When we sit down with our friends to have those “girl-talks” after a long week of obligations, topics like accomplishments at work, life advances, relationship advice, and the latest current events always go around the table like appetizer trays. Yet, when it’s time to discuss money with our gal pals—the uncomfortable sound of long sips on drinks with too much ice in them overpowers the silence. We get it; talking about finances can be like a wax—slow, awkward, and painful. If you approach the conversation in the right way and headspace, it can make a difference in how the touchy topic of money is received.
Create a safe space
Getting as personal as financial status with your girls comes with years of friendship built on trust and genuine support. A huge reason that keeps us so reserved about bringing up the elephant in the room is because we think it’ll bring jealousy or unnecessary tension. To prevent this feeling, don’t converse about cash with a freshly-made friend. You haven’t had the time to create that safe space with the confidence to have no room for jealousy and the love to support each other’s financial successes. When you have this space, no one feels threatened to keep up with anyone else’s money and no one is stuck comparing whose financial heel is higher. Making room for a comfortable environment is a must in discussing anything important with your girlfriends.
What to discuss
After creating a safe space, there are still things to avoid when talking money with your friends. Here’s an unspoken rule for many silent reasons: stay away from salaries! This is a topic so controversial that even some married couples tend to steer clear of it. While you may have innocent intentions in bringing it up, there is always the chance that it could turn into something ugly—no matter how close you may be.
When attempting to approach debt, do it unconventionally. Rather than putting the question that no one wants to answer in the air, ask friends how, or if they’ve been trying to save money lately. While we’re on the topic of saving, don’t be afraid to respectfully share with your friends that you feel like pinching your pennies more these days. When they suggest trying out a new restaurant that will have you eating more carbs than you can afford, let them know that the last thing you want to do is give up a great meal with your girls because it costs too much. They’ll understand where you’re coming from, and if they don’t–they aren’t the best match for you or your pockets.
Empathy is the best policy
Try your best not to judge anyone’s financial situation. The fastest way to turn a discussion into a disagreement is to make someone feel threatened when talking about their financial situations. Remember that this is reality and every situation is not your own. A lot of individuals come into these conversations feeling vulnerable and to attack their willingness to be open and honest is immature and disrespectful. Be there for your girls when they’re going through the good and the bad, because that’s what a strong friendship is all about!
Now that you have these tips, use them to the best of your ability the next time money is on your mind when you’re around your girls. Don’t forget to create a safe space, remember what to discuss, and that empathy is the best policy in order to curate a healthy discussion on finances with your friends.