you gave the second one might've been an attempt from your friends at making a joke. These jokes can be annoying, but is there a possibility your friends are just making a bit of fun of you? Do they laugh after one of them makes such remarks? – Tinkeringbell May 28 at 13:15
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I think you went wrong here:

explained to them that there is also hard work behind this money (Usually I have about 80 - 100 hours overtime a month)

Instead of talking about how hard you work, communicating an attitude that people who work hard earn more money, and so they should work harder if they want to earn more money, do not talk about money and work, but show understanding of their problems.

When a show on TV is cancelled and they cannot watch it any more, do not try to help by giving your account. Their pride might be hurt. Instead acknowledge their problems and their feelings towards their problem.

"That sucks, man. So, what are you going to watch next?"

When saying this you both acknowledge their problem and give them a sense of empowerment. In individualistic cultures persons have a higher psychological need for self-sufficiency (at least I think). When that sense of self-sufficiency is harmed people try to reduce the stress that comes from this. For instance, they are less likely to give in on behavior that depends on others or their capital.

When your friends say:

A & B: And why don't you just buy more accounts to watch it elsewhere, you have the money dude.

It seems they are expressing their feelings of dissatisfaction of their own situation compared with the perceived luxury you have. [They probably don't mean offend you]. So, that's why I think it would be wise to not tread on their price and give them expensive gifts or offer them your accounts. There is no need to respond to that question, they don't expect you to answer. They are expressing their dissatisfaction with their own financial wealth compared to yours.

If you choose to respond, add a pause or a hum, to indicate you're thinking about what you're going to say:

"I understand what you mean. I'm sorry if I give you a sense that money is the solution to every problem. Actually I don't like talking about money. It makes me uncomfortable."

If you keep mentioning that you don't like talking about money. Bit by bit, they will either respect your feelings by not lashing out with "you have money" or not.

When they do not, immediately respond with:

"Could you not say that?! It really makes me uncomfortable."

What also works is creating an ambivalent attitude towards earning money:

"I actually want to work less. I don't care about earning less money. I think I'm working too hard. The money isn't worth it."

Thereby, you devalue the importance of money. Creating an atmosphere that there are things more important than money could help shift the focus from the "you have money, I don't" kinda feeling. This may leave your friends more self-affirmed that they are valuable to you even if they earn less money.

  • 1
    Hi Boondoggle! There are some great pieces of advice here. Did you have to face a similar situation in the past? From your answer I believe that you do, and if so, it'd be great if you could include the background that made you suggest OP to do these things, as required by our answering quality standards. – avazula May 29 at 5:57
  • Thank you very much for this detailed answer, I'll give it a try and write back down here if that really helps. But nevertheless, I never looked at it that way - maybe because I value friendship more than money. – Insax May 29 at 8:42

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