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I have some friends who recently came into a great deal of money. They have always been kind and supportive of me. I'd go so far as to say I owe them a great deal for the practical help they have given me in the past. Now that they have a life-changing increase in wealth, I can see how they might be starting to feel taken advantage of.

I value our friendship far more than any amount of money. I want to assure them that I have no interest in their bank balance, only their continued friendship. Early on, they asked what could they get me. I jokingly said, "House? Car?" But I feel bad about that now because, honestly, I'm just happy to have them as friends.

How can I make sure that they never feel I am friends for what I can get? (Because I am not). I know I can say that I am not - how do I show it?

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    Hi Matthew! You're afraid they might have thought that you're after their money; could you tell us how they reacted after you said that? Did they laugh as well or did they seem uncomfortable? – avazula Jun 22 at 15:47
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I've been the poor college student hanging out with people who had a job, and with my partner we now have some financial troubles which means we can't spend our money like before (while our friends are doing well).

First, ask yourself what you'd be comfortable with. It didn't bother me when my friends bought me a beer and I couldn't reciprocate beer for beer. Other people aren't comfortable with that and don't want to accept something they can't reciprocate. So find out where the line is for you.

Second, never expect that people will pay for you. If I only had money for two beers that night, I only ordered two beers. If someone offered to buy me one more, thanks ! If not, I didn't ask (and also didn't make a show of not having enough money for more). Be grateful when someone offers you something and check with yourself if you're comfortable with accepting it.

Since you've been friends for a while, my guess is they already know you're not someone who is after their money. The fact that they've asked you if you wanted something shows that they're comfortable with what they gave you in the past. So I would continue the friendship like before, and don't be greedy. Don't start to expect them to give out more since they now have more. If it's their friendship you value, show it.

Last but not least : tell them. A quick "thanks, I'm already so lucky to be friends with you, I don't need more" will make anyone happy (and even more so if your actions back up your statement).

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    I'd add something like "Talk to the friend, say it out load that you're trying to show that you want to be friends, not for the money." Because if you're gonna act all wonky trying not to make it about money, you're making it about money, which might result in the opposite – Martijn Jun 23 at 13:45
  • FYI, I do say in the last paragraph to tell them that he values their friendship and not their money. Whether to say it in passing or have a big conversation is more up to OP, it depends on them, his friends, how comfortable they are talking about money, etc... not enough information here for me to push one way or the other. – MlleMei Jun 24 at 10:20
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How you work this out depends on your history together. I've been on both sides of this to some degree.

For years my oldest friend and I agreed that we were always "even", with no attempt to remember who paid for lunch or dinner last time. When he was in some financial difficulty I picked up the check. Both of us knew why and nothing was said.

Another friend was quite poor while I was quite comfortable. I provided some de facto support. Later he earned a lot of money, while I remained comfortable. To this day he takes me fancy places beyond my means. He will sometimes let me pay at ordinary restaurants.

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TL;DR:

If you really are unsure and want to make your concern clear, a talk is the best option in my opinion.


Backstory

I became friends with a girl some time ago which was of great amounts of wealth, but I didn't knew about this in the beginning and only got to know shortly before starting a romantic relationship. Which comes close to sudden growth of wealth in some way

Now itself was no problem since I honestly didn't care but I felt some unspoken problems in the beginning, where both parties where unsure on how to act and how the other will interpret it. So I sat down with her in a calm minute and talked about this with her.


Talking the talk

Even without a romantic relation the following is roughly what I said and can also be used for normal friendships:

Hey X, I know that there is a difference in our wealth and I just want to make sure that you know it doesn't matter to me. I honestly care about you and the time we spend together.

A little sentence like this can make your standpoint clear pretty easily, however for a mutual understanding you also need to figure out how they see things and what's on their mind about this topic. This can either be done in the same talk or previously in trying to read interactions and reactions. If you choose to talk about it this is a possible way of signaling that you want to understand them:

I don't want this to be in-between us, would you like to talk about this [and tell me if there is something on your mind]?

If they don't want to talk about it - respect it. Wait for the time they want to talk about it otherwise it is likely to make the other party feel pressured.

If there are other points on your mind, for example if they pay too much for you or you are scared that them paying will make them dislike you; address it. However it is important to make it mainly about your feelings and not about the action, it should be formed in a way about your feelings so it doesn't come across as accusation.

I noticed that ... and while I appreciate the thought/gesture, it sometimes makes me feel ... [or it makes me scared that someday ...]

These sentences will likely show your true intentions and feelings, something which is important even in a friendship. If they had thoughts about this topic themselves, it is likely they now understand you a little better and future interactions or talks have a good ground to start on.

After this talk it hopefully is clear to both parties what the thoughts and intentions are. This will take away your and maybe the others concerns to again create the smooth atmosphere you both can relax in and enjoy.

Additionally it is important to act naturally and be independent if possible, like the other answers stated.

Pay your part of the bill or pay a round of drinks just like you normally would do with everybody else. If they want to pay, you can try to still pay your part of the bill; don't be aggressive about it and be appreciative.

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I've been on both sides of this. (Not to an extreme extent either way though)

In general, offer to pay your own part, but don't aggressively turn them down if they insist.

Also, feel free to invite them out to places you would hang out at before they got money. When you invite them out, offer to pay for everyone (make sure it is actually in your means). If they offer to pay their own way, that is fine, but don't expect it or give off any verbal or non-verbal cues that you do.

I would keep the offering to pay for everyone to cases in where you invite them (unless it is for something really small, like buying a softdrink from a vending machine or snacks from a convenience store or something), but always offer to pay your own way when invited.

If you're invited to something you can't afford, discuss that with them beforehand. If they offer to pay, you can graciously take them up on the offer, but don't go first and expect them to pay for you without letting them know beforehand. It is usually that expectation that makes one feel like they are being taken advantage of.

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If you've been friends with them for a while then that shouldn't be too hard, I suppose.

Simply, don't change.

Surely, your friend thought he'd like to help his friends and that includes you. That should make you happy for having someone who cares for you.

However, you, as his friend, should explain to him that, before going crazy about helping people who could suck his life and money and drop him when he's no good anymore, he should look into ways to preserve his new wealth.

Also, remind him that many people have won and lost. After such events, they were left feeling miserable, worse than prior to their sudden success.

Advise him/her to seek expert advice from multiple independent parties and study the best way to make good use of his money.

And when he offers you something, it will be your decision whether you accept it or not but I suppose accepting a beer or one celebratory dinner will be fine but a house, a car or even a laptop seems very disproportionate.

Even if you weren't able to reciprocate a dinner, you can always give him your friendship. Look after his interests instead of your own. Show him insights about who's looking for his money (assuming you actually know), introduce him to your sister (if she's not a gold digger! Surely not but just saying), let him be himself, keep him honest with himself when he's going all crazy with his money in parties, etc.

How do I see this advice being used and working?

In my life. I have 2 friends whom I am going to call Charles and John.

Charles has always been the rich kid, extremely popular but friend to his friends. Some of his friends have taken advantage of him as he grew up. I met him when he was 17 and his closest friend never paid for anything because he was less fortunate which, to some extent was very true. Not poor but money couldn't be spent so frivolously.

Several times, at different points in our lives, Charles confessed to me that he felt used by his best friend. At some point, offers aside he was owed 1,000€ (we're talking young adults going to university - probably 20 years old at the time).

Charles never liked confrontation so talking about it was out of the question. Very recently, Charles confessed again that he was still upset with the situation as he never got recognition for helping out his friend. He never wanted his money-back, just to feel appreciated.

My other friend, John, refers to other people looking after his money as gold-diggers. However, he has no problems talking to me about how much he makes after I ask explicitly. Something he wouldn't do with just any person. Well, he knows that I'm not looking after his money because I always looked after his interests, not mine.

"Looking after his interests" means giving insights about things I looked up about money, for example. This happens with some frequency, actually. Other personal matters too but that's outside the scope.

Plus, if I have the chance to offer him something like a dinner, I do. Once I sent him a portwine vintage dated from his birthyear and he loved it.

So, I suggest that if you conduct yourself with dignity and always acting your friend's best interests, you'll be fine.

As years pass by, if they deserve you as a friend, they'll recognise for who you are.

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