I often see tweets of guys complaining about WhatsApp groups and honestly, I am pretty certain that most if not all of us find them unnecessary and tedious. You’ve probably had a long day, your boss has had a nasty attitude towards everybody in the office and after beating the unforgiving Nairobi traffic, you just want to be a potato and laugh at memes.
Once you turn your data or your Wifi on however, you immediately regret having a smartphone and convince yourself that having a kabambe is seemingly not that bad. More than a hundred unread messages (on a good day) staring at you with greedy eyes from a group chat where you barely know anyone.
Your friend is almost popping a bundle of joy and her friends that you’ve never met have decided to organize a surprise baby shower. You love the idea, but you are really trying to get a grip on your meagre earnings, even going to the extent of skipping lunch at the office so that you have enough to survive.
You could probably sacrifice and contribute a thousand bob but that’s it. Perusing the messages, however, you realize that the standards have been set and you are in no capability of meeting them. Where on earth are you going to get 3,000? You already have Tala, Branch and Fuliza on your neck. And that’s not it. An argument has already ensued. “Let’s have a red velvet cake,” says one faceless group admin. ” I have a friend who makes the best cinnamon cupcakes in town!” interjects another.
This debate continues into the night, dress codes and other ambiguous ideas being tossed recklessly. “The deadline is this weekend. Remember this is your friend and we just want to support her.”
You are in maybe five such groups twice every year. You probably recently quit your job or got dismissed. You have no source of income. How are you supposed to foot all those bills? Friendships in Nairobi have become quite expensive. You will not go through a fortnight without an invite to someone’s event. Popping champagne at high-end clubs as they snap and stunt for social media has become the gospel. Guys want to maintain a certain lifestyle, throwing exuberant parties and expecting their friends to throw money at their expenses like confetti.
Avoiding friends with expectations higher than the heavens from you is the best decision for you. Do not let your worth be measured by your pockets and how much MPESA you can send. These fundraiser drives camouflaged as WhatsApp groups have become a nuisance. Bills won’t pay themselves and you should never sacrifice your needs just to be part of a ‘luxurious’ squad. If your friends do not understand that you can only do so much, throw the whole friendship away. You are doing yourself a favour.
This is not Hollywood. You need not have a million dollar budget to have fun. Cheap thrills are actually the best! Staying indoors with two of your friends curled up on the mattress in cosy pyjamas laughing your hearts out is ten times better than having to take a loan to contribute for a state of the art birthday party you won’t even enjoy.
You are allowed to be selfish, with your finances and with your peace of mind. You would rather have three friends who understand and respect your financial journey rather than a million and one friends who talk behind your back and label you as a bad friend just because you can’t reach their status in life.
Speaking of harsh economic times, here are ways to save money in harsh economic times.