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Maintaining your friendships when you’re in debt

When you’re trying to cut back on your spending, it’s almost inevitable that your social life might take a bit of a knock. You may be embarrassed about confiding in your friends about money worries, or, in more normal times, feel bad turning down their invites to events.

We don’t want to see your friendships or relationships suffer while you’re dealing with debt, as having that support is really important to your wellbeing.

The good news is it’s possible to keep your friendships strong, even if times are a little tougher than usual.

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Feeling shame or regret over money or debt is worryingly common. It can be an exhausting burden to carry around, especially if you’re doing it alone.

By recognising that you have a debt problem and looking for help to deal with it, you’ve already taken the first step. Be proud of yourself. Try not to feel ashamed or embarrassed about the situation.

If your mood is affected by financial stress, your close friends and family will probably sense that something’s wrong. You may be tempted to keep them at a distance rather than tell them what you’re dealing with, but try not to.

Instead of making excuses, explain to them that you’re worried about money. You never know, they may also be going through a tough time financially. Supporting each other is definitely better than struggling on alone.

Be open and honest about your situation

Consider confiding in one of your friends who’s likely to be sympathetic to your worries.

You don’t need to tell them everything you owe, just explain to them that things are tough right now but you’re taking control of your situation.

Most people will have been affected by debt in some way, whether they’re dealing with it themselves or someone they know is.

Make it clear to your friend that despite your cut-backs and possible mood changes, they’re a big priority and you still want to have them in your life.

Make an extra effort to keep in touch

Keeping in touch with loved ones can be difficult when you're feeling stressed or worried, and this can cause problems in relationships. Explaining your situation so people understand how you're feeling can really help.

If you don't feel much like talking, try setting aside some time every few days to reply to messages and let people know you're ok. Making the extra effort to keep in touch can actually help you feel better, as you don't have the added guilt on top of your money worries.

Focus on the friends who understand

You may find that when you’re honest about your situation, not everyone in your friendship group understands.

Try to focus on the friends who are empathetic. Those that may have been in a similar situation, may be best placed to understand what you're going through.

Remember, money worries and debt stress are more common that you realise and many people suffer in silence. By talking about your situation, you could help others to open up about their money worries too.

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