When Friends Ask the Money Question (And What to Definitely Not Do)
Three routes you shouldn’t take when your friends ask the money question
You love them, but sometimes your friends ask inane questions, like, “How much money are you making?”
Let’s face it. Recently, you were all racing to get to class on time; now you’re in the workforce – Adultland – and for some, this means the starting gun has fired and the race to riches is on.
You may be stuffing your pockets. You may be earning just enough to pay rent. The truth is, you don’t have to admit your pay to anyone – except for your spouse, or prying mother (seriously, Mom, I’m fine). And you shouldn’t feel obligated to admit what you’re making to anybody, even if the ones asking are your closest buds.
Here are three routes that you shouldn’t take when your friends ask the money question.
1. DO NOT exaggerate your salary.
You’re a bad liar. And plus, your friends will start asking you to buy them drinks.
2. DO NOT get defensive.
Four-time slam poet champion Taylor Mali can get defensive about what he makes, but you’re not Taylor Mali. (Unless you are Taylor Mali, in which case, hi, Taylor. Thanks for reading.)
3. DO NOT awkwardly change the subject without addressing the question.
Did you think he wouldn’t notice you ignored his inquiry? Now you’re both staring out the window, hoping the painter next door falls off his ladder so you can talk about him.
Some people may think salary isn’t a sensitive issue at all – I’d guess, mostly those without student loans and financial independence.
The question, when asked by friends, does come off as one-dimensional and tiresomely comparative. They’re wondering where they stand in the race that you’re not competing in.
It is absolutely possible that your friends are wondering what you earn because they’re interested in finding work in your field and are hoping to anticipate an approximate salary. If you’re not sure, ask why they want to know and then give a range – or a bop to the nose, depending on their answer.
I certainly am not advocating that you should avoid talking about money in general with those who you are close with. Actually, you should be talking honestly with your family about your financial standing.
But should you feel obligated to answer the money question from curious friends? No. I’d rather stare in silence at the neighbor’s painter, hoping he falls off his ladder.
Monster Wants to Know: How have you handled the money question with your friends? Share with us in the comment section.