When Money Talks, Friendships Falter

May 25 , 2024
By Kidist Yidnekachew

A recent fundraising effort at work for a colleague facing financial hardship exposed a troubling side of our society: entitlement. While most employees contributed, some, including a close friend, could not due to their own financial struggles. This lack of understanding from some colleagues led to strained relationships.

My friend noticed a shift in one colleague's behaviour. They became distant, only interacting superficially and avoiding deeper communication. It was hurtful and confusing for her. The lack of empathy and sense of entitlement were astounding. People prioritise their own desires when they cannot or are not willing to understand others' situations.

After the money was collected, the attitude worsened. Conversations with her ceased entirely. She suspected it stemmed from her decision to opt out of contribution. But another colleague even questioned the authenticity of her decision, pointing out their seemingly nice clothes and frequent cafe lunches. My friend clarified that these were remnants of a more financially secure past.

This incident sparked a contemplation of entitlement's pervasiveness. Helping loved ones in need is admirable, but relying solely on this is not sustainable. Many rely on family and friends during hardships, but it should not cultivate an entitlement mentality. Self-sufficiency is crucial.

A person's upbringing plays a role. Children raised with every need met without hesitation may grow up believing they deserve special treatment. Overly permissive parenting can reinforce this, leading to an adult's expectation of preferential treatment.

Societal norms also influence entitlement. Cultures that glorify personal success can make it seem like a birthright, not an achievement. Societal adulation of wealth, power, and fame fosters a mindset where people believe they deserve more simply for aspiring to these ideals.

Those in positions of power or privileged backgrounds may feel entitled due to their status. They might believe their position justifies special treatment, reinforcing the cycle through social structures. For some, it is a defence mechanism to avoid confronting inadequacy.

Expecting financial support from friends is common. Friends are often seen as a safety net, and financial help can feel like an extension of emotional support. However, friendship isn't built on resources. Assuming friends can always help financially may not be realistic. Some may fear judgment for their limitations.

Friends aware of each other's finances may feel entitled to help from those seemingly better off. It can be subconscious, driven by the belief that close friends share resources. However, boundaries are important. Saying no should be acceptable.

Honesty is the cornerstone of true friendship. Open communication, clear expectations, and unwavering support can prevent jeopardizing the bond. Financial situations are temporary, and the long-term health of the friendship is more important than a short-term fix.

My friend was left feeling hurt and isolated. The cold shoulder sent a message that their friendship was conditional, based on financial contributions. It served as a valuable lesson.

Perhaps future fundraising efforts could incorporate anonymous donation options to avoid social pressure or misunderstandings. Ultimately, true assistance goes to empathy, understanding, and offering unwavering support through life's inevitable demands.

PUBLISHED ON May 25,2024 [ VOL 25 , NO 1256]

Kidist Yidnekachew is interested in art, human nature and behaviour. She has studied psychology, journalism and communications and can be reached at (kaymina21@gmail.com)

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