❝It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much.❞ -Yogi Berra
My wife and I are on the couch watching an episode of Friends. We've been slowly going through some of the most popular television shows to see what we've been missing, and Friends is one that we've seen here and there, but never in the correct order.
One thing that strikes me about Friends is how all their episodes revolve around simple misunderstandings. I wonder how boring their episodes would be if there weren't so many misunderstandings between the characters. Misunderstandings are the basis of many sitcoms because of how relevant they are to us. Misunderstandings, when they're on TV, lead to a funny episode. Misunderstandings in real life, though, can lead to uncomfortable situations.
Imagine a world where the characters of Friends simply asked each other for clarification. It would solve a lot of their problems, but it would make for boring TV. You don’t live in a sitcom, so asking for clarification will help you have better conversations about money.
WE DO NOT TALK ABOUT MONEY
Money is a taboo topic in our culture. We simply don't talk about money. We get uncomfortable when it's brought up. We change the topic. We find an excuse to leave the room. Money may be the number one taboo topic because, unlike other taboo topics, money touches every area of our life.
Money acts as a sort of benchmark for people. Like it or not, we are susceptible to social comparison. Money should not be the measuring stick we use, but it's easy to use, and thus we default to it. This gets us into a vicious cycle that ends with us being petrified to talk about money. Money carries a lot of shame for a lot of people. Once we start talking about money, we open ourselves up to be judged. We don't like being judged.
A negative consequence of this is that it's hard for us to talk about money with the important people in our lives. It becomes easier to avoid the conversation, easier to keep secrets about money, and more likely that we end up fighting about money.