Income disparities may alienate friends

Leisure time has become more consumer-oriented, and large income disparities can alienate friends, according to a piece run by Jyväskylä’s Keskisuomalainen.

“As friends are seen during leisure time, large differences in income can make a big impact,” according to Professor of Sociology Terhi-Anna Wilska from the University of Jyväskylä.

Having a low income can affect, for instance, whether you can attend a friend’s coffee meeting, dinner, shop, or travel together, Wilska noted, adding that income inequality may have become more pronounced and visible in the 21st century as leisure time has become more driven by consumption habits.

Wilska told readers that income disparities can gradually alienate friends, since most people usually prefer to stay out of financially draining situations rather than reveal their low income.

Role conflict

“The Finnish culture of sharing isn’t as strong as that of many other European countries, for example, and people here find both roles difficult: offering and receiving. In more communal cultures, it is normal for the wealthier individual to pay if the other lacks money,” Wilska said.

Wilska concluded that people in Finland should talk more openly about money, their wages, and also their financial problems, since openness could reduce the shame associated with low income.

YLE NEWS 15.8.2022
Monday’s papers: Income inequalities, Helsinki housing, petrol prices