Having friends is good for our mental wellbeing because nobody can walk this life journey alone, and no man is an island but having toxic friends is never a good thing.
When we talk about toxic friends, the first thing that comes to mind is usually emotions and communication. While those things are important factors to look out for, financial abuse can also plague a friendship and could ruin your finances.
Here’s a list of the types of financially toxic friends that can have a bad impact on your finances:
The borrower is that friend who is always borrowing from you. The fact that they borrow from you is usually not the problem; the problem lies in the fact that they do not pay you back. A friend that borrows and never pays you back is not good for you. They believe that is all you are good for. They are always in need of urgent £20 and often come up with excuses like ‘my dad is ill, my mom is poorly, my rent is due, I cannot raise my school fees. I do not know what to do”.
Most times, once they can get the money from you, they move on and stop keeping in touch. If you try to get the money back, they get upset, switch it up for you, and make you feel like a terrible person.
Learn to walk away from lending these toxic friends your money. Learn to say NO for your sake and the sake of the friendship. The next time the borrower shows up to ask for you for that urgent £20, simply say NO.
You do not need to give reasons for turning them down. If you find saying no becoming more difficult for you, you need to reduce your contact with that friend.
These set of toxic friends only remember you when they need something like when they need somebody to sign for them, to vouch for them, to borrow the money, to drive them to the airport, or to escort them somewhere. They are users.
You only see or hear from them whenever they need your help. Users are bad for your finances because what they ask you to do will usually cost you your money or time. They don’t give anything in return in terms of emotional support.
These friends don’t encourage or inspire you or add any value to you. They take value from you instead. Time is money. So if that friend is taking your time and your money, they are toxic for your finances. You need to resolve that user relationship.
The enabling friend reminds you of the YOLO life. They keep reminding you that you only live once. Whenever you want to go on a holiday you cannot afford the encourage you to go ahead. They may offer to borrow you some money to book a first-class ticket or suggest expensive dates.
They invite you to music shows and push you to buy VIP tickets. Even though you cannot afford it, they force you to follow them to places that would make you spend more than you can afford. Instead of advising you to manage the little you have, they encourage you to lavish it on frivolities.
They tell you to live your life and forget about saving up for a pension. That friend is an enabler enabling you to have poor financial habits and walk away from financial freedom. You may find it difficult to let them go because you love their optimistic spirit, but they are bad for your finances. If they do not discourage your bad financial decisions, they need to go!
THE PRESSURE COOKER
These toxic friends always put you under unnecessary pressure. They are always bragging about their financial success without any motive to inspire you. They make it look like they are doing better than you. Infact, they do not stop boasting about their achievements.
This kind of toxic friends buy their designer goods and rush over to your house to show them off. They keep chasing you, keep you on your toes in a way that is not good for your mental wellbeing. Because you are under pressure, you may start making decisions that are not beneficial to your finances. You begin to borrow money to send your wife to Spain for holidays you cannot afford.
You find yourself buying designer goods that you do not need because they keep reminding you that the Michael Kors you are using is not for your level, and you should start buying Balenciaga instead. It’s time to identify them and avoid them.
THE FINANCIAL BULLY
They are the advanced version of the pressure cooker. The financial bullies not only show off to you, but they also actively bully you and make you feel ashamed of the fact that you do not have as much as they do. Some do not even have more than you, but they aim to drag you down. They keep saying they expect more from you.
These are the friends that pass demeaning comments like “you call yourself a Ph.D. holder, but you do not even have a house”.
They are the ones who bully you into living above your means. They look down on your small wins and disdain your little achievements. Financial bullies will sarcastically remind you of your age and what they think you should be achieving. They emotionally stress you and make you feel less of yourself. They put you in a corner and make you believe your finances are poor. Even if your finances are not as great as they should be, a good friend should encourage you and not make you feel bad about your financial state.
These are friends who want to know everything about your finances. They want to know how much you bought your car, sofa, dresses. They want to know how much you earn, how much you pay for your children’s school fees, how much you spent on your last vacation. Oftentimes, they want to know about your finances because they are comparing you with themselves.
The busybody friend never minds their business. They not only grade you in their mind, but they also analyze how they can use you and gossip about you. They are also capable of creating awkward situations for you while you end up having to lie about the things you own.
Each time you tell them the prices of the items you own, they never have any positive comment to give. They leave you second-guessing your spending such that when you want to make a purchase, the busybody friend comes to your mind, and you will begin to reason the best answer for them.
You can deal with these kinds of friends by learning not to talk about your purchases. If they reference it, walk away from that conversation. Change the topic.
The one-upper friend is the one that wants to be a step ahead of you. If you tell them you earn £30,000, they start looking for a job that will pay them £35000. Once you buy a brand new car, they start thinking of how to buy theirs.
If you tell them you are going to the Maldives on holiday, they start to plan their vacation to Seychelles. They compete with you in their minds and aim to get you to join their competition. The moment you get into that one-upping competition with them, you will spend money you do not have and become unhappy with what you have. You will find yourself constantly trying to do more.
You should know that these friends have no peace because they are busy competing and chasing a mirage while trying to stay ahead of you. The moment you fall into that competition with them, you will lose your peace because you are trying to be better. These friends are bad for your finances, and you need to do away with them.
Money is not the only way to measure friendship, but friends who associate your identity with your income or possessions are not good for your financial wellbeing. Learn to curtail the impact these toxic friendships are having on your finances so that they can stop slowing down your journey to financial freedom so that you can bulletproof your life in peace.
Till next time.