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Dealing with a friend in sales who works on commission

Published: December 11, 2016 | Last Updated: February 10, 2017 By | 3 Replies Continue Reading
How do you handle a friend on commission who seems to have made you part of her “business plan.”


Hi Irene,

I have a very “persuasive” friend who works on commission for a local gift boutique — and she constantly pressures me to come in and shop when she’s working — she sends me texts, group emails, private emails, etc. She’s on commission, and I understand her boss wants her to bring in business.

I want to support my friend, but I’ve already shopped there several times in the past few months, and don’t have the time or the need to come in and buy more. It’s getting to the point where I feel guilty for not coming to the store — and resentful at the same time.

I like this friend and I want to be gracious, but am running out of patience.

Signed, Amber


Hi Amber,

Your friend can only be as “persuasive” as you allow her to be. It’s very nice of you to support her sale efforts when they dovetail with your own needs, but it sounds like this friend may be overly aggressive and somewhat tone deaf.

If you acquiesce too often without any pushback, your friend may have the mistaken impression that you welcome her repeated overtures.

Before you do lose your patience or become too resentful, you need to say NO to her. Be upfront with your friend and tell her “you don’t have the time or need to buy more.”

In terms of being gracious, you can say that you want to support her and the shop, but you can’t place yourself in the awkward position of spending more than you can afford or buying more than you need at this point in your life. Ask her to please help you by limiting or stopping the sales texts and private emails. Tell her you would prefer to stop by the shop when you need something.

There is no reason you should feel guilty. Your friend is the one who should feel guilty about overstepping the boundaries of your friendship.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Category: Creating and maintaining boundaries, RESOLVING PROBLEMS

Comments (3)

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  1. greenbird says:

    Oh, this has happened to me with some friends who join those multi level marketing companies. The pressure is very intense to build the business, so they invite you to parties and then you get joined to Facebook “groups” and get constant emails, to the point it gets really suffocating. I’ve become quite assertive these days and will tell people not to include me in these types of things. I will let them know if I need any of their products and yes, because of so many other friends being involved with these companies I am well aware of the products these companies offer (and to be honest, while some are quite nice I can usually find cheaper versions elsewhere). I don’t need to pressured to buy,I live on a budget and I manage my money carefully. Anyone who can’t respect this will find out quickly that I don’t take kindly to it.

  2. Amy F says:

    “I’m saving my pennies and have all my shopping done. I’ll consider coming to you next time I need something, so I’d appreciate you not asking me again. It makes me feel uncomfortable. Thanks for respecting me on this.”

  3. been there says:

    I had a similar situation with a very good friend years ago. She started working for a company that does home parties etc. I was happy that she found a career that she enjoyed. However, as time past, she would call and text and push me into having parties at my home and invite all of my friends. (yes, they make money off of these parties). I was not comfortable with this because the friends you invite feel obligated to buy. I explained this to her over and over again. She would not listen and still continued with the hard sell. Well, guess what happened? I started avoiding her calls and the friendship eventually dissolved.
    Try to speak to your friend and just say “I love supporting you but I really dont need anything more right now. I will absolutely come in when I do”. I hope she hears you.
    good luck.

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