Welcome to “Ask Ada,” a weekly series in which we answer all those burning questions you’d rather not share aloud. Buckle up for some brutally honest advice!
My friend of over 15 years recently got married, and homeboy hit the $$$ jackpot. He and I were on similar trajectories (college-educated, good jobs) but his husband is as rich as a lesser Kardashian, and now, my friend is turning into a snob.
No wine is good enough, and all he seems to talk about is custom-made this, and flown-in-from-Italy that. We used to just hang out and have a good time, but now I feel like he just wants to preen about his new money and judge.
I’m at a loss. Am I allowed to say something about my friend’s new attitude?
Or should I keep my thoughts to myself and just let my buddy enjoy his husband’s money?
$17 wine is fine
Hi there, $17 wine is fine,
Here’s what you should know about money: When you go from not having any to suddenly not worrying about anything, it can mess with your head. I witnessed this happen in my family (progressively, not overnight) and I can tell you, it’s a little like having two people inside of you. One is the self that used to be poor, who is used to burying their dreams. The other is that self that is unearthing those dreams now that they are feasible.
In short, I understand where your friend is coming from.
With that said, you guys were on a good trajectory anyway. It’s reasonable to say that you would have gotten to this place in due time. But I think it’s fair to say that your friend’s meteoric rise in fortune has thrown some truths into stark relief for you. Maybe you need to evaluate what you personally value more: Your friend’s company or your comfort.
Fact: Hanging out with someone who’s a snob about everything is pretty expensive.
You may not be able to keep up with your friend anymore if every hangout turns into a wallet-measuring contest. You may decide that you simply can’t afford to keep this friendship and let it go anyway.
Another fact: The reason that your friend grates on you now is bigger than the money.
If I had to guess, I’d say that you’re annoyed because the status-signalling and wealth-flaunting just doesn’t sit comfortably with you and your values. You say that you feel like all your friend wants to do is preen and judge, but you’d be amazed by how many people would be fine with friends like that. Syncopaths are never in short supply.You find them around the rich and powerful because they think the relationship will eventually benefit them.
You don’t think of your friends as a return-on-investment, which is probably why this one’s snobbery and preening is getting you down.
To answer your question, you can absolutely tell your friend that he’s not fun to hang out with anymore. But before you do that, one thing that might help you is if you sit with your feelings for a bit and decide for yourself what matters to you. I guarantee that your friend’s response will not sound pleasant, so you will need your own inner values to help you survive the conversation and aftermath.
Here’s one final consideration: Carbon footprints are proportionate to the size of your own personal wealth. The ultra-rich have a lot of responsibility attached to their fortunes, so maybe your friend’s behaviour is grating on you for more reasons than you may think.
Sit with the feelings. Talk to him. Tell him it’s hard to keep up with him.
Maybe he’ll surprise you.
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