MM’s Money

September 15, 2008

Reduced Circumstances – Still Partying!

Filed under: Uncategorized — mmsmoney @ 12:00 am

SingleMa over at Fabulous Financials wrote a compelling post this past weekend – from a reader’s question about comparing people’s reactions to lifestyle changes/financial struggles. Head on over & check it out! My comment:

That’s the thing – our perceptions are based on US not them – and you can never know all about the circumstances of another family. When my DH’s income went south, we made lots of changes in our lifestyle, but we didn’t stint on certain areas – because those were and are part of who we are!

Example – we LOVE to have people over the house to socialize, break bread and have a beverage or two. And comparably to the Family A’s party, we changed from providing ALL the steaks, sides & beverages to ask our friends to pitch in – we provide the main course and people bring a bottle of wine and salad/bread/etc. And most were HAPPY to be asked to bring something.

Some might think that’s crass (at that point it’s less a dinner party and more a communal meal), but the community and enjoying time with friends was too important to sacrafice even if we couldn’t live up to our prior ‘generosity.’ Of course that generosity had been financed with BAD DEBT and I’m dealing with that now! And just FYI – the ‘friends’ that resent this reduction in our hosting are the same ones who never reciprocated with invitations, either – strange how that works!

Moving on…it is hard to resist the temptation to judge, thanks for addressing the issue!

I still find peoples’ reactions to the change kinda funny – there were people who in the past, when we did tell them, “Just bring yourself,” that would always show up with a bottle in hand to share and another to leave behind as a hostess gift. Then there were those who would say, “you’re sure you wanna host – let’s do it at our place so I can clean up afterwards!” And someone else would bring a gorgeous gourmet salad that they had spent time, love & dollars putting together – and they’d make sure to tell me well in advance that it was already done, they were gonna bring it and I shouldn’t make a salad, ’cause they got it covered. And I love that – these are the greatest friends – generous in return. So the first time I said, “We’re grilling killer pork chop, but I don’t have anything to go with” these were the ones that jumped right in and said, no prob – I’ll bring the salad, I’ll bring the taters, I’ve got a couple of bottles of red that would go so well with that – I’ll bring those! And they were the ones who had invited us over to their homes, too. And my buddy – a long-time friend of DH’s – who’se been unemployed for 6 mos and has NO money – he’s the one that always helped load the dishwasher and made sure to be there to help with the grill and setting up – making his contribution the way he can (and we feed him often and ask him to dinner even when it’s not a ‘party,’ Lil One LOVES her honorary uncle and it’s just as easy to cook for 3 as 2 – as I’ve said before).

Then there were others that had the uncanny knack of arriving for the party just as dinner was hitting the table and making a quick departure as I started clearing the table. That when asked over knowing we were providing the main dish and maybe they could contribute, would bring a can of green beans from the cupboard and expect me to cook them! Thanks for pitching in! (I know – that’s me being judgy, too). Strange how you get to know the differences between friends when the money stops flowing out!

I know people have different feelings about entertaining and having people in their homes – I have one friend who is paralyzed with fear that her house isn’t clean when people come over. So she never invites people over – ever. I’ve known her and her husband for 6 years, they are regular fixtures at our house for dinner, and I’ve never seen their house. And that’s fine – she knows she has a problem and she would rather bring a fantastic homemade dessert and help me clean up afterwards than reciprocate. So in her mind, it evens out – and it sure does – can that lady BAKE!  (aside – I’m pretty sure it’s an OCD thing, I know she takes the meds for it).  So again – some stuff I can understand, but others – like the lady who will send her hubbie over early in the party and have him call her when stuff comes off the grill so she can show up with her can o’beans just as dinner is served? That I can’t understand and I don’t let her attitude affect me! She’s the one with the issues!

People are different – and people’s reactions to changes are different, too. We’re thankful we’re blessed with some really cool friends and we’re still enjoying them, even if we’re not throwing down $200 bucks per weekend to entertain them.

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