A couple of months ago, Jennifer Derrick contributed an excellent article When Invitations Become Money Grabs. That article resonated with many readers and there was a lot of fruitful discussion on the subject. I also spent a lot of time considering the article and how my wife and I have handled the cost of being social. More specifically, I considered how my wife and I have saved money by being anti-social.
My wife and I are extreme homebodies. I work at home and have worked at home for the past decade. My wife left a successful law practice almost ten years ago to stay at home and be a full time mom and wife. My boys and I would definitely agree that the past decade with my wife at home has been great and I am pretty sure that my wife is usually happy that I am always at home (and I know when I need to hide and give her space if I suspect she wishes I worked in an office)
When my wife and I were first married, we had many friends and we went to many social events. We dined out several days per week, went to dinner parties, gave dinner parties and went to shows. We also burned a tremendous amount of money in the process. Moreover, we found that we were always tired, rarely have enough time for each other and we were not having fun with our active social life.
When we moved to our current community, we decided to avoid social obligations to the extent possible. Although our neighbors invited us to events and we met people through our church and our sons’ schools and sporting activities, we politely turned down just about every invitation that we received. No more dinners out with other couples. No more shows. No more dinner parties. We truly focused on family and events that our whole family could enjoy.
Our neighbors and acquaintances still like us, and they know that we are good conversationalists when we talk across the hedge or in the bleachers as we watch a high school sporting event, but they also have figured out that if they invite us to a social event, we will likely decline. They have accepted us that way and do not seem to bear us any ill will because of it.
My wife and I have saved hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of dollars per year by being anti-social. We can relax knowing that we own our weekends and our evenings. We do not have to worry about shelling out money that we do not want to spend at dinner or having a reciprocal obligation to invite someone over to dinner. If we are going to spend money on dinner, our kids can enjoy it with us. If we are going to spend money on a party, we can make it an extra special birthday celebration for our kids. If we are going out to lunch without our kids, we can enjoy our own company and the break that we are able to take from our day to day grind.
I would not have it any other way!
What do you think? Do you need to have friends to share your experiences or are you content with your significant other? Do you find the need for friends began to get weaker after you were married? If you are single, do you see yourself growing distant from your friends after you marry? How much do you spend each month by being social?