Let’s face it. Navigating money with family and friends can be awkward — even awful. That’s because money is about all kinds of currency, and, often, about the inequality that shadows it…It’s the currency of who has and who has-not; about power, privilege, options and opportunity, as well as it’s opposites. Still, even while we may have had to learn the hard way how to manage our money responsibly, we may still find the downward pull of financially less-responsible relatives and friends. Here, then, is how to set healthy boundaries when you need some space from those who may be taxing you financially.
Why money complicates relationships
This gets even messier when the person seeking the cash is notoriously bad with money, for whatever reason, be it lack of financial literacy, addiction (shopping or otherwise), or anything else. Or, alternately, the person who has the money is perceived by family to have come to it through no merit of their own, such as privilege or luck. (See? We said it was complicated.)
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Why setting boundaries is important
People’s relationships with money and debt are personal and subjective, and each person’s comfort with these varies. It’s OK to honour your comfort here.
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Feel out the situation
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Communicate your money values and goals
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Anticipate the loaded times of the year
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Be blunt if you have to be
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You may even feel that you’ll lose the relationship unless you comply with their demands. Still, it warrants stating that if this is what breaks the relationship, it’s likely that its foundation was based on the dynamic of lose-win...in their favour. And is that really fair over the long-run? Lastly, you can only control your own emotions, the rest is on them and their own work.
Add a buffer
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If you want to give, gift don’t lend
Offer other ways to be supportive
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