Yinka* (27), the subject of this week’s Sunken Ships, reduced her friend group from four to three girls, after cutting one off for constantly feeling entitled to their money and trying to garner pity by emphasising how much less than them she earned.
Talk to me
Yinka: I once cut off a friend because she was broke.
Yinka: When I say it like that it sounds terrible, but it was more than that. She was very annoying because she was broke.
Yinka: So we’re a group of four babes who went to the same university. Me and Uche were roommates in 2015, so we knew each other longer. The third, Toyin, was a coursemate of mine I got close to later that year, and the fourth, Halima, we met at a party in 2016. It’s been the four of us since then.
We made promises to each other that we’d always stay in touch. We envisioned a life that allowed us to travel and wear expensive clothes like the girls we saw in magazines. It’s not like it was impossible. All of us came from middle class families so the plan was to build on what we already have.
How did that work out?
Yinka: Not so well in the beginning. We left school in 2017, and it was bad job after bad job for all of us. Add in some failed businesses and investments and it was a disaster. Life was hitting us back-to- back.
Yinka: Things didn’t start looking up until the middle of 2018. I got a new job and so did Halima. Uche decided that a 9-5 wasn’t for her and started her own business, and Toyin got a promotion at her job. It was great.
What made it so great?
Yinka: We could finally do some of the things we’d planned to do since we were in university. We started going to parties together and buying tables, planning vacations within Nigeria and having movie nights in our houses. It wasn’t big things, but it was great.
We also got to show up for each other in better ways. We’d give each other expensive bags and household items for birthdays and other important dates. I loved how our sisterhood improved when we had money.
But nobody sounds broke here
Yinka: That’s the thing. Being broke is a state of mind for some people, and Toyin was one of such people. As the years went on, we started making even more money. We really poured a lot of what we had into our work and it showed great results. However, since all fingers aren’t equal, some people earned more than others. As at 2021, Toyin earned the least.
We never brought up it, but she did. Constantly. We’d go out for dinner and Toyin would automatically declare that we shouldn’t expect anything from her since we’re the rich ones. It was ridiculous because someone would’ve already said the meal was on them before we even went to the restaurant.
Other times, it’s when we wanted to contribute money for a gift for one of us. She would start complaining that we’re giving gifts that are too expensive. She’d borrow money from us and never pay back, collect all our expensive items and never replace them. We didn’t understand what was going on.
What if she was struggling?
Yinka: We asked her about work and even offered help on many occasions, but she just acted weird about it. It almost always ended up in an argument where she hinted we were calling her poor.
We once gifted her six months rent so she could at least save the rent money for something else. But throughout that period, she still made weird jokes about how much less she earned and stuff. I started to think she preferred that both her money and ours was spent on her alone. But it’s not how friendship works.
Did you ever talk to her about it?
Yinka: I did towards the end of 2021. My other friends are very soft people. I’m the more direct one about things like this, maybe because I’m an aries. I pulled her aside once and told her the jokes were weird. It’s not like she even earned much less than we did. It was just a small margin, but she kept trying to make it as though she were dirt poor.
What happened next?
Yinka: She flared up and told me I was wicked. This led to her kind of withdrawing from the group and I just stopped talking to her completely. We still talk to her as a group, buy her gifts, send her flowers and stuff, but for me to text her personally? Not at all.
Her attitude to earning less was the problem. We didn’t mind giving. She just seemed too entitled to it.