The median income from the last census reporting (2014-2018) declares that the most common Michigan yearly wage is $55,000. For reference, that would be consistent with a well-paid teacher living alone, or a warehouse manager, etc. Two parents making the wage would give you over 100k for a family of four (average household size), which is considered mildly well off. No fancy cars or six car garages, but you’d have a house and food and be comfortable. In the area I lived, most people made that much money when I was in elementary and middle school, but once I was in high school, I noticed the fancy cars bought new for 16 year olds, was invited to houses that made me gawk, and watched as more and more neighborhoods were constructed where swamp lands were previously. Downtown was still consistent in houses priced $100k-$300k. The newer neighborhoods have big advertising signs out front boasting about their princess-- Starting at $800,000! It needled me often to have to ask for a ride when my ‘09 Ford Flex ran out of gas and I did not have the money, or it needed repairs and my family had to wait a month to bring it to the shop. When everyone else got dinner and I got water and a side of fries. In America, with its consumerism and capitalism, comparing how much money you have to others is more real and harder to overcome than the number of friends or grades. It is present no matter how old you are. The more money you make as well, the more people want to take advantage of it, use you to get the things they covet. Either side of the coin can make a person’s life harder, especially when they struggle with ASD and social skills. What is important to remember is that a true friend will not care what brand you wear or the size of your closet, nor does it make you inferior to your peers. The majority of the United States is not extremely wealthy, a lot of people understand. And lastly-- loans / paying for friends should be reciprocal! I’ve gladly paid for a friend on a few occasions, but if they never pay me back when they can or ever buy me something in return, then I pull back and stop to see if I am being used for my money. It does not make you a bad person or rude to not want to be used. Even people we care about can become complacent in accepting offers and hand-outs.
Written by Katy Evans
References: U.S. Census Bureau