Search icon


27th Mar 2024

‘The reality of being the poorer friend in your group’

Kat O'Connor

I am the ‘poorer’ friend and sometimes I hate it

Do you remember that episode of Friends where the gang goes for dinner, but Phoebe, Joey, and Rachel are frustrated because it’s another pricey location?

Ross, Monica, and Chandler are wealthier than their friends, something many of us are familiar with. They’ve got more money so they can afford to dine in nicer places, but fail to realise the pressure this puts on Rachel, Joey, and Phoebe.

In the episode, the conversation about money causes a slight rift between the group, especially when one half believes they should split the bill.

But is it really fair on those who haven’t had the same food or half as much drink?

Joey tells Monica, Ross, and Chandler: “We three feel that sometimes you guys don’t get that we don’t have as much money as you.”

Instead of listening to their friends and being empathetic, the others get defensive about their finances. Chandler stresses: “I’m sorry we make more money than you, but we’re not gonna feel guilty about it. We work really hard for it.”

And there’s no doubt they work hard for it and deserve it, but you can feel proud of your career and finances but also understand that not everyone is in the same boat.

Especially in your friendship group.

Rachel, Joey, and Phoebe work hard too but they simply don’t earn as much as their friends do. It’s a normal part of life and something we all see in our own friendship groups.

In real life, I’m on Rachel, Joey, and Phoebe’s side

Unlike some of my friends, I live pay cheque to pay cheque and currently can’t afford to rent never mind buy a house.

As I’ve entered my late twenties, I’ve noticed a shift in my life compared to my peers, but it’s completely natural.

However, you often find yourself doubting your life and wondering if you’re less worthy because you don’t earn as much.

Like Rachel, Joey, and Phoebe, there are often times I struggle to keep up with my friends who have wealthier lifestyles.

I don’t relate to conversations about mortgages, finding the right solicitor, or booking trips to America, but I still care. However, it’s the hours or days after these conversations that the comparisons start to seep in and self-doubt runs rampant.

Have I failed because I don’t own a home? Am I less than because I don’t earn as much money as my friends? Definitely not, but it’s hard not to let those thoughts get to you.

We all have different careers, different incomes, and different financial situations. They don’t define who we are or make any of us more important than the other, but they can impact your self-worth a little bit.

Like Rachel, Joey, and Phoebe, I often feel like my financial situation makes me less worthy than my friends, but nobody is judging you over that.

Being honest with our friends about our finances is one thing that can make things feel a little less stressful, but know you’re not alone if you also view yourself as the ‘poorer’ friend.