Dear Miss A,
A group of close girlfriends and I had planned a spring get-a-way. I had a
medical emergency come up the week before the trip and had to cancel on the
girls’ trip. This medical situation was very personal and traumatic for me
and required minor out-patient surgery. My girlfriends were all informed of
this and appeared quiet sympathetic, even sending me flowers from their trip
the day of my surgery, calling me and offering to make me dinners.
I had already paid the deposit for our accomodations and for my plane ticket and did not request that money back when the emergency arose. Today, I get an
email from the friend who organized the group asking for my monetary contribution to the trip, a few hundred dollars. I was quite stunned, especially what I have gone through emotionally the past three weeks and that this woman is one of my supposedly closest friends. What made it worse was that the email below her request outlined the cost of the trip for the women who attended the trip and my cost was the same!
Considering I didn’t attend the trip due to a medical reason, I’m at a lost how to respond. Not only that, but I am very hurt that money would play a factor when I am undergoing a very emotional time in my life. To top it off, my husband has been out of work since December and these girls all know that our budget is tight. My “friend” did note that she didn’t charge me for the rental car. How gracious of her! How should I respond tactfully? I’m seriously reconsidering how good of friends these girls are with me. I am especially upset since none of them, to my knowledge, have any financial issues and appear to be relatively well-off in these difficult times.
What would you do? My husband advised to pay the requested amount and not fall prey to their pettiness but I am extremely hurt.
Dear Some friends,
I’m sorry to hear this. Not only are you dealing with the stress of your medical situation, but you’re also dealing with tension with your friends. I hope that everything went ok with your surgery. While I can understand your frustration at having to pay the unexpected expenses associated with your medical situation, and having to pay the full amount for a trip you didn’t get to take, I do think that it is fair. Your friends sent you flowers, offered to bring you home-cooked meals, and called to check on you. Sure, it would have made your life easier had they suggested to cover the cost of your plane ticket and accomodations, but they didn’t. And they didn’t have to. They owe you their friendship – not their excess cash.
It sounds to me as if your financial and medical worries have brought out the fact that you are a bit envious of your girlfriends. This is normal. Life isn’t fair, and it’s hard to be around people who don’t seem to be living in the reality that you are facing. They probably don’t have a clue what it’s like to worry about money — or at least not to the extent that you and your husband worry. It’s hard when you are no longer in the same financial situation as your friends. As much as we don’t want to admit it, it does make a difference and puts a strain on the relationship. It’s not that we want to “keep up with the Jones’s”, we just want to continue hanging out with them and being their friend. It’s hard to do that when you are in different places money-wise.
They may also not fully comprehend the stress of your medical scare. Most of us take our health for granted right up until we no longer have it. All I can suggest is that you pay the money you owe, consider buying trip insurance next time you book a vacation, and try to look on the bright side and see that your friends have been thoughtful. They sound like pretty good friends to me.
I hope this helps!
– Miss A