God loves the pure-hearted and well-spoken; good leaders also delight in their friendship. Proverbs 22:11 MSG
Several years ago, my husband and I were getting adjusted in a new town and began attending a new church. I joined a small group and was excited to get to know the other women and make some new friends. I began to make some connections and was really enjoying myself. A few months later, one of the women from my group called me up. She told me she wanted to come and see my new house and hang out for a while, so we set a date and time. I was so delighted to have a friend come for a visit! I cleaned the house, prepared a special snack and made sure everything looked just right for company.
On her way to my house, my “friend” called me from her cell phone and asked if I would mind being a “guinea pig” for her. I asked her what she meant. She told me about a new business opportunity she signed up for and wanted someone to practice on. I hesitated a moment, realization suddenly dawning on me, and reluctantly agreed. What could I do? She was already on the way to my house. I wasn’t just a guinea pig after all. It turns out, her entire motive for “hanging out” was just to get me to sign up with her business. She even had her up-line scheduled to speak with me over the phone once she got here! Needless to say, I felt used and disappointed. I was set up. So much for a new friendship. I forgave my new friend for what happened, but we did not go on to become very close.
Here’s your Faith and Business 101 assignment for this week: Be Real and Be Upfront. No doubt about it, we’re all in business to help pay the bills. We need to earn money or we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing. That’s fine. But be upfront about this when you are making new friendships. Don’t ever set someone up for a real friendship, when all you really want is their business! What could my “friend” have done differently that would have made all the difference in the world in terms of our friendship? She could have been upfront from the very beginning!
Maybe starting out with something like this:
“Hey MariLee! It’s been fun seeing you at small group and I’d love to hang out with you sometime. Would you like to go get coffee?”
I would have said “Sure, I’d love to.”
And she could have replied: “You know, I just started up a brand new business that I’m trying to get off the ground. Are you OK with me bringing you some information about it? Either way, I’d still love to get to know you better.”
Then I have the choice to either accept or not. There is no set-up there and everyone can be happy with the outcome.
Until next time….
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