How to relate to the rich kids at college?

Bros, quick question: Gonna start my MFin at a European target where basically the elite of that country and international kids go to. I am probably Lower Middle class, but was at an "elite" high school, where I didn´t get along with the rich kids too well. Now I am unsure how to deal with my new classmates or how to behave, since the school is not too big and I really don´t want to be "that guy" on campus. For all of you Connecticut prep kids, how do I best get along with you and earn your respect?

It´s an honest question, I really don´t know haha.

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Comments (25)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Aug 11, 2020 - 9:37am

Go find people at the MFIN that are interested in things you're interested in, life is too short to cater to what people like in school to make yourself likeable. The only exception is in a work setting, as you need to be likeable and work hard to climb the ladder.

Keeping the first point in mind, figure out what the rich kids talk about and then start reading about those topics. I've met a lot of rich kids and it's hard to generalize among them.

Also, the way you're wording this post makes it seem like you have some sort of complex against "rich kids". Just treat them like you would treat everyone else and your ability to relate and talk with people from affluent families will improve as a result of the change in mindset.
To give you an example, my parents were slightly racist and shallow, making me judge and stay away from certain people if they didn't fit their criteria of a person you should be friends with, especially staying away from people that showed no life ambitions as a teenager. As I got older, I learned better and skewed away from their ideologies, and it became much easier for me to relate with people and become friends, and to see them for them vs their ambitions/ethnicity.

Aug 11, 2020 - 10:04am

Obvious solution is find the subset that does the same shit that you do in your free time or to start doing some of the hobbies they do to find commonalities outside of class. Mainly referring to team sports, gym, maybe some other extracurriculars. The TV show "All American" kind-of tells a similar story if you've seen it.

The main problem will clearly be finances - there will be stuff you can't participate in, e.g. if some of them are into golf, racing/sports cars then there's nothing you can really do. Need to make most of the opportunities where they are present. I'm not sure how much "lower middle class" you are, but it is possible that even hanging with them at brunch can be costly because rich kids will do that shit almost every single day.

  • Prospect in Other
Aug 11, 2020 - 10:22am

I´m into running and watches (although as of now my main is a swatch...), so that could be a point of connection. Money-wise, I took on debt and am on a budget, so no mimosa brunches for me, Sir.

Aug 11, 2020 - 10:28am

Well, that's a really big problem. Rich people have a habit to spend $. If you can't spend with them in the cases where they aren't spending a lot then you're a bit out of the zone.

Running isn't a big enough thing in my opinion - gym is far more common among guys. The watch thing probably isn't that good either - you don't own shit that costs as much as theirs. If you maybe recognized one of their watches and said "Been considering one of those", I fear they might call you for your BS even.

You're really up against it here. The only thing you have left is pretty much socializing at parties, i.e. drinking. Maybe combine that with weight training. This way you're not completely at zero.

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  • Prospect in Other
Aug 11, 2020 - 11:02am

Dude, rich kids aren't aliens. They're literally just kids. Not really very different from you or me. Just have normal conversations with them and be a regular human being. Don't really understand the issue here.

  • Prospect in Other
Aug 11, 2020 - 11:20am

Ok guys, I think I get it now. I´ll try to relax and stay cool. They´ll probably don´t really care much as long as I don´t try to pretend I´m someone I´m not.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Aug 11, 2020 - 12:33pm

Tbf to OP, my college was filled with rich preppy kids and they'd often not really interact with you if you weren't "one of them", so I kind of know what he's talking about. And it's not really like they'd ignore you, which can happen but it's rare I'd say, it's just that there's very little commonalities so you guys can't relate. Saying that, just be you and find those people who are a bit more down to earth and like doing what you like to do, like playing soccer, lifting weights, etc.

Aug 11, 2020 - 6:43pm

When I went to school, we had a bunch of kids from rich families, and they'd often party and go on vacations like they were used to. They'd get dumbfounded when some kids couldn't just drop a couple of grand on some weekend skiing tour, or spring vacation on some exotic island.

A night out for them could be hundred bucks here, hundred bucks there - who counts?

Unfortunately, some regulars I knew would live way beyond their means, just to keep up and have fun with the rich kids. I'm talking maxing out credit cards, and what not.

It's OK to jut say "Sorry bro, that's a bit too steep for me / I need to save up money / we could do something else [less expensive]" - yes, some few will be douchebags and judge you, but most are pretty normal kids that understand. It's just that some of them are so desensitized, and used to spending lots of cash, or being used to a certain lifestyle.

Aug 11, 2020 - 8:23pm

clearly, we need more information...what kind of person are you....what things do you take very (too) seriously...where are you on the athletic/nerdy weakling spectrum...what is your attitude on alcohol, weed, and the spectrum of drugs...attitude on sex...and the sexual spectrum, from straight --> bi --> gay and all the other stuff?

Aug 11, 2020 - 9:35pm

Don't try to "earn" their respect. These kids are usually extremely shallow and insecure in my experience, just play that to your advantage.


Aug 12, 2020 - 7:43pm

What do you mean "that guy" - you mean the "not rich guy" ? I have some news for you, unless you can invent a way to pull money out of your own ass, you're sort of stuck with that.

Why do you care what they think? And who are "they" anyway? Are you sure this isn't garden-variety social anxiety? "Rich Kids" are not some ultra-monolithic, homogenous group. I had many friends in school who had families worth probably 10, 20, 50x what mine was. I also knew plenty of people who were in my "income bracket" that I couldn't possibly relate to. As with anything, there will be a lot of people you don't know and don't care about, and a few you get along with and become friends with over shared viewpoints and ideas. That's usually how it works.

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."
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