Advice: Are you finding it hard to get on with a materialistic friend?

Do you find it hard to relate to a friend who seems driven by money? It can be hard when we lose the connection we once had with our friends, but are there ways in which you can re-kindle your friendship that don't cost anything? Here our agony aunt Mary Fenwick gives advice to a reader who is struggling to talk to an old friend...


Advice: Are you finding it hard to get on with a materialistic friend?

Reader’s dilemma: “I’ve lost connection with my materialistic friend”

My friend is driven by money and, the last time I saw her, I couldn’t relate to anything she was saying. To be honest, I feel quite judgmental towards her. But she is also sweet and I don’t want to hurt her by rejecting her.  I am godmother to her son. I only see her twice a year, so should I just keep going?

Mary’s advice: What could you do to be the most fabulous godmother ever? I’m suggesting this because it doesn’t count as friendship to be bored, say nothing, go away and complain to other people, then turn up to be bored again and repeat the whole cycle. On the other hand, there’s a new person in this relationship, and you have a licence to create more fun. Could you focus on your godson, with non-materialistic gifts, such as your willingness to help him turn a cardboard box into a den, bake a cake or roll down a grassy hill?

I’ve been reading about the importance of unstructured play for children and it made me realise that even Lego comes with instructions now, rather than a collection of bricks and an invitation to build something and worry about what it is later. That’s almost a metaphor for what I’m suggesting – keep turning up and allow for possibilities. For example, perhaps your friend has a secret worry and is distracting herself by talking about fluff because she no longer knows you well enough to confide in you. If you arrive and play with your godson, you might find a way to ask her gently: ‘I don’t remember you caring this much about material things – what am I missing?’

Mary Fenwick is a writer, speaker and executive coach; she’s also a mother, divorcée and widow. Follow Mary on Twitter @MJFenwick. Got a question for Mary? Email, with ‘MARY’ in the subject line.

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