Money and the Law of Association
Three days ago, I discovered I had run out of groceries and toilet supplies and I decided to make a quick trip to the supermarket nearby. I was strolling along the food section when I stumbled upon two well-dressed women engaging in an intense conversation. I don't like to eavesdrop on other peoples' conversations but they were talking quite loudly and I couldn't help but hear what their conversation was about.
One of the ladies was struggling to pay her numerous bills and the other was trying to help the first understand that she was living beyond her means. The first lady then replied in the line of, "Ah, I have to represent o. I can't be looking all ratchet and poor. People are looking at me in my social class and I have to measure up o." That was the last line of their conversation I heard before they moved away from my aisle, and it got me asking myself questions.
Why are we as humans so bothered about impressions and perceptions?
Why do humans lie and pretend to be what they're not?
Why are humans more concerned about looking good than actually being good?
What do they ultimately gain from putting up this façade?
My reflections throughout my time at the supermarket and right, until I returned home, led me to one conclusion: Friendships. You may not realise how impactful the people you spend your time with, have conversations with, and share your life struggles with can be on your lifestyle choices. For the lady in this story who was struggling financially, I could deduce that she was surrounded by the wrong people and it influenced her priorities.
You may not realise how impactful the people you spend your time with, have conversations with, and share your life struggles with can be on your lifestyle choices.
These are the three ways your relationships, associations, and friendships can affect you:
1) Your Career
Do you know how many researches have shown the link between the kind of friends you keep and the lifestyle choices you make? It is a given that if you have friends that are motivated and ambitious in their careers, it is more likely to rub off on you. Likewise, it is a reality that if you have friends that are lackadaisical towards their personal and career growth, the chances that you might also turn out that way is very high. It's expected that we all want to be accepted in our social groups. Sometimes this might lead to restraining or encouraging our career aspirations to fit into the general energy in that group. If you want to start making waves in your career, audit your inner circle.
2) Your Expenses
"Ah, I have to represent oo. I can't be looking all ratchet and poor. People are looking at me in my social class and I have to measure up o."
It is obvious that for the woman in the story struggling financially, her expenses were largely determined by the need to measure up to a certain status. If you live your life according to the standards people set for you, you may not last long. You will keep on rolling in debts and accumulating problems. Try and think of the last major expense you made. Did you solicit the opinions of your friends? How critical were their opinions in influencing that purchase? This little experiment only goes to show how far our friends influence our expenses. If you are often trying to keep up with friends that are all about the enjoyment lifestyle (and nothing more), it will wreck your bank account. These kinds of friends will negatively affect your finances because they will keep you spending money, even money that you don’t have. This will subsequently affect how much you have left to cater to important life issues.
If you live your life according to the standards people set for you, you may not last long. You will keep on rolling in debts and accumulating problems.
3) Your Savings and Investments
It is a reality that many people don't know how to plan ahead. Some of the friends you're moving with life from one debt to another. They're always spending beyond their income and naturally, they borrow to sustain their lifestyle. One thing you have to note about saving money is that it is closely related to your expenses. The less you need to spend, the more you will have available to save. You will find savings easier if you and your friends share a similar vision on living modestly and saving generously. There are friends that while you’re thinking and talking about investing, all they're fixated on is new ways to spend their money.
To wrap this up, there are good friends and there are bad friends. Some friendships take away from you while some friendships add to your life. This also applies to the partnerships you make in life; who you marry, who you do business with, and who you trust with your retirement funds. I advise you to choose wisely today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Emmanuel Olabode is a writer, actor, and filmmaker. He is the Founder/Creative Director of The OYA Company, a media and entertainment company that produces original content across digital, film, TV, radio, and social media. In 2017, he worked as a Digital Media Consultant to the Chief Press Secretary under Governor Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Edo State. Emmanuel's writing credits include several articles for Business Day, OYA Magazine, and YNaija.