An embarrassing situation
Published 1:34 pm Monday, February 7, 2022
Dear Aunty Pam,
I’ve been in an embarrassing situation the last year in that I lost my job, was out of work, and have just got a new job but am horribly in debt. I’m glad to have this new job but it doesn’t pay as well and I’m barely able to pay rent and make the bare minimum payments on the credit cards I lived on while I was unemployed.
I have friends who know I was out of work and I know they mean well, but they are always trying to get me to go out with them, whether it’s to meet at the local BBQ place in our town or go have a beer. It’s embarrassing to have to always be making up excuses, but the fact is, I cannot even afford a single beer. Lunch or dinner is out of the question. I’m basically living on oatmeal and rice and beans. I also don’t want them paying for me, that’s even more embarrassing.
What can I say to them when they say, “Oh, come on, you can come out for just a beer!”
Time for some simple truth towards your friends, says Aunty Pam. On one hand, it’s admirable that they want to include you and perhaps it’s simply their blundering way to want to let you know that. On the other hand, yes, it does tend to amplify that you’re broke and struggling, especially if you feel as though you’re not being heard. And yet, when you’re this broke and depressed, social outings can be really helpful. There’s nothing worse than looking at 4 walls and feeling them closing in because you can’t afford to leave them for a few hours. Sorry—I know I’m all over the place on this, but I’m not a therapist. But I have certainly been there, as have many.
So perhaps an email to them all that simply says, “You guys, I just want you to know that it means a lot to me that you try to include me in all your outings. I really appreciate it and miss you all. But the truth is I am really trying to stay disciplined and get out from under the debt accrued from last year, and so even a single beer or meal out is not in the budget. I’ve also got too much pride to want to be a freeloader. Until I get back on my feet, I’ll be happy to hangout in other ways and really look forward to when I can have everybody come to my place for beer and pizza!”
For sure this should get the point across and I will say this—more than likely one of them, out of concern, is going to push to allow them to pick up the tab for a beer out “just once.” And, Pockets, if they do, let them. I KNOW that hurts your pride but we’re talking, what, 5 bucks? They’re good friends, right? Wouldn’t you do that for any one of them if you could? A beer out with good friends and good laughs are a healing balm for the soul. Take a big, fat bite of humble pie and go out—besides, it tastes better than rice and beans.