I don’t know quite what it was, but she exhumed sexy. It was like her walk and mannerisms were all part of a seductive dance. Her figure was short and her lips rather thin, but her clothes tailored and designer. You didn’t have to touch her skin to know it was smoother than a feather; her hair glossed like a Mario Dedivanovic, highlighted face. My rich friends – how I wanted to emulate them.
They knew more about life
Well, at least it felt like they had a first class education. Private school or not, they knew the world and every worthwhile bar and restaurant. They understood the wine menu and spoke of beauty treatments I had no idea existed.
“He’s not very good-looking, but he has lots of money and treats me very kindly”. My ‘sexy’ friend said to me as she showed me a photo of her partner. We were heading out to London for drinks, and my 20 year-old-self was petrified of looking the part. I wore white trousers and an orange crop top.
She took me somewhere very expensive, and I painfully whispered I couldn’t afford it. “Don’t worry, I have my boyfriend’s credit card and he will pay”. It sounded wonderful. Imagine living in a beautiful London apartment, with an endless supply of money and clothes I only dreamed of owning.
Best of all, her boyfriend helped fund her business-career. Her training and courses were all included. Now, she is successful and still as glamorous as ever.
I needed to see this other side
I had rich friends and they made me ill with jealousy, whilst entertained and further ambitious. Despite my own teenage-years being lavish, and being involved with a powerful man, there’s something about rich friends which feels different.
Women compare, and throughout reading this article, maybe you’re wondering – how rich? Because I’ve seen repeatedly, friends who have 5* holidays multiple times a year, drive expensive cars and live in millionaire homes – inherited, complain the people in their lives are better off.
One in particular, moaned how her mother’s friend gave her an art job earning £100 an hour, but she expects her to sometimes work short-notice. She begrudged how this money had disappeared so quickly; how can she afford a flight to her holiday home, and then save up for her month’s worth of bikinis?
I began to see how normalcy takes over. We’re all living in luxury to someone, and living in near poverty to another. I needed to see this side; my early twenties driven self, had to know that money adds to happiness and cannot just create it.
Being around rich friends and seeing how they had what most are desperate to head towards, made me face up to my insecurities. I had to compare myself against such women, and learn to not sink into a hole which points down to failure.
Wealth represents our desire to feel desired
My father took me and my sister Christmas shopping, a month before his affair wrecked our family. Guilt must have hit him hard, because he bought my mum a Tiffany’s diamond ring, an £800 Chanel bag and her favourite perfume. Me and my sister were given Chanel earrings.
From living in a council flat, to routine trips to Selfridges, my parents worked their way up from being penniless to living a lavish middle-class life. When they had money to treat, I intoxicated a terrible ego. I flaunted my good-fortune as though I was Cher in Clueless. How I scoffed at my friends who went to Boots to buy lip gloss, when I had two of the same Armani lip glosses, so one could always be in my room, and the other in my school blazer.
Only after their divorce, when my mum became a single-parent, did I get my head out the clouds and wake-up to the brat I’d become. I don’t think wealth made me happy; it made me drown out my internal problems and boost my self-esteem to the outside.
I don’t believe those who say winning the lottery won’t change them. Money changes people in various ways. From those who worked hard to finally afford what they want, to those who feel confident when they can let others know their stuff is expensive.
Rich friends taught me all kinds of wealth
From a money point of view, rich friends taught me how income can affect relationships. They taught me to see how I’d want to live and how I’d want to spend. From an internal side, my rich friends made me want to live wealthy. They made me want to act more confident, flaunt more glamour. They made me want to travel and see myself as naturally powerful.
According to The Independent, “rich people choose their friends differently”. They look for those who they admire. Regardless of my salary, I was poor inside. I was taking on friends who I easily felt comfortable with, but who didn’t add anything wonderful to my life. They weren’t loyal or trustworthy or positive. Some were poor even when rich.
What took me a while to grasp – rich friends don’t always have money, but they should always enrich your life in some way.
How would you describe your friendship group? Do you friends vary in their different lifestyles? Would you struggle to find common ground with someone wealthier than you?