DEAR MISS MANNERS: I've known my current friends since college -- over 25 years. These days, my income is much greater than theirs.
I bought a luxury watch, car and other expensive goods, but I never wear or use them when I'm with my friends, who do not have such things. I'd like to wear my watch, but don't want to flaunt my income or be a jerk. What is the proper etiquette?
GENTLE READER: Neither flaunt nor patronize.
Miss Manners is pleased to see that you are in no danger of flaunting your expensive possessions. But hiding them suggests that you hold the questionable assumption that they would induce envy in your friends.
Perhaps your friends are pleased at your success, and are also satisfied with their own achievements. Perhaps they have no desire for conspicuously expensive watches, even if they could afford them, when they can see the time on their telephones. Perhaps they have so little interest in status symbols that they do not recognize yours.
In any case, it is patronizing to assume that your possessions cause them discomfort. The only reason Miss Manners can imagine to keep these items out of sight is that you attach so much importance to them that you can't help swaggering a bit in their presence.