I sometimes find it difficult to say no when a friend asks me to do something that I can’t really afford. As I pointed out in a previous post I have no problems saying “no” to co-workers and their endless lunches, cards, gifts, and baked goods (sometimes I fail at baked goods). For friends I have a weak spot, after all they want to spend time with me, how can I turn that down?
A friend wanted me to go with her Sunday to a card making class. The store is about an hour’s drive because my city can’t seem to support a specialty scrapbook store. I thought about it for all of five seconds, one second devoted to how much it would cost for the class ($15), gas ($12 est), dinner ($20 est), and of course shopping temptation ($20+), for a total of $57+! One second was all it took to make the decision of a resounding NO. The other four seconds were taken up with how to explain my decision. Some people only need the answer, others need the why behind the answer if it isn’t the one they wanted to hear. I know this particular friend would probably respond to my financial explanation with “I’m sure you can find the money, somehow.”
Sadly, I admit, if the roles were reversed a few year ago, I probably would have thought the same thing. I wouldn’t have said it, but I know I thought it plenty of times in the past when a friend said they couldn’t afford something. My thoughts were always “well, just put it on a card, that’s what I do”. I also fully admit to thinking bad thoughts when someone would decline going out for an evening because they couldn’t afford it then show up with a new iPod.
The thing is, every one’s priorities are not the same. I have no intention of spending $57 for one evening of card making, but I could show off my new iPod the next day. I’ve probably been saving money for months to buy an iPod, because I prefer to spend my money on little electronic devices than card making. We don’t know other people’s priorities unless we ask them.
Unfortunately, I did not use the financial excuse, I used a time excuse. Which by the way was perfectly valid, I really didn’t have time to spend half my Sunday doing this. They have the same class next month too, so I know she’ll ask again. I have a month to evaluate whether I want to go and save the money or tell her “no” with an explanation, because I am saving for a small electronic device. I’ve wanted a new digital camera for sometime and think by September I can purchase the one I want with cash.
And to everyone I’ve ever had those thoughts about when they said they couldn’t afford it, you don’t know who you are, I apologize!