Carolyn Hax: Friend inherits too much for some friendships to bear – Lifotravel

Adapted from an online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: I recently inherited some money, enough to allow me to quit my job and buy a new car. Nothing flashy, just a nice, reliable vehicle. I’m now focused on doing some creative work that I’ve long wanted to do.

Some of my friends are jealous. Most of them don’t say anything about it to me directly, though one or two of them occasionally make snarky comments: “Well, if you can afford that kind of thing, fine.” I think in one case it has caused enough resentment that the friendship is not going to survive.

I try not to be obnoxious about it. I listen to my friends complain about their jobs and their bosses, I’m sympathetic. I try to share my good fortune when I can, such as by inviting my friends to stay with me at a vacation rental and so on.

Am I doing something wrong? What can I do to keep people from being resentful that I no longer must work?

Heir: My answer will cost you $25,000.

Just do the non-obnoxious things you’re already doing. I’m happy for you, and I’m sorry some of your friends are being small about your largesse. Keep being the best friend you can, and hope they eventually get over themselves.

Re: Heir: This question hit a nerve, because I’m in the middle of the end of a friendship of my own due to my jealousy over her money situation. I don’t know how to not be this way. Yes, I realize money can’t buy happiness or good health, but I also know all the reasons that’s just a platitude and, in fact, having access to basic resources DOES promote both happiness and health.

There is also the fact that my friend readily makes moral judgments without considering the role of finances — e.g., I work for an evil for-profit company, so I might be a bad person, even though I have rent to pay and she doesn’t. I don’t want this to be happening to our friendship, but it is. Is there a way to avoid it if I ever find myself close to someone with a lot of money again?

— The Money-Jealous Friend

The Money-Jealous Friend: No, because this isn’t about money. I thought it was going to be from the way you started, but then you got to the truth, and it was about something else: a friend who is killing your friendship with her smug, obtuse, judgy pronouncements. That problem can be money-adjacent, but it’s not a money problem per se.

So, to avoid this problem in the future, choose people with some humility and social sense. Sometimes it’s too late; we acquire people long before we see all their true colors. But at least we can try for character and hope for the best.

Re: Heir: Being a real friend means doing what’s within your power to keep the air clear between you, which may entail, “Does it feel like I’m gloating about my situation?” or, “You’ve made similar comments a few times. What’s goin’ on? How is my situation impacting you?”

Anonymous: Good point, thanks. Also useful: “Is there something you want to say?”

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