Friday, February 5, 2010

To spill or not to spill, that is the question

One of the problems that I struggle with is how much to tell my friends about what is going on with us financially.  Let's face it, there's a lot of shame in insolvency.

I love and trust my friends and my family, and sometimes I would like to unburden myself and let people know how hard this all is.

But it creates a weird dynamic. People who love us want to fix things. So they end up offering to help, financially.

Don't get me wrong--We need the financial help. But then I start to feel like if I'm honest about our financial woes it looks like I'm asking for money. And frankly, money does weird things to relationships.

Last week, I had dinner with one of my dearest friends. She knows we've been in trouble, and she asked how it's going. And I said things were better (like we aren't getting thrown out of our house, and the IRS isn't taking my whole paycheck) but not great (we don't ever see an end of debt in sight.) I was describing how we had been able to get the kids back into a limited number of extracurricular activities by applying for financial aid. And then right there in the restaurant, she whipped out her checkbook and wrote a check to cover our half of the kids' music lessons this semester. (It was a lot of money.)

Well, I've been wondering where we were going to come up with this money. And here it is. And that was so generous of my friend I started to cry right then and there.

But now I feel like maybe I should have just kept my mouth shut. She's got kids of her own, college educations to save for, car payments to make. I need the money. But does this change our friendship?  It's not a loan. There's no way I can anticipate when I could even begin to pay her back.

Is it strange to feel so weird about something that she clearly did out of love and compassion?

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