How to maintain friendships frugally?

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
Workingsucks
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How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by Workingsucks »

I know with the coronavirus going around that people aren't socializing like they used to. But back when things were normal, how did you handle expenses? For example my friends like to get together and go out to eat or go to a bar to see live music. This happens at least twice a week.

I've tried to get them to have potlucks and dinners at home/hiking in the woods as alternatives. They'll settle for one of those options and then they'll be right back to insisting we go out all the time. Most people I know are like this. Should I just accept that my FI journey will be relatively friendless/ virtual friends only?

I'd love to hear how you guys have managed. :)

Frita
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Re: How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by Frita »

Some options:
1. Find new friends to replace or supplement existing friend group.
2. Start consistently planning/hosting low-cost get-togethers.
3. Develop some (more) solo activities.

theanimal
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Re: How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by theanimal »

There are other people out there who are interested in doing the same activities as you are. Frita offers very sound advice. Pursuing FI is not and should not be any reason to have zero social life or relationships. Perhaps it requires you to change or it requires you to make your values known. Plant your flag in the sand and let it wave proudly. I have friends who like to go out frequently as well and they know by now that I don't drink and often don't eat. It comes with some good hearted ribbing "want to go out to X? You don't have to get anything you can just sit there" but if the people actually care about you and want to hang out with you they won't mind why you're doing it. Give them a reason. You don't have to lie but it doesn't have to be that you're pursuing FI either. You can just be saving money, or you're trying to cut back on restaraunts, watching weight. Whatever works for you. Best of luck.

bigato
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Re: How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by bigato »

Yeah, you can be frugal and have plenty of friends too. It may take some work on finding new friends though. Over time, as you change as person, your social circle will change, people will come and go. The more time you spend with people that were a good fit yesteryear, the less time you'll have to make new friends that reflect who you are today and who you intend to be tomorrow.

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Sclass
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Re: How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by Sclass »

Don’t put a price on friendship. Just my 2 cents.

I’ve lost touch with a lot of my friends. Partly to save money but mostly because I changed the way I thought about money. Partying with them represented kind of an inconsistency. It’s easy to just drift apart if you are cheap on effort not to mention money.

And I miss hanging out with my old pals. I cannot really put a price tag on it.

All the money in the world cannot make the water flow backward up under the bridge.

Be careful about saving money at the expense of connection. One day you’ll find you grow so far apart that no amount of money will bring you back together.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

While I agree with Sclass to a degree, if all your friends do is party and dine out, then maybe your values are so missaligned that you would be better suited trying to find your own tribe.

Over the years I've made friends through various activities, but none more than through cycling/MTBing. These people just want to go for a bike ride, and maybe grab a coffee or a share a beer at the trilhead afterwards. After befriending a few, I've had them over for dinner/BBQ's and they have reciprocated. Other friends were met whilst doing other activities that I would have been doing anyway. The people I was largely friends with in HS and college are now mostly overweight shadows in the cave, sedated by HFCS and reality TV, and they love to get together on the weekends to binge drink and complain about work/their lives.

Workingsucks
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Re: How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by Workingsucks »

I think I most likely need a new friend group. Which will be interesting as I am an introvert with social anxiety. So meeting new friends isn't easy. But if it's what it takes to become FIRE, then changes need to happen. Maybe I should try to join a book club or a gardening group when things return to normal.

Frita
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Re: How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by Frita »

@Workingsucks
Such groups may be meeting virtually. (I have noted that only my more extroverted groups are not meeting. Those with mostly introverts and routine-oriented people are continuing on schedule with Zoom.) Since you are introverted with social anxiety, it might be a good way to check out groups (assuming that audio and/or video are not more stressful than live interaction).

Also, I read on your intro that you’re 24 years old. People change a lot in their twenties (probably through mid-thirties) so you may find that your current friend group does as well. (My spouse and I have always been the frugalist in our friend groups. Some have adopted some of our ways though. Those who are more materialistic eventually drifted away.)

Workingsucks
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Re: How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by Workingsucks »

Frita wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 1:21 pm
@Workingsucks
Such groups may be meeting virtually. (I have noted that only my more extroverted groups are not meeting. Those with mostly introverts and routine-oriented people are continuing on schedule with Zoom.) Since you are introverted with social anxiety, it might be a good way to check out groups (assuming that audio and/or video are not more stressful than live interaction).

Also, I read on your intro that you’re 24 years old. People change a lot in their twenties (probably through mid-thirties) so you may find that your current friend group does as well. (My spouse and I have always been the frugalist in our friend groups. Some have adopted some of our ways though. Those who are more materialistic eventually drifted away.)
I'm actually really surprised that I was able to find a new friend group these past two years. Right after high school I moved away from the area I grew up in. I didn't make any close friends until about.... 3 years later? Besides work friends. I think part of me allowed myself to become friends with people who have such different attitudes out of a sense of FOMO. Like I felt like I was wasting away my 20s and I needed a solid group of friends.


Although my friends are nice and they mean well, I can't keep up with their spending habits. I don't even like going to bars or drinking. I suppose it's time for some self reflecting. Virtual meetups would be cool as well. I just need to think about what hobbies I have and where I could find similar minded people in real life. I'm an INTJ, so I feel like I always analyze things more than the average person.

I appreciate your advice, Frita! :)

Frita
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Re: How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by Frita »

Making friends is different as we age. It does seem to get harder, doesn’t it? It sounds like you are aware and considering your options. I wish you all the best.

bigato
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Re: How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by bigato »

I find that doing the types of activities that I like the most tend to be one of the best filters for new friends. If I let my social circles grow on their own, I end up with only those people that insist in keeping in contact with me, often the more extroverted. That's not always the best fit. So I try to go against my instinct a bit and consciously make an effort to build my social circles in the directions that interest me the most. That sometimes means that I have to contact people instead of passively waiting for people to contact me.

classical_Liberal
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Re: How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by classical_Liberal »

Workingsucks wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 3:27 pm
Although my friends are nice and they mean well, I can't keep up with their spending habits. I don't even like going to bars or drinking. I suppose it's time for some self reflecting.
Just a thought here, but you may be dealing with two separate issues. But first off, I just wanna say that having a good group of friends, particularly in your 20's is really important, IMO.

Now back to the two separate issues. The first being frugal activities, the other being maybe you just don't like the same things your current group does. Each requires a different approach, because if you really don't like hanging out at bars and drinking, and this is all your group does, maybe it is the wrong group. But that doesn't mean you need to totally ditch those folks, just find another group to do other things with, and keep the party crowd for the times you feel like doing that. Even try and mix the two up and expand friendships.

OTOH, if you actually like these things and people, then I maybe you're trying to push things too far away from the fun. Instead of hiking, why not camping and drinking around a bonfire? Whatever happened to pregames? When I was a partier I found a couple of cool places near my house and invited everyone over for drinks before, then food after the bar. We walked to the bars and only spent a couple hours out of a long night there. It would have been easy to not pay for drinks during that period. It also made for some fun memories, bringing back some interesting people we met at the bar for a BBQ, or more partying, at my place.

This topic seems to come up over and over again. I'm really surprised because I've never lost a specific friend or group of friends over frugality. I mean, as I got older my tastes in friendships changed, but that had nothing to do with spending money. Even though ERE is rather new to me (5 years of so), I've had other really frugal times in my life in my 20's and 30's and never noticed this phenomenon.

horsewoman
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Re: How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by horsewoman »

@c_l you're a "people person", at least that's the vibe you give off through your writing. A lot of us here are not, and being very frugal makes connecting even harder, because it excludes you from some "normal" behaviour over which people bond. In your case this might not be such a large factor because you have other tools to bond, which we arkward ones lack.

Alcohol or drugs are such an important factor when it comes to socialising in young peoples life, if you are not participating (for what ever reason) you are out. The only time I was able to connect to a stable group of friends was while "partying hard" - as soon as I sobered up it got weird, they being high and me not. I got sober for fear of frying my brain and financial reasons, which made me boring and preachy in their eyes.

To the OP @workingsucks - I believe there is a large pressure on women to have close friends - otherwise something must be wrong with you. The lone wolf is always a guy... My husband and I are both loners, he is perfectly fine with it, I'm often not. We talk about this a lot, and he encourages me that having 2 or 3 people in my life I consider friends is plenty. And if I'm really honest with my self, it is. I like being on my own, and this FOMO of wanting to belong to a group is fed by Facebook and the WhatsApp status of people showing off how very popular they are.
but whenever I'm actually with a larger group of people, I feel out of place and their topics bore me to tears.

This is a very long way to say - what was a large problem at 22 is not much of an issue at 40.

ertyu
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Re: How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by ertyu »

Similar situation here: I am back in my home town after a significant time working abroad, and socializaiton happens over beers. Left on my own devices, I am not really a drinker, but I have gotten into going out once or twice a week. Way too large a cash outlay given how much I personally value drinking as an activity. Conversations don't get particularly good as people get drunk either: people rant, spout half-baked conspiracy theories, etc. Occasionally, having been out drinking has been useful, because these are, after all, the people whose brains I need to pick about how one lives in this town: how one looks for housing and not to get fleeced by bait-and-switch letting agents, what work opportunities there are and how much one is likely to earn pursuing them, etc. Still, there hasn't been a single morning that I've woken up thinking, gee, so glad i drank last night. Because I'm not a habitual drinker, even small amounts of alcohol (by which I mean 2-3 pints of lager) result in beer fog. Not particularly interested in building stamina either :lol:.

slsdly
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Re: How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by slsdly »

This is a bit meta but....

I wasn't born a people person. I struggled to make friends until my late 20s rolled around. Very shy. Very anxious. It would stop me from doing things I wanted to. Still there, but I manage it far better.

What changed? Hm. I got into new things. Many things. It was always gradual. But I progressively dropped layers of shame and embarrassment along the way. Now I'm eager to do something that makes me look foolish if I think it is fun.

First thing I would say, is messing up something as an adult is far less embarrassing than as a child. The people around you might tease you, but in general, I would say people are interested in teaching you if you express an interest in learning. So starting new things is far less scary. Most people I interact with have enough opportunity to acquire social status without needing to be awful to others. Humility and laughing at failure is valuable.

Once you begin to overcome that, then trying new things becomes easier. I don't mean, trying new thing as in going to some event. I mean join a club or group, which operates on a schedule. The journey to acquiring some level of mastery will lead you to meeting others at the same level. Those are great candidates for making friends. You already have a common interest, a reason to see each other regularly and you can make a somewhat informed decision over time.

Best way to promote an acquaintance to a friend is to feed them. I prefer dinner/snacks that I make myself (homemade + vegan == very cheap, in general, even if you are feeding several), followed up by a board game. 4-5 people is the best number for this strategy IMO. If you struggle with conversation, best bring along your most social friends and leverage their power of filling in the void. Everyone leaves feeling great, and it happens again.

I think it is common for many people to rely upon a small number of social organizers in their circle. If you become that organizer, then you become the one who summons friends. Then you can decide how much socialization you want :). Just don't get discouraged when every single one of them happens to be busy -- it happens, and you just try again later.

I think many people don't make new friends as they get older. This is a mistake. Don't spend down the social capital you built up as a child. As people move, change, or die, they leave gaps. You need to fill those gaps! Always easier to make friends when you have some friends already. You can introduce people to each other, and if they get along, the common bonds will help keep everyone together for a little bit longer.

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fiby41
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Re: How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by fiby41 »

It is better to leave them guessing weather you are cheap than to tell them and remove all the doubt.
Some ways to squeeze out of social obligations without sabotaging the friendship:
Agreeing when invited in front of other people but letting the person know you won't be able to make it few hours before the show up time.
Flaking unpredictably.
Keeping a tab on how much each friend is costing you.
The reason not to decline an invite in front of other people is because you send the wrong signal and others in the audience might not invite you in the future due to fear of rejection although that time or for that person you might want to go. Also the inviter might feel bad.
Reasons for declining invite after accepting:
Another pressing social obligation, something came up, perhaps next time.

ertyu
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Re: How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by ertyu »

@fiby, your method will not lead to friendship maintenance, just to slower friendship dissolution.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

^ this

Nothing worse than a flakey bullshitter.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

My childhood friendships ended like bankruptcies occur.

Slowly at first, then suddenly all at once.

I have never been able to keep a friend that required Jedi mind tricks to remain a friend.

The way you live your life is not be an indictment on how others live theirs. So expect the same from others who would be your friends.

If @Sclass’s old pals were real pals, they would not have drifted away.

I think about how the people who were supposed to be my best friends abandoned me at my time of greatest need. In that context it seems silly for having agonized (with assistance from their verbal abuse) over having not spent $100-$500 on {insert extravagant social activity} in hindsight.

7Wannabe5
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Re: How to maintain friendships frugally?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Another thing that makes this tough is that in recent times friendship is having to take on many of the responsibilities/roles/tasks previously assigned to kinship. So, for instance, instead of simply having a band of brothers/cousins, you have to make and maintain a "band of brothers" or not. The TV sitcoms "Seinfeld" and "Friends" were very much hallmarks of the beginning of this era/culture in which people started marrying much later, and having only 0,1,2, very rarely more children and not typically living very close to extended family members.

So, when I was young, my friendship circle helped me define who I was choosing to be outside of my family of origin in which I also had 3 sisters who were my friends. I have wondered if this opportunity is as available to my own kids and their peers who have to rely on friendship circles for both functions. Especially given the propensity of modern parents to involve themselves directly through the arrangement of play dates, etc.

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