You’re giving away the stuff you don’t need. You are paying off debt. You are becoming more aware of what is really essential and starting to live life on purpose.
You’ve probably realized that one of the essentials is friends. Spending time with people you love is on the top of the list. The only problem is that your friends haven’t been changing with you.
How do you spend time with the people you love as your new simple self?
Your friends haven’t changed, and you shouldn’t expect them to. You loved them before and you can still love them just the way they are. You may have to modify the way you play, but if they love you too, it’s likely that they will be open to your recommendations.
Share your new lifestyle, but don’t impose it on your friends. Tell them about your plans to pay off debt, and consume less if you’d like, but don’t expect them to embrace the simple life. They will learn from your example, not your preaching. If they need preaching, send them to me.
If your previous life of mindless consumption included expensive dinners out, trips with friends, and shopping sprees, consider these suggestions.
- Potluck Dinners. Spending hundreds on dinner, wine and a generous tip used to be fun, but now that you know what’s really important, host a dinner at your place or a barbecue in a park. Everyone brings a dish and/or beverage and you can spend more time engaging, rather than trying to get a server’s attention.
- Get Outside. Instead of meeting for lunch, coffee, or a movie, suggest a walk, hike or game of tennis. You can connect and boost your heart rate at the same time.
- Meet Up. I haven’t used this site before, but I know several people that have. You can connect with like minded people regarding specific activities.
- Other community events. You don’t have to be Italian to go to the Italian festival. Check out what’s going on in your town or city. Chances are there are festivals, free classes, and other events to take advantage of. Challenge your friends to each suggest an activity and then vote on one per month as a group.
- Movie night. A night at the movies can get pricey, so invite the gang over for movie night.
- Volunteer together. Sign up as a group to work at your local soup kitchen or other organization.
Now that you and your friends won’t be fighting over dinner bills and driving home feeling guilty that you put another $200 on your credit card, you can really get to know each other and have fun. A new lifestyle may introduce new friends, but it doesn’t mean you have to dump your BFFs.
Please share your suggestions for spending time with your less than thrifty friends. What other obstacles have you encountered with friends and family as you strive to live more simply?