It’s Research Wednesday! Where I share the latest, or most fascinating, in the science of friendship.
“A new survey from CouponCabin.com revealed that nearly 20 percent of U.S. adults spend an average of $500 or more on gifts for friends in a typical year. In addition, nearly one-third of adults spend more money on their friends than their friends spend on them.” (“How Much Does Friendship Cost?”; LiveScience.com 7/18/2012)
Five hundred dollars in gifts seems a bit extreme, no? Or maybe I’m just a crappy gift giver. I’ve spent that much on weddings over the course of a year for sure (collectively, not on an individual wedding gift, obvs), but just regular birthday or thinking-of-you gifts? No. Does that mean I’m one of those people whose friends are spending more money on her than she in on them? Ugh. Another thing to worry about.
Oh, wait. Weddings count. Phew. Because they seem to be my largest financial investment lately. Finds CouponCabin: “Weddings are one area in particular that can cost friends a fortune, according to the study. Sixteen percent of those surveyed anticipate spending more than $100 for friends’ weddings this year, on purchases like gifts, travel, parties and new clothing, with 7 percent shelling out more than $500.”
And there’s more: “More than one in five has felt pressured to keep up with friends on how much they spend on dining out, fashion and homes, while 20 percent have had a ‘friend breakup’ over a money dispute.”
This is the worst. But I believe it. Keeping up friendships is costly– dinners out, mani-pedis, movies. These things aren’t free. Now add in this “keeping up with the Joneses” type of pressure. The idea that one might feel they need to measure up to friends regarding what they spend on their home? That’s crazytown. No wonder it has led to breakups. Who can handle that kind of pressure?
There’s a silver lining people. “Rather than money, the study found that the most important part of friendship is quality time spent together. Thirty-five percent said they spend more than 15 hours a month with friends, with just 7 percent not spending any time with them.” Time trumps cash! A free walk along the lakefront is just as valuable as a pricey dinner at the latest five-star restaurant. Remember that the next time you feel the need to buy a Michael Kors purse on a girl shopping outing just to keep up.
What do you think? Does that $500 number seem high, or accurate? Ever ended up friendship over financial differences?