This last week I was e-mailing with one of my friends whom I have mentioned before on this blog as one of those whom my husband and I have not had a ton of success in being transparent about our financial situation. We just haven’t had a lot of those conversations and it has been tense any time we start to approach it, so we’ve just kind of glossed over it.
Well, in last week’s message, she mentioned that she had an argument with her mother about her (my friend’s) debt. She hadn’t told her parents about how much debt she was in (sound familiar?), so when she “dropped the bomb,” her mother was in shock and said she was hurt to be lied to.
There are quite a few interesting aspects of this:
- those of us who are in debt choose who we tell and who we don’t tell for a number of reasons – it may be to “save face” or because we don’t want to worry them, or, to quote my friend “my financial debt is really my business, and if I so choose not to share, so be it.” And the truth is that we are generally in so much pain with the burden of our debt that we probably aren’t as focused on the pain that others might feel about being left out of the loop.
- this is the first time that we (my husband and I) had been informed that she was having any issues, even though she knew about our struggle. We’re not hurt, but we do find it ironic that we could have had a two-way partnership on this journey that we’ve been on the for the last year.
- even in telling us, there are no details, only a request for information about how we were able to negotiate lower interest rates (I don’t think she’ll be pleased to learn that she’ll most likely have to close her accounts to make that happen at this point).
As my husband and I went through this same scenario last year (although my mother responded much differently), we have the greatest of empathy for her situation. But we are also saddened by this cultural thing that keeps those of us with the “dirty secret” of debt from talking to one another.
We’re all so scared of judgement from other people and that they will stop being our friends if they “know the truth,” when in fact, our lack of transparency does a great job of cutting us off from authentic relationships all on its own.