Pretending To Empathize
Price: Loss of Self Awareness
Rich people love to empathize with anyone in earshot. The fact is they have no experience with everyday problems but will pretend to care because it is the proper thing to do. A rich person’s idea of empathy is taking your problem and relating it to a situation they were once in. The difficulty is, if you aren’t rich, there is no common ground between you and your wealthy counterpart. The result, you are forced to endure a patronizing comparison of situations while nodding your head appreciatively.
While the wealthy mean well, it is tough to relate to trivial concerns like jobs, careers, commuting, down payments, rent, mortgages, flying economy, balancing a family with a fulltime job and a paltry two weeks of vacation a year. Despite these challenges, the rich make every effort to allay your concerns by empathizing with you. Take renting or buying a house as an example. Inadvertently mentioning that you are house shopping can be a painful misstep around the rich. You will be greeted with a sympathetic “don’t even bother, there’s simply nothing decent available in this city”. While they think you are sharing a moment, what they are really saying is they would never consider dwellings in your price range to be fit for human life. It remains a toss-up as to whether they realize a 4.5 million dollar estate isn’t a starter home. Similarly, wealthy new moms will happily commiserate with other mothers by recommending to all attendees of their post-natal yoga class that a night nanny is a must if they ever expect to get any sleep. Great advice and highly recommended if you have the means.
At the end of the day, this is a terrific opportunity to forge a stronger relationship with rich people. Not only do they love to feign empathy, the rich love to offer advice. When faced with a situation where they are clearly out of their depth, take it upon yourself to ask genuine questions about what they would do. Primarily, this means a stream of entertaining suggestions that you could never actually afford to carry out. More importantly, it allows the privileged to share their wealth of experience regardless of how irrelevant that experience is. This makes them feel good about helping and you will have some fantastic stories to share with your friends. Finally, the rich don’t carry change so it is best if you pay for their cappuccino while they dole out their wisdom, it really is the least you can do.