“When friends ask me to go out to eat, I’m embarrassed that I can’t afford to right now.”

"One Enchanted Evening" by Mimi Stuart Live the Life you Desire

If you feel embarrassed about your financial difficulties, other people are more likely to feel embarrassed for you as well.

However, there’s nothing to feel awkward about. In this rough economy many people are in a similar situation. Remember, it used to be considered a virtue to have good judgment and to refrain from incurring unnecessary expenses. Now again, it’s becoming embarrassing to flaunt one’s money or to have a lot when others don’t.

See the movie “The Company Men” (or rent it when it comes out) and notice the attitude of Ben Affleck’s wife as she deals with their financial challenges. She employs common sense and a positive attitude, but does not hide behind false pride or shame. Pretense that “everything’s great” when it’s not and shame are what prevent real intimacy between friends.

Adopt a neutral demeanor, and simply say, “I’d love to get together. But right now, I need to be cautious with my finances. Let’s have dinner at my house. Or let’s go for a hike.”

We can have the most enjoyable times together without spending money. It’s the laughter, conversation, and sense of adventure that inspire the greatest moments with our friends.

Look at it as an opportunity to ignite ideas for some special times together that make eating out seem, well, pedestrian!

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “I can’t afford to buy my kids what all their friends have.”

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