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17 Things You'll Only Understand If You're The "Poor Friend"

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That feel when you can't afford anything your friends want to do is THE WORST.

Being broke is hard enough without having to worry about whether or not other people "get it." If you're lucky, your friends are in the same boat, or at least they're empathetic. If you're not so lucky, you wind up acting as class ambassador to your clueless rich friends.

Here are some struggles you'll only understand if you're the "poor one" in your friend group.

1. Traveling isn’t something you can just do.

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While the rest of your friends are jetting off on international adventures, you’re at home, working at your minimum wage job and trying to make sure you have the cash to pay your rent. Your wealthier friends might not get why you can’t just drop everything because they asked, and having to explain it can be a huge pain.

2. Yeah, actually, that is your only pair of dress shoes.

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Yes, they’re off brand. Yes, they’re going to fall apart in six months. Who cares—they’re all you could afford.

3. No, you didn’t see that movie.

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Going to a movie theater can cost up to $20, so you’re not going to waste your hard-earned money unless it’s a movie you really care about…or you’re going with a date who will pick up the tab.

4. Eating healthy isn’t as easy as people think.

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Yes, you could spend $3.99 on a bag of lettuce and make a lettuce-only salad. You could also buy a full meal for $3.99 at McDonalds. Sometimes, you gotta make compromises you’d rather not make, and you don’t need your friends criticizing you for it.

5. You DO want to pay your own way.

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When you’re the poor friend, your friends might offer to pay for you when you go out together. This can be super generous and lovely, but sometimes it just makes you feel bad. When you can, you’d rather pay your own way.

6. Sometimes, you need to talk about it.

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Yes, talking about money is a social taboo, but you know what sucks? Constantly worrying about something that impacts every aspect of your life, and then not being able to vent to your friends.

7. You DO want to be invited out.

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While you probably can’t afford to go out to karaoke night, you still want to be asked. Maybe you lucked into a few extra hours at work and you can swing it this time, and even if you can’t, you still want to know that your friends are thinking of you. When they never invite you anywhere because they assume you can’t afford it, it kind of hurts.

8. But you want your friends to sometimes take your cashflow situation into account when making plans.

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Not everything you do as friends has to cost a million dollars. The point is that you’re spending time together, right?

9. They can also ask you. Because you definitely do know how to make plans on the cheap.

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When you’re poor, you learn pretty quickly how to have fun without spending money. You know which museums have free hours, when ladies night is as the local bar, and how to get the best deals on Groupon. If your friends don’t want to spend a lot of money, they can, and should, come to you.

10. You know all the cheap restaurants.

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No way are you cooking every meal you make—you don’t have time, because you’re probably working ridiculous hours just to make ends meet. So, you know where to get amazing dumplings for a dollar and a full bowl of soup for $5.

11. You deserve simple pleasures even if you can’t always afford them.

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Some people will give you hell for getting coffee on your way to work, as if you don’t deserve any indulgences or happiness in your already difficult life. Ignore those people, and just keep doing your thing.

12. You’re sick of “advice” from people who have never been there.

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If there were an easy way to raise your class status, you’d have done it already. Your friends, well-meaning though they might be, probably don’t have any advice that you haven’t heard a million times already.

13. Being poor can turn you into a hoarder.

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When it’s not a given that you’ll be able to replace your winter coat, you will hold onto that thing until it falls apart. When you’re poor, you might find yourself having a hard time throwing stuff out, even when it needs to go. Your friends might think that’s weird, but that’s on them.

14. Sometimes you have to choose which bill you’re going to pay.

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You might get weird looks when you explain that you’re not paying your student loans this month because it’s either that or pay your phone bill, but it’s the truth.

15. You can’t always just “go to the doctor.”

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It doesn’t matter if you’re sneezing your face off and hacking up a lung, or just got hit by a car, you’re not going to the doctor unless you’re actually dying. Why? Because your health insurance either doesn’t exist, or doesn’t cover the visit! (Note: This is more of an American women thing…)

16. You sometimes feel guilty when your friends get you expensive gifts.

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This can be a problem when the holidays roll around. You buy the best gifts you can afford, but what you can afford has its limits. While you might appreciate your generous friends whose “best gifts they can afford” are a lot better, you’re definitely feeling some guilt, too.

17. Some of your dreams might be out of reach…for now.

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You might not be able to take that trip, or get that degree, or make that career change, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck here forever. Whether your friends know it or not, you’re going places, baby!


SHARE your thoughts on being the poor friend!

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