“Babe, how you dey? I’m almost at your gate to pick you up, please call the security.” Ruth was excited as she approached Ireti’s house. She had looked forward to this outing for a very long time, had told her friend to get ready to accompany her somewhere and she wanted it to be a surprise.
After the exchange of pleasantries, Ireti began to ask Ruth about their destination but got no answers. She was so happy for Ruth, who had just won a big business grant to expand her business. Ruth had invested so much time, effort, and money into her startup and it was just so beautiful to see how far she had come. She was beginning to reap the fruits of her labour and her business had rightly positioned itself as one of the brands to reckon with.
They arrived at an imposing duplex housing ‘ExtremePosh Luxe Fabrics.’ Ireti looked surprisingly and questioningly at Ruth who smiled rather smugly.
Ruth knew exactly what was going on in Ireti’s mind, but she did not really care. It was time for her to spoil herself big time. Instagram people were “tensioning” her too much and it was beginning to look as if she did not have money. Even people that she was doing better than were releasing new clothes steadily on Instagram and getting featured in the hottest lifestyle magazines as style icons and she, who had been one of the trendiest dressers in the Lekki axis was conspicuously absent. She needed to make a statement so that people would not think or say she was broke.
Ireti was surprised when they arrived at the luxury fabric shop but decided to play along and see what her friend was up to. She had thought that Ruth was taking her somewhere for a fine dining experience to celebrate the great news of winning a grant, but this was way off what she’d expected.
There was a gourmet coffee located in the same premises as the fabrics shop and Ireti literally pulled her friend in there. “What’s this about, Ruth? What are we doing to do at ExtremePosh? I hope it’s not the business grant money you are about to go and blow. You applied for that grant to solidify your operations and expand into new stores. What does our visit here have to do with that?’’
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Ruth became literally deflated as her friend launched these questions at her. Just a month ago she’d still been bootstrapping and praying to win the grant. After the money arrived, she suddenly remembered how hard she had worked and all the things she had seen other people buy, and how left behind it all made her feel. She explained all this to Ireti. She wanted to trend like others and pepper people too, why couldn’t her friend just understand this? She was sure that she would get money back somehow to still proceed with her business expansion project.
Ireti hugged Ruth and smiled. She remembered when she also wanted to be a fashion trendsetter and how her savings had gotten rapidly depleted such that she was not able to keep up with her investment commitments. It was her Uncle who had spoken sense into her, and she knew that she had to do same for Ruth.
“I know you deserve a break but you’re about to do this for the wrong reasons, to please people. You have absolutely nothing to prove and trust me, the people that matter the most love you with no strings attached. Why don’t we delay your reward for six months so that you can use this grant for the right purpose?”
Ruth listened to her friend and grew her business instead of spending to keep up with the Joneses. Within six months, her business had expanded, and she was able to give herself a sensible bonus because she deserved it and not to pepper or tension others.
Adult peer pressure is subtle and can be a threat to contentment, growth and progress if not properly handled. Delaying gratification, having accountability partners and a strong self-esteem can help to overcome this. Cheers!