Friendship and business relationships, can they commingle?

Some say build a friendship first and work on business later because the friendship can, quite possibly, lead to other business connections. Some further assert that you just never know the type of influencers that you can strike up a friendship and business relationship with. Well, I both agree and disagree, and here’s why.

I agree because if both parties have and maintain mutual respect for one another, it can and will work. Both the friendship and business relationship blossom as both individuals share ideas, learn from one another, and uplift each other. This, in turn, contributes to and fortifies a strong working/business relationship.

On the other hand, I disagree because if one person takes advantage of the working relationship, disrespects the boundaries of the friendship, and throws all other professional etiquette out the window, the cooperative commingling ceases to exist. Both the friendship and the business relationship fall by the wayside. How does this happen? Well, this happens when one or both parties gets comfortable, and in that comfortability their behavior goes south while their expectations of the relationship go up. What do I mean by this? When your behavior reveals that you’ve morphed into this unreliable, inconsistent and inconsiderate individual but you still expect the same perks and professionalism from your “friend” and business associate. So, what ends up happening? Business matters suffer and become less important.

For example, scheduling an appointment, cancelling at the last minute and failing to give proper notice. The question then becomes, “Would you do the exact same thing with someone from another organization that you have no established relationship with? Highly unlikely …. because you know it’s rude, you don’t want to develop that kind of reputation, and you do not want to burn any bridges. However, with your friend, anything goes because, well, that’s your friend. Don’t get me wrong, friends understand that ‘life’ happens, or at the very least, friends should understand that. But, friendship does not give license to be disrespectful and careless of your friend’s time. Hence, the reason why, depending on the circumstance, I do not agree that friends should do business together or vice-versa that business associates should be friends.

The difference between a business relationship and a personal relationship is the level of intimacy. Mutual respect, consistency, and dependability are the keys to a strong working relationship which builds the friendship/business relationship. All parties involved need to know and understand that this is not and cannot be one-sided. You can have one and, yes, on occasion, you can have both

In friendship:

“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.” – Epictetus

In business:

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford

Just my opinion..

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