Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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November 26, 2012

Friends and money: Hanging onto both of them is hard

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2. If someone needs an expensive gift to be your friend, they are not actually your friend.

I felt sorry for Michael Jackson. He was a star from early childhood and never got to meet normal people. He was always surrounded by a large entourage, but always had to pay for them to go places. Or pay them a salary.

I have friends in all walks of life. Some possess genius level IQs and some don’t. Some are multi-millionaires and some have to save up to go to lunch at a fast food restaurant. The key is that, for whatever reason, we enjoy each other’s company.

It can be tough for people with money to make friends. Money as a measure of control makes it tempting for wealthy people to “buy” people to hang out with.

On the other hand, if you have to buy your friends, you are getting what you pay for.

3. If you like hanging out with wealthy people, pick up the check when you dine with them.

My father made good money, but when he died in 1993, he was not a man of great wealth. The average net worth of his pallbearers went well into the millions. Dad’s close friend, Hall of Fame disc jockey Jim LaBarbara, said that “Big Joe McNay was bigger than life. He was friends with everyone from (Johnny) Bench and Pete (Rose) to the big politicians. I think he introduced me to half the people in town (Cincinnati), everyone seemed to like him.”

Dad was always the first to grab a check and never forgot his friends’ birthdays. Many people expect to be “treated” when they are dining with a wealthy person. I’ve actually seen people order the most expensive things on a menu when they think someone with more income is paying. It’s amazing how some can have “short arm disease” when the check arrives.

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