Hi Sasha, My question is this: if you have a close friend or a relative who works in a fee- or commission-based industry, are you obligated to use him/her for their service? For example, if my brother is a real estate agent, am I obligated to buy a house through him? Or if a good friend is a hairstylist, am I obligated to go to her? What’s the thing to do? Suck it up for the sake of the relationship or do what you want/think is right? Thanks T


The adage “don't go into business with friendship” exists for good reason because there will always be two major issues at stake – friendship and money.You’re always at risk to lose one, or both. Having said that, there’s always the flipside, because if you can find the right fit everyone comes out a winner.  

The key though, T, is to never feel obligated, because that means you're starting the venture feeling a bit wanked and that’s never a good way kick things off. I think decisions like this always need to come down to competency and trust. If the person is capable and they know what they’re doing then I’m all for it, but if you even have the slightest inkling that they’re kind of crap at their job then I wouldn’t touch that sh-t with a ten foot pole. 

Now T, I’m guessing that the reason you've written in to ask me this question is because you’re having some doubts - you’re clearly not sold. So if I were you, I would be upfront and honest about why you’re not going to use them. Of course, if they’re useless don’t tell them that, instead just let them know that the friendship means too much to you to jeopardize. Sure, they might have a case of hurt feelings for a while, but you’ll still have better chance of an intact relationship in the end.

Thanks for writing in and keep your questions coming to [email protected].