Spinning out of control: It’s painful to lose friends and disturbing to lose clients

Published: April 2, 2010 | Last Updated: April 2, 2010 By | 5 Replies Continue Reading



Dear Irene,

I am 51 years old, married 28 years, with 3 grown kids. I work at a gym as a personal trainer/spinning instructor. I quickly became friends with a woman 10 years younger who moved here from another state. She is 40 years old, single, without any kids, and had been in a verbally abusive relationship with a guy.


Her enthusiasm and motivation for spinning and weight training were the same as mine and we began to really like each other’s company. She and I would grab a bite to eat for dinner one or two times a week after class, which both of us enjoyed. Since she likes to cook, many nights she would come over after a spin/yoga class and cook for my husband and I, and our son who is still in high school. She became a fast and furious friend and called herself my sister. People believed her because we kind of look alike!


Here is the fallout. I introduced her to a client who I personal train who is single, 57 years old (but looks 47). This person is energetic and has her own real estate business. She is witty, funny and very likeable, and knows many people in this town. My friend took a liking to her immediately and the three of us would go out for dinner after yoga/spin. That was OK with me, but as time went on I could see that my friend was becoming more interested in my client.


My friend loves to get all dressed up on weekends and parties at a very exclusive club in our town. She asked both of us to come one night. It was a total singles hang out! I was not interested in meeting men that were only looking for a one-night stand. I had a horrible time but my friend enjoyed all the attention she was getting from these men and started going with my client every weekend. (I usually do things anyway with my husband on the weekends).


Their friendship progressed to get-togethers that didn’t include me. My client basically took my friend away from me. The client was cancelling her sessions for training consistently, so I told her to just quit. Then she became angry with me for taking her off my schedule.


My friend and I have not spoken to one another in over a week. She used to text me 5-6 times a day so to go from this to no communication at all is weird. There is more to this story, but I just gave you the basics. I am very hurt as I write this. How can I start to accept who she is and move on from here? I have not tried to contact her. I just can’t right now and maybe never! Thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully responding. I appreciate it.





Dear Monica,

It’s painful to lose friends—and disturbing to lose clients. The two happened simultaneously for you. What was particularly hurtful was that both these relationships ended awkwardly without communication.


Your friend came to a new town and was skilled at making new friends. First, she bonded with you over your common interest in spinning/weight training. Then she got involved with your client, who in addition to sharing an interest in spinning was also interested in meeting men.


Let’s separate the two hurts: In terms of your friend, she was a bit opportunistic in ditching you when she found your client. Friends don’t own each other so you can’t really blame her for forming a friendship with someone to whom you introduced her. However, it wasn’t nice of her to simply dump and replace you. At this point, you need to evaluate how you feel about your friend. If you want to resurrect your friendship, you will need to discuss what happened.


In terms of your client, the realtor, she may have begun to feel uncomfortable in her sessions with you because she knew you were upset about her relationship with your friend. Cancelling sessions may have been an easy way for her to avoid you. When you simply took her off your schedule, without talking about it, you raised the stakes.


As uncomfortable as discussions like these may be, they could have averted the "fallout." Your workplace offers a perfect opportunity to meet women who share your interests but becoming friends with a client also carries risks. If you live in a small town and are concerned about your reputation, you may want to offer each client a free spinning session to let them know you would welcome working with them again professionally.

Hope this helps!


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Comments (5)

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  1. Daniela says:

    I have learned to use extreme caution when new people come on too strong -it has always backfired on me. Friendships take time to develop -any person that skips a bunch of steps in getting to be your friend is a huge red flag.

  2. Irene says:

    I’m sorry for the confusion. My response meant to suggest a (one) free session to the two clients she lost—in the event that they were uncomfortable coming back to her business because of the way she handled things. 

    Thanks for chiming in!




  3. Anonymous says:

    I don’t understand why the author of the letter would offer free sessions to all of her clients. Am I missing something? This would just add insult to injury in my opinion. Not only did she lose a friend, but this would cause her to lose money as well. I’m a private teacher as well (music) and personally could not afford to offer other students free lessons just because of another person not keeping her appointments. I would do exactly the same thing! In fact, many people have a 24-hour cancellation policy in place. This was the business relationship. The friendship was a separate entity!

  4. Irene says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I’m sure it will be helpful to Monica and others.


  5. Anonymous says:

    I know how the writer feels, as I went through a similar experience. But she may not have actually lost the friend. Right now her friend is excited about the new friendship she has formed and that she has someone to go with to meet men, but that does not mean she can’t have more than one friend. I am sure there are many things the two can still share. Once things calm down a bit they can find that common ground and keep their friendship in tact. It probably won’t be exactly the same, but it can still be a good friendship.

    I had two really good friends. Then a new girl moved into town and struck up a friendship with one of them. They ended up doing everything together for several months, and excluded me from their activities. I was very hurt by it, but tried not to show it or say anything to my friend. Then things calmed down and we started doing things together again, however, the new girl then went and became best of friends with my other girl friend. They are pretty much inseparable right now and that has hurt me as well, because I very much miss the friendship. I did talk to this other friend and she thought I was just being silly for feeling as I did and said she loved her new friendship and wanted to nurture it. After a little bit of time we are friends again, but not like we were. And I have learned that I can’t do anything with either of my friends when the new girl is around as she demands all of their attention and I just end up getting hurt. But –I have remained friends with both of them, just in a different way. I still enjoy being with them though.

    So hopefully the same will happen with this writer and her friendship will continue.

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