The Relationship Between Friendship and Money | An Idea Worth Considering

We all need money to live, to survive, to purchase assets as well as goods and services. We also need money to invest, to broker deals and to transact. And yet, money, a fundamental human need and medium of exchange, inspires feelings of deep discomfort, dissatisfaction and even despair.

Why do we feel demeaned by money and all that it represents if all that it is–is a medium and a vehicle of exchange between two or more parties?

Money is a medium by which we meet another person’s needs and how we meet our own needs. When you receive payment after meeting the needs of a client, a customer or a boss; that money is a testament to having met someone else’s needs.

So if we want to make money, we need to learn to meet the needs of others.

If your life is split into two distinct areas, the work area and the social area, and these two are separated by a barrier and a boundary that is too big, too high and too difficult to cross–then the first thing you need to do is work on removing those boundaries, barriers and barricades.

In ordinary social interactions outside of work, many of us shy away from speaking about the work we do. We tell people our titles and call it a day. We never stop to think about how the work we do can meet the needs of others–particularly those who are in need.

Recently, I wrote about the people who benefited the most from the work I did when I was working in public service. These people were not my friends, but strangers whom I had never met or known.

When it comes to helping one’s friends when they are having problems with their money, their businesses, or their finances–many people shy away from helping people. The more I encountered such behaviour, the more I wondered how it is that we are willing to help strangers, but not our friends in a time of need.

On the road towards financial well-being, we need to be sensitive towards the needs of others. We want to see ourselves as good and honest people who do our best to earn our daily bread, but when our friends need us to help them–be it in kind or in cash–many of us will disappear without a trace.

The truth is that a betrayed wife, family member or friend suffers more than a fired employee. The fired employee will probably find a new and maybe even better job; but you will never recover or regain the family member or friend that you lost because you did not help them when they needed it the most.

Tua Pek Kong, the Chinese God of Prosperity, who helps those in need

Corporate culture is highly impersonal. If you are made redundant tomorrow or happen to lose your job as a result of an economic downturn, there is no need to take any of it personally. If you are a ‘good’ person, then you’re better off helping a friend or family member in need by utilising your skills, talent and expertise; than maintaining such an impersonal set of values regarding your relationship with money.

The mathematical equation is simple. You set a price for the goods and services that you wish to sell. Someone chooses to buy or doesn’t. If they do, then a sum of money has been exchanged. If they don’t, then no exchange has taken place. But if you choose specifically and categorically to stay away from any and all financial dealings with your friends, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of loneliness.

Wealth exchange is a big part of how people express their deepest emotional needs. By choosing to completely divorce the tie between money and friendship, you will have few friends, indeed…


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