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Why Are Friendships of Unequal Wealth Challenging?

Have you noticed how hard it is to keep friendships as an adult? It used to be easy when you were younger, but these days it seems like there are too many obstacles. Friendships are formed quickly but they disappear just as fast. There are many reasons why this might happen, but the wealth gap between two friends is a common one. Have you noticed that too?

This gap isn’t necessarily a problem at first, but as time goes on, you might find it more and more noticeable, and it starts to wear down on your friendships. It’s just easier, you think, to only hang out with people in your same economic situation. But why is that the case?


Friendships of unequal wealth can be challenging on both ends. When all your friends have more money than you, it’s only natural to begin to feel like you’re not good enough to be around others. They can afford all these things, but you can’t. You might also feel like you can’t talk about your financial problems for fear of looking like you’re asking them for a loan.

On the other side of this, you might feel insecure about whether your friends are only hanging out with you because you’re the one with the bigger paycheck. If you’re the one paying for everyone when you go out for drinks, for example, you might begin to think that’s the only reason they keep you around: to pay the check.

two male friends sitting in a coffee shop talkingFear of Missing Out

When your friends are wealthier than you, it can be hard to see them traveling to fun places or going to high-end restaurants or buying expensive things. You might feel like you’re missing out on amazing life experiences. You’re missing out on fun trips abroad and visiting other countries. You’re missing out on some amazing meals and fun times with your friends. You’re missing out on amazing clothes or a good laptop. All that takes its toll on you, and it puts a strain on your friendships.

Financial Problems

The most dangerous part of having wealthier friends is the financial problems this may bring. You may feel like you have to go to high-end restaurants when they invite you and, at the end of the meal, you may feel obligated to split the bill even if it’s not something you can afford.

You may find yourself maxing out your credit card to keep up with your friends when it comes to clothes or electronics. And, naturally, you may find yourself struggling to pay those debts. That puts a lot of pressure, not just on your friendships, but on your well-being too. It can be very hard to live like that.


Something that can put a huge strain on your friendships is any resentment that might build up. And it’s easy for that to happen. When you don’t have as much money as your friends, you end up resenting them because you’re not good enough. You don’t have enough money, you’re not as successful, you don’t get to enjoy life the way they do. It all adds up.

And when you’re the one with more money than your friends, you can end up resenting them too. You’re expected to pay for everything because you earn more. And, if you don’t, you’re judged for hanging on to money too tightly. After a while, it’s only natural to start resenting your friends.

Taking Care of Yourself

It can be a challenge to try and maintain a friendship with a wealth gap, and whether you decide to keep the friendship or drop it altogether, it takes a toll on you. It’s important, no matter what choice you make, to take care of yourself. And if you struggle to do so, don’t hesitate to reach out. This is what relationship counseling is for, to improve your well-being.