Direct Sales Are Ruining My Friendships

Confession:  I was almost a part of a direct sales business.  Almost.  I had a friend contact me and I listened to her spiel.  I fell for it hook, line, and sinker.  I only had to get 7 people on my team, who would get 7 people on their team, who get 7 people on their team, so on and so forth, and I would be a BILLIONAIRE.  I would run the world, and I would be running it from the comfort of my own brand new FREE car!

Now that’s not exactly how it worked, but you get the idea.  Luckily my phone phobia kept me from fully committing. (I can hardly call my neighbor to ask to borrow an egg, let alone contact friends from 10 years ago to try and persuade them to make a purchase.)  During my direct sales period I sold exactly zero products, and I’m probably on a do-not-contact number over at the company.

What happened to the “friend” that persuaded me to join after my direct sales business crashed and burned into the ground?  I never heard from her again.  Nope.  Not once.

It was a fake friendship.

Direct Sales Are Ruining My Friendships!Let me just start off by saying, I fully support moms who are trying to better themselves.  I am 100 percent into supporting small businesses and moms who are building their companies.  If you are in direct sales and rocking it, go you!!  I’m not against direct sales at all. However, there is a part of direct sales that really grinds my gears, and that is the fake friendship aspect that direct sales seem to spur.

I’m sure we’ve all gotten the overly friendly messages from friends long ago trying to sell us hair removal cream, fat burners, organic cure all oils, or whatever the latest trend is.  The other day, I saw that I had a message in my inbox from a friend that I haven’t talked to in many years.  I was excited to hear from her because I love reconnecting with old friends.  When I clicked on the message I was disappointed when it said something like, “Heeeey Girl!  Your kids are so cute, and your life is dreamy and adorable.  But you know what would make your life better?  My latest blah blah blah blah blah.”

Wait. We haven’t talked in years and now you’re trying to sell me crap?  My fake friendship radar immediately went off.  I don’t even know what she was selling because I felt bamboozled.  She didn’t want to be friends.  She simply wanted to sell me something.  She wanted my moolah, plain and simple.

I actually had a friend contact my husband on Facebook asking if he wanted to buy some of her latest and greatest fancy skin care products for me. Really, man, really?!  First of all, let’s keep my husband out of this fake friendship nonsense.  He won’t fall for it.  Second of all, is there something grotesque about myself that I’m not seeing? Have I transformed into a haggard old lady at the ripe old age of 29?  Do I have the opposite of body dysmorphia where I think I look halfway decent, but in reality I’m a wrinkly acne ridden lady with the leathery skin of a 90 year old who still sun bathes? Please say it ain’t so.

Let’s not even get into the fact that more than half of my Instagram requests come from people trying to sell me something.  I had a lady that I had gotten to know via Instagram who randomly sent me a picture of her kids through a direct message that said, “Do you want to earn a full time income while working from home?! Contact me and I’ll tell you how.” Fake friendship alert. 

First of all, I’m pretty confident in the fact that in order to make a full time income I would have to sell 9 million dollars of product in under 2 months all while juggling fiery batons and sleeping on a bed of nails, but that’s really beside the point.  When I was a working mom, I found it offensive when people would assume that I was miserable at my job, or that I was dreaming of the day I could work from home.  Not all working moms dream of becoming the next June Cleaver, okay?!

Anyway, there’s nothing more annoying to me than fake friendships.  If I haven’t talked to someone in years, it drives me crazy when they contact me, add me to groups, and try to get me to purchase something.  I already know they sell it.  I see the products bombarding my Facebook wall, and honestly I don’t really mind that.  Post away, spread the word, but people contacting me acting like my bestie giving me their sales pitch drives me flat out bonkers.

If I am interested in a product, I can almost guarantee I will contact the person about their business.  If I am looking to make a purchase, I cross-my-heart-pinky-promise-take-a-blood-brother-oath that I will try to buy it from one of my friends first.

Have YOU experienced the direct sales “fake friend”?

 

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28 Responses to Direct Sales Are Ruining My Friendships

  1. PennyO January 6, 2016 at 8:29 am #

    Yes! I went to a housewarming party once only to find it was a sales party! I couldn’t get out fast enough!

  2. Erika Hilliard January 6, 2016 at 8:32 am #

    Thank you Britnie!

    I have been a home based business owner with my family for 12 years. We had a conference call discussing exactly what you have experienced. One of my close friends shared your blog in our private group on facebook. I have been guilty of being “over-zealous” about what I found and shared it with my friends and family in the beginning. Although I was never a fake friend, I went about it the wrong way.

    When my life and marriage was falling apart, we were behind on our bills and could barely pay our mortgage. It wasn’t about a new car but saving my family. In 6 months all that completely turned around because of a neighbor who was not “that person”. I wanted ALL my family & friends to experience the peace & joy we know had.

    It has been my mission to not only change the way people see this profession but also change the way people are approach and share on social media. We are in the relationship and problem solving business. Not the makeup, nutrition shake or even jewelry business. Those are just products that when moved through T a business provides income.

    Many so-called leaders do not teach people that what we do is not about us but about how we can be a solution to people’s problems. Whether it be more time to spend with their families, have the income coming in on the side so a parent can homeschool or even take care of parents who are aging and not have to work a job while doing so and stressed out. The list goes on and on. It’s no different than why someone would go get a job and go do the thing they love.

    Direct Sales is not for everyone. You have to love people more than you love money. Find out what their need is if any and then ASK if they would like to hear about a possible solution. Thank you for giving us the other perspective so we can do better at representing a profession that changes lives. God bless you!

    • Beth January 6, 2016 at 11:00 pm #

      I love your response and agree! I am in a DS company as well. I am a SAHM and I love my kids and I love the company I am with. I’m sure I have made some of those mistakes too, but DS reps are nothing to fear or hate. We are all trying to do what’s best for us, and I’ve never intentionally been a fake friend! I truly care and want to help people however I can. I strive to be genuine, even when contacting old friends! We aren’t perfect at it all the time, but I love to learn new ways to approach and market by business while remaining a good friend to people, whether they are interested or not!

      • Chris October 1, 2016 at 10:42 pm #

        This sounds so scripted, you sell stuff to old friends? It’s all a means to use people are to propogate business.

  3. Kristin January 6, 2016 at 8:52 am #

    Preach it! That’s happened so many times– and you’re right– it’s so disappointing!!

  4. Patty
    Patty January 6, 2016 at 9:23 am #

    Britni
    Bravo. So true. I too completely support women who make this their life and career. Bravo to them. BUT be my friend first and whenever I am ready to buy I will buy. End of story. I also get tired of hearing “you’d be so good at this … You’re so great with people.” Yeah, exactly and I would like to keep my friends and not become their “eye roll” in their life. Great post girl.

  5. Katie Danner January 6, 2016 at 3:41 pm #

    Yes! ugh! the worst are when they want you to join their weight loss program…. thanks for reminding me I’m fat!

  6. Katie Danner January 6, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

    The worst is when they want you to join their weight loss program…. thanks for reminding me I’m fat!

  7. Jenn Bontrager January 6, 2016 at 9:56 pm #

    When we were new to OKC I was so lonely and dying to make some friends. A lady from our new church messaged me and started chatting. I was so excited but it quickly turned to hurt feelings when I realized she was just trying to sell me zeal. Not cool

    • Sarah January 11, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

      I’m with ya! I recently moved to a new area and it has been difficult to figure out who actually wants to get to know me, and who sees me as a warm body with a wallet. MLMers are trained to look for warm leads EVERYWHERE and it has ruined friendships for me too.

  8. Erica Concilio January 7, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

    I think it’s really unfortunate that the title is “Direct Sales are Ruining My Friendships.” Your friend who asked you to join her business ruined that friendship, by seeing you as a business commodity first, not a friend first. She wasn’t a good friend, direct sales or not. In the other instances, shallow people ruined your friendship, not their business. Direct Sales is all about relationships, and if you don’t handle that well, then you’re correct, you can hurt friendships and will likely not have a successful business. But that’s because of the person, not the business. People who are successful in direct sales are genuinely invested in finding other people who have a need for the business model. Not in creating fake relationships for their own benefit. And if your friend is unsuccessful in building her business because she acts like a fake friend, I hope she’ll receive your grace down the road.

    • Jacque January 11, 2016 at 7:39 pm #

      I disagree, the “business models” for these direct sales companies tell you to ask your friends. They have saying like, “no just means they need mute information.” When you’re life literally becomes the MLM, you only focus on those that are part of your team or you can make money from.

  9. Kim January 9, 2016 at 7:58 am #

    This!!! We moved and the first people who befriended me were ds women. I went along with one for about a month. I finally told her I wasnt interested. She stopped calling, texting, nothing from her. I even invited her to my kid’s birthday party. There are a lot of comments defending ds, but my Facebook is full of them and they have no interest in me. I’ve made it a point to avoid ds. I refuse to buy it period.

  10. Sarah B. January 9, 2016 at 5:35 pm #

    I have had a variety of Direct Sale friends. There were a few that I hated and I ended my relationship/hid their posts. Others however, were fine. Most of my direct sales friends I explained that I don’t do parties because they make me uncomfortable, I don’t want to join their team because I hate selling things, and I still want to be their friends. One friend basically stopped talking to me because I wasn’t sell-able. The other ones have respected me and I’ve even bought from them from time to time. I just don’t like being pressured.

  11. Jen January 9, 2016 at 11:19 pm #

    YEP! I have a group of friends that now almost all have different DS businesses. Another friend and I went out to lunch and realized that they no longer invite us to anything anymore unless it’s to sell us something. I don’t need friends like that!

  12. Alison Donnelly January 11, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    Spot on and delightfully written! I hand draft personalized jewelry and my true friends surely know what I do. I would never approach them to sell to them. It kind of goes back to not mixing family/friends with business, or at least that’s the way I was raised. I think I am often nervous when friends do buy from me bc I would hate for my business to come between our friendship. Family/friends first.

  13. Jacque January 11, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

    This is so true! I hate that when I start talking to a women and I start wondering if she really wants to be friends or she’s trying to sell me something. There have been so many times where once I said, “no thank you” they stopped talking to me or avoided me. I want to be your friend, not your customer or team member.

  14. Emilee January 11, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

    I used to live in a small town where literally the only “jobs” available to women were DS. They were in this cycle of “host a party for me and I’ll host one for you.” I was invited to DS parties almost every week, for everything from oils to cleaning products to clothing. My budget couldn’t handle being “friends” with all these people!

  15. Nicole January 12, 2016 at 7:45 am #

    It is unfortunate that the author’s “fake friend” left such a bad taste. Clearly not a real friend at all. But it also makes me sad that the we have chosen to divide women/moms by writing about this in such a negative way. There are MANY moms who truly love helping people and working, but are choosing to do it via direct sales for various reasons. I wonder – does the author of the article make money for writing blog posts from the comfort of her home? And does she ever share her work with friends on FB or other avenues in order to gain more readers or affirmation for her hard-earned writing opportunities? Then, I ask, what is the difference…? There are just better things to write about than negativity that brings down many women who work from their home – author included! I wonder how she would feel if people ranted about how their friends are always forcing their opinions on others by blogging about it and gaining support via sarcasm, exaggeration, and negativity. We can do better, Women!

    • Susan SuzieQSweet January 14, 2016 at 8:37 am #

      Ooooo! I like this comment!

      You hit it on the head!

      We are marketed towards all day and night by companies paying PR and Advertising companies millions and billions to subvertly advertise to you.

      In fact, if you listen to the radio or watch movies, marketers are force feeding you and me at every turn. Audio ads have proven research to directly influence your buying behavior without being in your face.

      It is kind of like having a passive aggressive friend. Some people like to play this game.

      I don’t. Maybe the author is more offended by her decisions to not state what is her best Yes and instead continue in the passive aggressive game.

      Onto another note, even THIS blog and Facebook page market and directly sell to us. They are essentially Direct Sellers advocating THEIR events and THEIR commentary and THEIR ideas to a select Target Market with specific behaviors and buying preferences.

      It is the same idea as in this opinion piece.

      What is the difference?

      IT is ALL based on your cup of tea (or joe). What floats your boat or meets your need. Sometimes, it is just what INFLUENCES you!

      This BLOG and Multi-Level Marketing and Direct Selling and the annoying Car Dealership commercial and the PTA fundraising committee all have one thing in common – they ASK YOU TO participate and ASK YOU TO be influenced.

      It is that easy!!! Marketing and Advertising 101, 102, 201, and 311.

    • Sarah December 27, 2016 at 11:07 am #

      Preach it girl! I KNOW she is making money for writing this blog as my husbands writes sometimes for money just to help with the bills so she is trying to make money as well.

      Some people have to go the direct marketing route to make ends meet because their husband is not taking in the dough and they can’t afford child care. Sadly, it has become a two income world and sometimes you have to figure out how to make ends meet. DS people can def be over bearing and then drop you if you don’t buy the product but that is their issue and eventually their business will fail. It’s about relationships. I don’t like to see bashing/bulling of DS peeps when sometimes it’s what is feeding the family…you don’t know WHY they are doing it so don’t hate on them so much.

    • Coker December 28, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

      I thought I was the only one noticing the several ads in this article, from top to bottom.
      And surely writing from home, meaning, she is working from home and selling tickets for museums, etc. While mom’s readers go through the article.

      I think it’s not fear trying to put somebody’s work down. And honestly I don’t know what to think, while I start reading an article and skip all the ads that come with it, and at the same time reading about how bad is to receive all that messages from real women like us, or from big companies that for sure don’t care about our us.

      It is better help others using this powerful tool to enhance everybody’s the honest ways of work.

  16. Martha February 16, 2016 at 2:29 pm #

    Some of these comments are not comments, but long winded chapters. Get your own blog please. More of us feel we have to comment on your article about this honest, well written, and thoughtful article. Scroll up – notice the DS people wrote paragraphs. A-nnoy-ing!

  17. Alicia Harmon April 11, 2016 at 1:55 am #

    I was hoping I wasn’t the only one who felt this way! I can smell the fake-rapport-building messages from a mile away.

    And almost eeeeeevery friend and aquaintance I have is signing up to sell something, so I fear it’ll just get worse.

  18. Dana July 11, 2016 at 6:07 pm #

    I love reconnecting with old friends through my business. I try not to be faux, but I do know the phenomenon exists. Just last night I thought: I am not using my friends to earn more in my business, but am using my business to make more friends.

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