Monday, April 4, 2011

How Friendships Affect Businesses

I've always been a believer that my personal and business lives should remain separate. On the other hand, I'll do business with friends and relatives and I'll be friendly with clients. But there are certain relationships and behaviors I've always avoided when mixing business with pleasure.

Why? Because once you allow your personal feelings to enter a business relationship, it colors how you think, feel, and act. And if, for someone reason, mixing your business and personal lives doesn't affect how you think, feel, and act--it darn sure will for someone else.

Everyone knows how office politics and relationships are affected when a failed romantic relationship between two co-workers ends. But what about the more subtle nuances of other relationships?

Over the years, I've trusted many people. I've also learned that some of those people weren't trustworthy. The major reason I've been surprised by my misjudgment of people in business is because my personal bias (i.e., emotions and feelings) blinded me to actual facts.

Seriously now, think back to any occasions where someone--in your business life--cheated you or did you wrong. Did you see it coming? Was it because you had a preconceived opinion about the person, i.e., he was a good friend, she was a long-time client you thought you knew, he was a relative, she was smart/held a prestigious position/was referred by a friend?

The Huffington Post published an article on the subject recently and offers some detail and resources that support my belief that it's usually better, professionally, to keep your business and personal lives separate.

You're thinking: But didn't she just say she'll do business with friends and relatives and be friendly with clients? And yes, that's what I said. When I do business with friends and relatives, I always have a business associate around to monitor conversations and transactions. And when I'm friendly with clients I'm warmer with them than I am with other clients, and I may see them socially (as in sharing a meal at a restaurant) but seldom personally (as in attending the wedding of a client's daughter or attending the clients 4th of July BBQ at his house).

Relationships, after all, are the foundation of our professional success. But allowing ourselves to make business decisions based on personal feelings is a no-no. What do YOU think about mixing business and pleasure?


  1. Hi, Interesting post! I can see how mixing business and pleasure is never a good idea. It can cause all kinds of unpleasant complications in both areas. Thanks for the good read.

  2. It's all about WHO you know, don't they say? :)