Friendship is not a business(Read article summary)
Mixing financial relationships and friendships can cause problems for both.
Photo illustration/Design Pics/Newscom
Let me make it simple.
I do not like mixing financial relationships with friendships.
I do not want to be friends with the person that is selling me a product. I do not want to be friends with my banker. At the same time, I donâ€™t want my friends to be selling me products or asking me for loans. Please, do not put me in a position where I feel obligated to lend money from you or buy something from you because of our friendship, because that question alone adds some poison to that relationship.
Letâ€™s look at it from another angle.
When I go to the bank, Iâ€™m not looking for a friend. Iâ€™m looking for a business relationship. Iâ€™m probably depositing some money or making a withdrawal. I might be taking out a loan. In any case, Iâ€™m only in the bank as a necessary step in getting to where I want to be. I donâ€™t want to have to pay them interest and I would love to be able to earn more interest on my savings. If I have an opportunity to jump ship to a better situation, Iâ€™ll probably do that. Itâ€™s not friendship, itâ€™s business.
When I go to buy something and a salesman approaches me, I know that the person is going to try to sell me a product. That person might be a source of some useful information, but I also know that theyâ€™re earning money for the sole purpose of extracting cash from my pocket. Again, itâ€™s not friendship, itâ€™s business.
On the other hand, when I hang out with friends, Iâ€™m not looking for a business transaction. Iâ€™m looking to spend time with people I trust and value who I can talk to freely about my situation without worrying whether theyâ€™re going to sell me something or theyâ€™re going to want something from me. Here, itâ€™s not business, itâ€™s friendship.
Every time that line is crossed and I have a friend who wants to sell me a product or wants to borrow some money from me, the dynamic of our relationship changes.
There is an expectation that money will change hands in the future. A salesman expects that youâ€™ll buy a product from them and pay for it. A borrower knows that he or she will have to repay you in the future. A lender knows that youâ€™ll have to repay him in the future.
You can no longer easily talk about things youâ€™ve purchased or other money moves around this person because theyâ€™ll wonder, â€śWhy didnâ€™t you buy from me?â€ť or â€śWhy didnâ€™t you pay me back?â€ť or â€śWhy didnâ€™t you lend me as much as I asked for?â€ť
You (and/or the other person) will suddenly feel obligated to make a financial commitment to that other person, one that might not be easy for you to do in the state of your own life. Thatâ€™s not a situation that results in positive feelings.
Even worse: what if you canâ€™t come through on your end of the arrangement? Are you going to tell your friend, â€śWell, Iâ€™m not going to buy from you like I said I wouldâ€ť or â€śGuess what? Iâ€™m defaulting on that $100 you owed meâ€ť?
Because of all of these factors, I make it clear to my friends that I wonâ€™t borrow money from them, wonâ€™t lend money to them, wonâ€™t sell to them, and wonâ€™t buy stuff from them. Mixing a financial relationship and a friendship is simply something I do not want to do.
If you feel the same way I do, donâ€™t be afraid. Go out there right now to Facebook or Twitter (or whatever you use to talk to your immediate social circle) and simply add the title of this article as a status update.
I donâ€™t want to be your client. I donâ€™t want to be your lender. I want to be your friend.
If they want to know more, refer them to this article. Or, better yet, spell out the ideas above in your own words.
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