Can Money Buy Love or Friendship? Research Answers this Question

Can you buy love with money? Can relationships be bought like commodities? There is no definite answer to this except understating what love and friendship mean to a person. If it is a commercial transaction then yes, you can surely buy a trophy wife or trophy husband with money. But if it is nonphysical like religion, it can neither be bought or sold.

The scientific perspective on sentiments and money is different. Many researchers believe that some people might feel more worthy if they have strong financial standing. But such self-worth knowing people are mostly lonely in their love life or social circle. The new study from the University at Buffalo and Harvard Business School have analyzed this relation and how it works.

Deborah Ward from the Psychology department at the University at Buffalo (UB)  is the lead author of this study. She says; “Feeling that pressure to achieve financial goals means we’re putting ourselves to work at the cost of spending time with loved ones, and it’s that lack of time spent with people close to us that are associated with feeling lonely and disconnected,”

This study is published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Lora Park one of the co-authors of this study teaches psychology at UB. She says that whoever knows his self-worth based on how financially successful he becomes, the work pressure and commitment to maintaining this status often cut him off from social circles.

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Other researchers on this project include Ashley Whillans, a faculty member from Harvard Business School, Kristin Naragon-Gainey, from the University of Western Australia, and Han Young Jung, a UB graduate.

This paper talks about how social networking and a person’s relationships affect his mental health. It also explains why such people need to maintain these connections even if they feel more pressurized or under a burden. It is technically not true and with a little motivation and help, they can find the perfect balance between these two.

Ward says; “Depression and anxiety are tied to isolation, and we’re certainly seeing this now with the difficulties we have connecting with friends during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

She also shared that; “These social connections are important. We need them as humans in order to feel secure, to feel mentally healthy and happy. But much of what’s required to achieve success in the financial domain comes at the expense of spending time with family and friends.”

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The central concept of this study is identifying a concept that is called “Financial Contingency of Self-Worth” by psychologists. This concept says that worthy people are more contingent regarding money affairs. They consider their financial success as the sole parameter to predict their worth. And the extent where they go in financial growth directly influences what they think about themselves. For example; if they improve their financial status with a raise, they eventually start to think good and happy about themselves. When it declines, they turn into a negative, insecure person.

This research project evaluated the data obtained from 2,500 participants from five other studies on relationships and financial standing analysis. They assessed this data under different variables such as friends, social circle, loneliness and social distancing of a person. Ward says that they found a strong link between how a person feels about himself and whats his financial standing. This study is the first step to dig into this love-money debate and can relationships be bought with money.

Money might be useful to generate a love relation but it can’t technically buy it. But if it’s just about sex, it can be bought for sure. On the other side, psychologists explain that it is comparatively easier to fall for a rich person than a person who is living from hand to mouth. Money can make life better and hence it affects all relationships directly or indirectly.




Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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