I got your text last night. It came in while I was making dinner for the kids. I usually love seeing your name pop up on my phone. But yesterday, when my phone dinged, I actually groaned.
And that made me pause. I stood there at the stove, stirring the mac-n-cheese, letting my thoughts swirl around in my head. When did I start avoiding you? And why?
And then I picked up my phone to browse Facebook. And it hit me. I saw yet another update from you about the product you've been selling.
Friend, we need to talk. Heaven knows this is uncomfortable for me. I’ve really debated writing this letter. But I think a lot of women feel the way I do, and maybe this letter will be a launching pad for them to talk with their friends.
Let me start by saying that I love you. I love getting together with you. Usually, our lunch dates leave me feeling refreshed, and my ribs always hurt a little from laughing so much. We have something special. Closeness. Honesty. Friendship.
But ever since you started selling products, it seems like I’ve been downgraded from a friend to a client.
When you started selling products a few months ago, I hardly gave it a thought. You said you wanted to make some money on the side and get out of the house a little. Amen, sister. Don’t we all?
But over time, your usually interesting and funny posts were replaced by sales pitches. It didn’t even sound like YOU. I was mildly annoyed, but I figured your posts would return to normal after a few weeks.
Nope. This was only the beginning.
Soon, you started messaging me about coming to one of your “parties.” I politely declined, and you said you understood. But then, you started to text and call. You brought up your business at every opportunity. Somehow, our conversations always turned back to it. It felt oddly like I was hearing the gospel of your business.
I felt uncomfortable and sad. It felt like you were leveraging my friendship for a potential profit. And so, when you texted, I stopped replying.
I know you’re not looking at it that way. I know you really believe in this product. You think this can be a mutually beneficial relationship. I'll get a great product, and you'll make some much-needed cash.
But it feels like you’ve pulled a bait-and-switch. I welcomed you into my life under the auspices of friendship, and now you're using that window to advertise to me. You didn’t come by my contact information like any ordinary company; you asked for my phone number at a play date, and I had so much fun with you, I didn’t hesitate to write it on the back of a napkin. I accepted your friend request because we both loved sharing hilarious quotes and Bible verses— not so you’d have one more avenue to try to sell me something.
I know you're wondering why I haven't said anything before now. You've kind of put me in a bit of a pickle. If I decline an invitation to a party, you ask for an explanation. I can't very well say, "Because not only do I think this is a bad product, I think you're capitalizing on our relationship." And I really don't want to hurt your feelings.
Maybe it wouldn't bother me if we hadn't been close friends. Or if we met when I wanted to purchase a product, and a friendship grew from there. But what stings is feeling that you've traded our intimacy for advertising.
Friend, I’m happy that you like your work. I genuinely do want you to prosper. But I don't need a consultant or a health coach or any other such thing. A simple internet search will turn up a hundred of those in a 5 mile radius. Far more precious to me is my friend.
I know that this is a sensitive topic for a variety of reasons, because it has to do with social etiquette and personal finances. But I’m asking you to consider the damage you may be doing to your friendships for the sake of making money. This company is asking you to tap your most significant relationships for profit. Is that something you really want to be known for?
Friends are so valuable. It's an honor to be a friend. (It's an honor to be YOUR friend!) Think about it: The fact that another person would give you some of her precious time, heart, trust and resources is incredibly humbling. Each of us has a God-given responsibility to steward our friendships well. Is this business encouraging you to steward your friendships to the best of your ability?
I guess what I'm saying is, friends have a position of influence in one another’s lives. Use that wisely.
I hope this business is rewarding for you-- in a variety of ways, and not just financially. But the next time you call me, I hope it’s to talk about the crazy things your kids did that day. Or to vent about your mother-in-love. Or to invite me to that movie we’ve been meaning to go see.
But if you’re calling to sell me something, I’m going to have to ask you to put me on your “do not call” list.