27 Responses to “How to Get Simple When Your Friends Are Not”


Read below or add a comment...

  1. I love this! Instead of going out for lunch a few weekends ago, I made lunch for my 2 girlfriends at my house – and we had a much more relaxing time sitting on the patio, enjoying our food, and chatting :) Next time, the potluck would be even better!

  2. DanaK

    We do potlucks & dinners at our house & our friends’ homes quite often. We were doing this before kids but now that most of us have kids, it’s an even better option.

  3. I love hosting game nights! Cards, board games…whatever everyone feels like playing. Asking everyone to bring snacks to share means we all get to try something new.

  4. some great ideas here. I’ve definately found it hard to balance my simplier way of life with the expectations of my friends. However one of my friends and I have started to met up for walks rather than for lunch, coffee etc. it’s lovely relaxing, cheap and healthy way to meet up especially as I have an eleven month old who much prefers to sit in the buggy taking in the scenery than being strapped in a high chair in a restaurant or cafe while my friend and I try to have a chat.

    • Courtney Carver

      Emma, I agree that meeting for a walk is a great idea. Lighter on the body and the wallet. I just popped over to your blog and your little boy is adorable.

  5. Colleen

    I LOVE this. Even though most of NY friends aren’t on the same bath as I am, we’re all trying to spend less, so these ideas are great! Makes me want to have people over sooner.

    My current challenge is that I have one friend who, although he knows what I’m trying to do, makes comments about how people who say they don’t want to be so materialistic/ don’t want to buy, buy, buy/ want step off the traditional work your way up the corporate ladder are essentially doing that to mask their own shortcomings/failures. Advice, short if completely writing him off?

    • Jamie

      Well some people go out and hit retail therapy to masks problems as well so that is a weak argument and not very friendly. People put each other in a box and you’re stepping out of the box they have thought of as you, their problem not yours. Chin up and move forward with your plan with or with out them. Good luck.

    • Courtney Carver

      Just let him know most are trying to step off the hamster wheel. Instead of working hard to make more to consume more, you want to work less, make less, have less and experience more actual living.

      Not sure if he’s invited to your first get together! ;)

    • Colleen,

      Have you tried having an open conversation with him, letting him know that he hurt your feelings? Sometimes something as simple as telling a friend how you feel can open up a new world of understanding. Perhaps he’s feeling nervous that your new lifestyle is taking you away from him. A good talk has the chance of clearing things up between the two of you.

      On the flip side if I had a friend who persisted in saying things like that (shortcomings/failures) I’d have a heart to heart and if that didn’t work I’d start to distance myself from him. Life is too short to have unfriendly friends! Good luck with that situation.

    • Karen T.

      My mother has basically said the same thing to me, which is hurtful, but I don’t want to write her off. Jamie, if I delivered your message (about retail therapy masking problems) that might hit home — which would probably cause her to write ME off for a while! I think I’ll try Tanja’s idea of an honest heart-to-heart, but I’m not sure how that will be received. As you can probably tell, my relationship with my mother is not all I might wish it to be. If the difference wasn’t minimalism/materialism, she would find something else to criticize. While it’s true that unsupportive people can interfere with the life you truly value and desire, sometimes you don’t want to walk away from them. I will still live according to my values and beliefs, and I will try to remain gracious, non-preachy, and non-retaliative when my mother makes her digs.

  6. Colleen

    Wow… Autocorrect. My friends aren’t on the same path as I am.

  7. I lov ethese ideas! Thank you.

  8. Well this one made me think. One of my goals is to live simply but i find myself caught up in the madness of life time and time again. If I had to explain what goals/rules are for my simply life to my BFF i’m not sure what i would say!

  9. I don’t like to eat out, so when I meet friends there I usually tell them “I already ate at home” or have an appetizer or so. So far nobody has said anything – after all, why should you eat if you aren’t hungry? I just order a beer or a coke.

  10. Courtney, I love the way you mentioned “get outside” as an alternative. Some of my absolute best times with people have been going on a hike, going to a lake or creek for a casual day of swimming, or just sitting around at a park gabbing.

    The one idea I’ll add to your list is having a backyard fire party. Just a little fire pit set up in a backyard, a bottle of wine (o.k. maybe a few bottles of wine), and some potluck finger food. Those have been my absolute favorite parties. Nothing formal, just sitting around talking and laughing! Lucky for me, most of my friends were much less consumer-oriented than I was (ie, a bunch of hippies), so I didn’t have to face much of a challenge in this department!

  11. “Preach the good news always, and when absolutely necessary use words.” I’m moving toward a personal intervention with myself: I call it “listen, dummy.” The world is pulsing with beautiful rhythms, stories, abstract beats, and beautiful faces.

    Radical listening is my new MO for socializing. I am tired of my own thoughts. I realized my friend, EH, is this amazing natural storyteller. I’m a lit/media teacher, and I am humbled by her. She throws herself into life and has a storyworthy day, everyday.

    Her secret? She listens intensely to life, then chooses marvelous things to say.

    A group of expat educators, we don’t have a lot of ways to spend money: game nights, storytelling, “family dinners” (potlucks), “poor but snappy” traveling in Latin Am. We carve out tribes and live a little more paleo…

    It’s wonderful, really.

    Thanks Courtney. It’s been far too long since I stopped by for a listen,

  12. These are great ideas – and eco-friendly too. Recently, I took a bicycle ride to the beach on a date with my boyfriend. In our Singaporean lingo, it was “cheap and good”. We had a very good time and managed to get some fresh air and exercise too!

  13. Amen to the article. I am on a similar path and we are lucky to have a few friends that share similar views so it is a great support system and sounding board. As for our other friends, they are tolerant which is fine – everyone makes their own decisions… and eventually they will see the light!

  14. Kim

    This really resonates with me. My husband and I have always been frugal but now we are consciously making an effort to get rid of all of our things as well as save money. We are quitting our jobs and traveling the world in 2012. Anyway, all of our friends know that this is our goal and while many are supportive, I do find that there are a few friends we just don’t connect with as much anymore. I don’t think it’s because they mind doing things other than eating expensive dinners out, etc. but because they take our new level of frugalness as an attack on their lifestyle. Really, I think it makes them question their own priorities and, finding discomfort in that, they distance themselves from us.

  15. Majeeda Rosa

    I get together with a few friends each month for an old fashioned crafting bee! Knitting, quilting, jewelry making – whatever it may be – we’ll work on our projects around the table, laughing and chatting about anything that comes up. Small owned are available and folks stay for a few hours and leave when they’re ready, open house style. Very gratifying and projects get completed!

  16. Myra

    The things you mention here are great ideas and I have tried them. They worked very well for me for a while, but the different and changing agendas between my friends and I created an insurmountable distance between us it seems. I finally found peace and pure happiness since embracing minimalism in every aspect of my life. I don’t regret it and I see what few real friends I had, but I do feel sad sometimes that I can’t share my happiness with the people once so close to me. Now I am making more conscious efforts to meet more like minded people and I am confident that I will. Thanks for writing about the subject–it doesn’t make me feel so silly for wondering what went wrong. :)

  17. This made me chuckle a little bit because I had a purging garage sale this weekend – and my girlfriends were my biggest customers! :-)

please comment