During my partying days I bought many friends. These friends I would spend every waking moment with. Looking back at it, I can see they weren't friends. I bought their friendship.
They became my hostages. Whether it cost me a case of beer, or a bottle of whiskey, or an ounce of pot, or a gram of coke... I knew how to attract and keep friends. A little party and a lot of money.
I mention this little bit of my past because I know some people who still live like this. I'm not talking alcohol or drugs... rather parties involving food... dinner parties. Their friend has them over for a nice barbecue and instead of just accepting it as something friends do for each other, they feel obligated to pay back with an equally nice barbecue.
They go to a barbecue that had potato chips, hot dogs, and cheeseburgers. He can't have a party that is the same, his needs to be grander... his needs to be a party people will remember for a long time. His party has rib eye steaks, baked potatoes, and corn on the cob.
The idea of giving your friends a nice night is fine if you can afford it. Just doing it to outdo someone else doesn't bring happiness. It shows insecurity. I know that this person did not have the money to throw this simple party... the reality was that this person would have had a hard time just throwing together a hot dog barbecue.
This guy justified his barbecue by saying he could have used a credit card to pay for it and it would be even more expensive... so instead this 50 year old guy borrows money from his parents to have his party.. I use the term “borrows” loosely because I doubt this loan will ever be paid back. I mean, why pay it back? It's family right?
I share this story because this was me years ago. Nowhere in my thinking did I ever understand that I didn't need to do these things. It was OK to do without. There was nothing wrong with not having a barbecue. No one even needed to know I didn't have money... yet I always seemed to have to put on a show that was better then yours.
Bigger TV's, bigger stereos, newer cars... it was all for show. I had no money but the illusion gave me a sense of worth and part of that illusion was that I was better then you.
These thoughts of money and possessions never brought me happiness. It is an old saying but it is very true – money can't buy you happiness. Today, I do have a little money and I am happy. I don't shower friends with it, yet if someone has a legitimate need for it I will help them out.
You might think the highlight of my year is going to England... it is up there. Yet, what I enjoy just as much is being able to give money to my kids and help them and their families have a nice Christmas. And also giving money to The Salvation Army, helping an unknown family have a Christmas as well.
Don't let money own you or own your friendships. In my opinion, the best way to have money is to be humble, to have a sense of humility, and to be grateful. Because what you have today can easily be gone tomorrow...