When Friends Want Validation of Their Spending Choices

It’s well known where I work and in my circle of acquaintances that I am, shall we say, financially conservative. I don’t blow money for fun and everyone knows that about me. So it never ceases to amaze me the number of people who still ask me out to pricey restaurants for lunch, or to go shopping with them at the designer stores after work, or to go to the movies every weekend, or out to nightclubs. I used to think it was because they genuinely wanted my company, and maybe they do. But lately I’ve come to the conclusion that what they may really want is my validation of their spending choices.

I tend to be the only non-spender in a very spendy group of people. (Where I li


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12 Responses to When Friends Want Validation of Their Spending Choices

  1. whitestripe says:

    i get that too with a friend, but she asks me along because she genuinely does want my company – we have discussed it numerous times. maybe these people do want your company too.

  2. ThiNg says:

    You might be missing a big reason, they get to live vicariously through your purchases. When I have the shopping bug, and don’t want to spend, I’ll go shopping with friends and help them spend their money. I get the fun of shopping, and haggling, but no guilt afterwards.

    It’s possible that you broke friends want you to spend so that they can get the same feeling?

  3. Carol says:

    I think that misery loves company! They’re trying to bring you down to their level, because they can’t seem to make the responsible choices to bring themselves up to your level. When I shop with people who like to spend, I will pick up things and then put them back before we pay/leave. They’ll ask why, and I’ll say “oh, I wasn’t in love with it after all” and that always seems to be enough. I enjoy the shopping, not the purchasing.

  4. typome says:

    I think you may be over-thinking this one a bit. Maybe they’re inviting you to fancy restaurants and shopping trips because that’s all they know about, and not because they need you to validate their spending. What do you expect them to invite you to– to shop at garage sales? It just isn’t their thing, so of course they’ll only do activities they’re familiar with.

  5. Henry says:

    Great pop-psychology insights. It bugs me no end when richer friends invite me to a place that is enormously expensive. It almost seems like they’re not friends at all – as if they don’t get my financial situation or, worse, are being faintly sadistic. But it happens a fair amount.

  6. Candice says:

    With all the knowlege you have about financial stability and how well you are doing, it would be good to pass that knowlege along to your acquaintances. Maybe it will help them just as sites like this are helping many people who use to be just like your acquaintances.

  7. Michael Harr says:

    I wonder if you could take this policy of non-involvement in a different direction. What if instead of declining invitation that you set the agenda for the group by selecting the after work locale or the restaurants to dine at? You could give them a good sampling of being frugal by changing their paradigm ever so slightly. I know many people that will go to the trendy restaurant or nightclub and pay full price. However, a meal that is as good or better can be had at 60% less using restaurant.com or getting some drinks after work can be had at some places with $1 drafts/$1.25 longnecks/$1.50 well drinks instead of the $3 draft/$3.50 longnecks/$5 well drinks. Perhaps you could use your influence to show them ways to enjoy the lifestyle (that they’re not likely to give up anytime soon…at least until their credit cards stop working) they want, but at a significantly reduced cost. In my experience, spendies don’t really alter their lifestyle until life smacks them in the face, but some subtle changes can bring them closer to a sustainable lifestyle.

    Great topic.

  8. Bill McCollam says:

    Oh just like bring the teetotaller to the bar or the priest to the massage parlour… it’s more fun when you can get others to succumb.

  9. Diane says:

    Whatever their reasons, you’re doing the right thing to stick to your principles.

    It’s tough to work with people who have different values, but it seems you could find some friends with interests similar to yours by trying different groups or activities.

    I’d have a tough time if all my friends wanted to do was spend money. My closer friends are similar to me in terms of spending/saving, but I do have to deal with groups at my son’s school & his soccer team that are more wealthy and free spending.

    The other choice would be to invite them to do something cheaper… maybe some would enjoy it!

  10. eh438 says:

    With respect, you say “no” to yourself to unnecessary spending. Why not just give yourself permission to say the same “no” — with a polite “but thank you for thinking of me” tacked on? No need to overthink or re-explain anything. Over and over, they’re behaving in a courteous way (even if they don’t truly mean it — that’s a part of what good manners are). Surely it isn’t difficult for you to respond in kind. Thank you for permitting me to add my one cent. (I save the other.)

  11. manojar says:

    What you said is 100% true – in my case, it was my cousin and his brother-in-law who were prodding me to spend, and i held close.. I stopped talking financial matter or going shopping with them, except under the condition “that that person, their their money” :-)

  12. Rachel says:

    I totally agree with what you’re saying and have seen it in my own life with my own friends. I think you’re dead on about the validation thing. Maybe not with everyone but I know a few people in my life who DO that for sure.

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