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This is Britney. She’s a lucky person – she comes from a very wealthy family. But she’s not here to boast. Unfortunately, everyone has their problems, and hers are no less significant than anyone else’s. Her biggest problem is finding friends, and this is the reason why.
Britney doesn’t think that she’s arrogant, or a snob, or whatever it is that people think about kids from rich families. Her dad is a very simple person, a self-made-man, and he wants his children to work their own way through life too. That doesn’t mean that they have strict limitations on using money – his belief is that they need to invest their time and effort in studying, and should work like everyone else who is not as lucky as they are. That’s why they have always lived a pretty simple life – not in some mansion, but in an ordinary house. Their dad also insisted that they go to an ordinary school, not some fancy private one.
When Britney was a child, she didn’t even notice the difference between herself and other children. They all shared the same studies and hobbies. She’s a very sociable person, so she didn’t have problems finding friends. But when she became a teenager and went to high school, she noticed that things had changed. Everyone was divided into groups and ranks – it was not just one big group of children anymore. She didn’t like the idea of classifying people, but you have to adapt in order to enjoy life.
Since she is quite easy-going, she ended up in the “celeb” group. This wasn’t her goal, of course, but she was at a new school and she just wanted to make friends. They came to her and proposed that she hang out with them – why would she say no? They seemed like really nice people. They chatted a lot about designer clothes and gadgets, and all the other things that are trendy nowadays. This was when she found out that they had somehow already learned about who she was and what family she was from – and Britney began to have doubts. She’s not a fool, and she understands that sometimes people can be guided by self-interest when choosing friends.
She started watching her new friends attentively. Her dad had taught her that you should always check people out before trusting them, even if she had never been in a situation where she’d been right to mistrust people before. But everything seemed okay. It was quite a large group of people – there were eight of them – and they all had different backgrounds. They were regular people with different personalities – that’s ok then, she thought. They spent a lot of time together, and met outside school as well, and as time passed she didn’t notice any particular interest in her family’s wealth.
When things started changing, she didn’t even notice at first. From time to time when they went out, one or two of her friends asked her to pay for their movie tickets or a coffee, and promised to give back the money. They never gave it back, and she thought it was a bit petty to remind them. Then...their ‘appetites’ started growing. Sometimes they asked her to pay for a round of bowling or a coffee for everyone. She didn’t think it was fair, but they were her friends and she thought it was shameful to quarrel over money. Britney became irritated by the situation, and started thinking: “What if they made friends with me only because of my money? What if they don’t even really like me?”
At some point, thinking these kinds of thoughts over again and again leads you to paranoia. She wanted to check if they really liked just her money or her. She already had trust issues, and thought that it would be better to be alone than with friends like that. So one day she met up with them and pretended to be all sad, saying that they had financial problems at home – that her dad had lost his business and that he had cut her pocket money drastically. She saw them exchange glances but they didn’t say anything. Everything continued as normal and she had already begun to calm down, but when they decided to go to the cinema, she asked someone to pay for her. “I’m broke”, she said, “sorry guys, I’ll give it back as soon as I can”. They exchanged glances again. Then one of her supposed friends said: “Look, we’re not as rich as you are and we can’t sponsor you, sorry. Maybe it’d be better if you go another time”.
That was it. Now she knew! How could she even think that someone could be disinterested in her family’s money! She was staring at their backs as they were walking away feeling so disappointed, and she didn’t notice that Lea was still standing by her side. She asked if Britney needed help. “Do you need to talk? I understand it can be hard”. She offered to pay for her as they went to get a coffee. She thanked Lea from the bottom of her heart, because she had restored her faith in people. They’ve been best friends ever since, and she never went back to the ‘celeb’ group.