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Is Social Status and Wealth Irrelevant?

by Pat
(Merrimack, NH, USA)

I want to believe social status and wealth are irrelevant in making friendships. I like to think I am above this kind of prejudiced approach to relationships. And I like to think that I take an active interest in all kinds of people – including those of varying race or ethnic background, political views, and social status.

But, here is what I have found over half a century of living: I also like to feel as if I fit in. When I am with people of higher class, I feel constantly on guard regarding social customs: I wonder whether my clothing is okay, whether I am eating properly, and whether I am treading on anyone’s toes in any other ways.

When I am with people who could be called lower class, I also wonder whether I am offending – perhaps by presuming too much, or acting haughty, or saying or doing the wrong things.

To complicate things, I am exceedingly well educated; I hold three master’s degrees and a nearly completed doctoral degree. But I work in my profession half time and do other odd jobs, all adding up to a pretty mediocre salary. I am a casual, tomboy dresser.

So after all these years I can say that in principle, class and wealth make absolutely no difference. But in the reality of my own experience, my closest friends have always been my social peers. But I must add to the way the question is phrased that there are more dimensions to social status, including sexual orientation, marital status, education, intelligence and personal habits.

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