Entrepreneur needs to set boundaries with friend
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DEAR HARRIETTE: I am an entrepreneur. I have helped a good friend of mine who owns a struggling business that lacks funding, and it has caused a great deal of stress on both of us. My friend has not been able to pay me for my services or even cover their expenses, yet I have continued to help out, providing services to the best of my ability. I feel for my friend and want to do everything I can to support them, but at this point, I am reaching the limits of what I can do without being paid. I’m in a difficult situation, not wanting to take money from my friend, but also feeling like I should receive payment for my services. Is there anything I can do to support my friend without breaking my financial commitment to myself and my business? — Need Payment
DEAR NEED PAYMENT: It is often difficult to do business with friends and family because the lines are easily blurred. Your friend is far less likely to pay you for services than they would an outside contractor they don’t know. Is that fair? No, but it is common.
What you must do immediately is begin looking at this relationship as strictly business. Moving forward, make an invoice along with a clause for terms for payment and interest or penalties that may accrue if payment is not made in a timely manner. Stop providing more services until you are paid for those already executed. Express your interest in helping your friend, but establish that you have to step away for now in order to tend to your business. When theirs is fluid, perhaps you can rejoin the project. But do know that it is unlikely that you will ever receive payment for whatever you are owed if your friend lacks the funds.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who is a bit of a daredevil. Well, that’s how I think of her. She enjoys extreme athletics. I’m happy that she loves these things, which include traveling all over the world to fulfill her dreams, but they don’t interest me. For several of these adventures, she has invited me to join her. I graciously declined each time. This year, something different has happened. A group of us were out for dinner, and she started jabbing at me for not wanting to participate in her most recent adventure. She accused me of not being adventurous, of being boring and old. I took great offense at this. The whole table of friends started laughing, and one by one they chimed in with their views about how I spend my time. Meanwhile, they don’t all travel with our mutual friend, either. I thought this was rude and uncalled-for. How can I address it with my friend? — To Each His Own
DEAR TO EACH HIS OWN: Call her and tell her you want to talk. Be direct. Let her know you don’t appreciate the way she railed at you and got everyone else to chime in. Point out that while you do not share an interest in her activities, you never once teased her about her choices. Ask her why she felt the need to poke fun at you because you have other interests. Make sure she knows that she hurt your feelings, and you expect this never to happen again.