From buying a joint birthday present to splitting the bill for dinner, friends and finances are often intertwined in a way that’s hard to separate.
Now a new study has revealed just how much of an impact that money can really have on a relationship – and the shocking divide it can cause between even the closest of companions.
The research, conducted by independent survey facilitator Vivatic on behalf of Expert Market, showed a clear ‘friendship wealth gap’ – confirming that a staggering 39 per cent of richer friends confess to letting a friendship go when ‘their lifestyles became incompatible due to earnings’.
More than two thirds of those who classed themselves as the higher earners in their friendship groups said that their money brought them confidence, while 36 per cent confessed to feeling ‘smug’ about being in a better financial position. 46 per cent added that they try to intentionally spend time with those who earn a similar amount.
At the other end of the spectrum, the lower earners appeared to pick up on these attitudes, as 64 per cent confirmed that their lack of money caused them stress, and 49 per cent had had to turn down plans for fear that they wouldn’t be able to afford them.
37 per cent admitted that they’d left a gathering before it was ‘their round’, because they knew the bill would be too high for them to foot.
Hannah Whitfield, who lead the research, commented on the findings: ‘Our study shows that money, or the lack thereof, is a key factor in friendship groups and that people are much more likely to pal up with people on a similar wage bracket.
‘Money matters can make for uncomfortable situations when splitting bills or planning a holiday with friends and it seems people on both sides of the spectrum would rather avoid the issue and choose to hang out with people with a similar income.
‘It would be nice to think that strong friendships transcend material things, but what you earn does appear to be a huge factor that can make or break a friendship.’
However, the study also demonstrated that factors including political beliefs, where you live, and your family situation can affect your friendships too – so even if you and your BFF are on different budgets, there’s still hope for you yet.