Home » Rambles » Am I your friend or your customer?

Am I your friend or your customer?

I’m encountering a lot of people who have started their own businesses. I’m finding that the line between friend and customer is a bit blurred. Someone I thought was going to be a new friend turns out to be friendly just to sell me something.

I’ll meet them in a social setting. It isn’t as if I’ve walked into their business and tried to strike up a friendship there. I didn’t know at the time that they were trolling for new customers. I think we call it “networking”. I call it confusing.

There are many ways that the friend/customer line gets blurred. One is that I’ll ask for advice on how to do what they do and there is a hesitation. They aren’t consultants, but they are afraid that I’ll steal their tricks or their business. They want to charge me to talk with them.

Another is when I give a new friend my email address and then she signs me up for a mailing list of all her activities. I get an email every time she plans some new event. If they were free events, that would be one thing, but they aren’t. These are all things I’m supposed to pay her for, and often the fees are very high.

If she had to pay for the experience to happen or provide materials, I understand. Sometimes the rental place has to be paid for or there are supplies involved. But if it is an experience at her home where she didn’t have to put out any money, then I don’t see why there should be a fee at all. It is as I’m expected to pay a fee just for the privilege of getting to be with her.

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