Thursday, September 21, 2006

Burned

Posted by Laural.

If you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal mind, anonymously or otherwise, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...

*******

I consider myself a pretty good friend. Those who are in my "inner circle," so to speak, know that I'm the kind of person who will support you in whatever you are doing, will have your back when it comes to gossip about you, and will generally throw herself into the friendship. The flip side of these qualities, though, is that once I feel close to someone it's possible to walk all over me. Or at least possible to get me to do what you want.

Need someone to go to coffee when you're upset? Call me. Need someone to listen while you talk ad nauseum about the guy you like? I'll sit there and listen. As my friends (slowly) start to get pregnant and have babies, I'm there for them. Yes, it sucks at first, let me watch your baby when you have a shower, what can I do to help.

I don't expect a ton in return.

But, what I hate - what I absolutely HATE is when friends try to talk me into having my own home business.

I'M NOT INTERESTED.

I've done the research. I've listened to the spiels. I've calculated the income. Before I went back to work I thought long and hard about selling candles or toys or kitchen products or make up (various kinds, no less). But at the end of the day I realized something - I don't want to.
Don't get me wrong. I've been a hostess. I've sold the products. I've been the person who sits and listens while you do a test demonstration. I've bought products I don't need for amounts of money I don't have.

That, to me, is being your friend. That, to me, is supporting you. Period. If you are making your millions selling candles more power to you. But I don't want to.

I like my job. I know that shocks people, but I do. I like my son being in daycare. I don't particularly want to be a stay at home mom. I'm making a high enough income that I can finally pay my bills and occassionally go out to dinner. I do not want to spend several extra hours in the week, the time that I do spend with my child, going to people's houses selling them various products.

A couple of weeks ago I got an e-mail from one of my friends. Our friendship has been off and on because it seems like she is always using me. I've tried so hard to end the friendship, bow out nicely, and only get together occassionally.

In fact, when I started work - the day I started work and sobbed the entire way in because I was leaving my baby - she sent me an e-mail telling me that I was awful for leaving my child, and if only I sold her products I would be a good parent (seriously) and my child would be better adjusted.

I got over that - and forgave her.

But then an e-mail came a couple of weeks ago. And, she said that she really misses me. Could we please get together at the mall we used to hang out at. My guilt complex kicked in immediately. And, I shot an e-mail back saying sure, the date worked, the time worked, and I would love to see her. Because I would. I like going for dinner with friends. Her son and mine are close in age. I wanted to share pictures, chat about mommy stuff, husband stuff and laugh about clothes we try on. I was, stupidly, looking forward to it.

And then the day before I got an e-mail. Also very friendly and chatty, saying that Surprise! She was just picking me up at said mall and taking me somewhere fun.

And I knew.

Just like you know when you're about to be dumped by a boyfriend. Just like when you see your boss coming at you with a scowl and a report covered in red marks. This wasn't going to be pretty. But, I didn't bail. Friends don't do that, right?

Know what we did? We went to an "event" where I sat for 3 hours being told about why I needed to run a business from home. I watched as seemingly sane people chanted about slogans and discussed cold calling.

This is what I sent to another friend about my night.

So ...

Last night. Totally dragged to the candle cult meeting.

It was BRUTAL.

Hot hot hot hotel meeting room and then they lit all of their candles.

And we had to do weird little chant things

And we shook marraccas and talked about trips to mexico

And learned how to do cold calling.

BRUTAL

And then at the end of the night I was asked to join them. In their weird candle worshipping cult. It was 3 hours of candle hell.

And I kept hearing lines like "I don't call this work. I call this fun." I was highly encouraged to quit my job and go sell candles.

At one point I cracked - when they kept telling us to illuminate our souls.

May I ask you - have you illuminated your soul?????

Have you?

For the record, my soul is not illuminated. I did not join or buy a startup kit.


My point here is this - I'm not knocking home based businesses. What I'm sick of, like completely utterly sick and tired of, is being made to feel like I will not be someone's friend if I do not sell their products.

If I stayed at home, didn't need the income I have, and wanted to make some extra money, I would do something like this. I think it's a great idea.

But I don't stay home. And I don't want to. I don't want to run my own business. And, if I did, sadly, it would not be a business where I sell a poduct I don't like. Sorry - but I hate candles. I never buy them. I don't really like putting out fancy knick knacks and I would never spend $85 on a little arrangement for the table. Sorry. I've said that a million times to her. I don't care about burn time. I don't care about the latest scents. I'm kind of afraid of fire.

And, I don't want to be made to feel like a lesser mom or person because I'm not interested.

All I'm saying is back off. Please. I support you. I'm your friend. But, if that isn't good enough, then enough is enough.

21 comments:

T. said...

I'm thinking she doesn't sound like a friend at all. You may have forgiven her for her email telling you you were awful for leaving your child and that your child could be better adjusted as well as your parenting improved, but you don't have to be her friend.

Someone who bases their friendship on sales is not exactly a quality friend. Yes, she may be nice and have a tonne of good qualities, but it sounds like she is making you feel like crap.

Not exactly the poster for friendship.

Good luck.

And I hate the freaking candle cults too. As well as the interior decorating cults, makeup cults and culinary tool cults...

ewe are here said...

To be honest, I would have cut your so-called-friend off when she told you that you were an awful parent for going to work. I mean really. Where do some people get off?! These are the type of people that think they can say any horrible thing they want to because 'they're just trying to be honest' or 'they know better and were only trying to help'. Please. They're just trying to validate their own lives and choices by making others feel bad.

Next time a 'friend' ambushes you like that, excuse yourself and walk out. Seriously, leave. It will be worth the cab fare. You deserve real friends. People who actually listen to you and support you.

Life is too short and hard enough without 'friends' who make it harder.

(Sorry a bit rambly; being pulled at by my toddler! ;-) )

Naomi said...

NOt a friend. Just out for the recruitment bonuses. Seriously.

I have a friend who sells products for one of those home products companies. She used to ask all the time if I wanted to buy, and from the beginning I told her, bluntly, that I supported her selling, but I had no need nor interest in most of their products, that while I agree they are good quality, I still find them overpriced and not within my budget.

For the most part, she's backed off. Although any gifts i've gotten from her (and there have not been many) have been products from them.

My mother in law, on the other hand, is a pushover. She's hosted parties for my friend, and purchased much too much stuff that she cannot afford. Because my friend "needs the money".

Good products should sell themselves.

I hear you. Taking you to an event like that without your permission would be the end for me. Actually, to be honest, I'd probably have gotten in my own car and left.

I feel for you!

Reba said...

I have a friend like that. She is constantly trying to get me to sign up for those things. I have told her multiple times that I don't want to. I am a single parent and yeah the extra money would be great, but the time spent away from my son isn't worth it. Plus I would have to find someone to watch him and possible spend money to pay sitter. So what is the point. DOesn't make sense to me.

I can't believe you have put up with her for this long. I say give her the brush off.

theotherbear said...

Put simply: What a COW!

toyfoto said...

Friends don't let friends buy junk.

They definitely don't make them sell it.

Jaelithe said...

This woman is not a friend. I do not know what category exactly she falls into, but friend is definitely not it.

You know what? I stay at home with my son. I work from home now and again. And when I am working on a major project from home, I am stressed and tired. Working from home with a small child is doing two jobs at the same time. I believe I have made the best decision for my family, but I would never push it on someone else. In fact, I have told the fellow parents who have inquired about my lifestyle because they are considering it for themselves to think carefully about it, because it is hard.

A true friend would not make you feel guilty for trying to do what you feel is best for yourself and your family. I understand why you kept giving her chances, because it's hard to make and keep friends once you have children, and motherhood can be a lonely place. But I say, good riddance to bad rubbish, and I hope you find better people to befriend soon.

Anonymous said...

I'm with the other commenters. This girl sounds like she's only interested in hanging out with you for the potential recruiting and commission bonus. And that, dear girl, is using people. No matter how nice she seems, how pleasant, she's not listening to you when you say no thanks.

Yeah, were I in your shoes, I'd run far away. And never look back.

Mrs. P said...

I truly feel your pain. Hang in there. I have the same type of friends. I will be at all their parties (and spend money I don't have) because I want to be supportive. But PLEEEEAAASE don't ask me to quit my job and sell it.

Mother Bumper said...

ouch, that was painful.

I think you summed it up best yourself when you said "I support you. I'm your friend. But, if that isn't good enough, then enough is enough." I think you answered any questions or doubts you might have with that statement.

Be strong. Not all relationships are healthy and you have to look out for yourself.

Lisa b said...

Wow Laural. You don't need people around you who will make you feel bad about your choices.
I cannot even process that stuff about the candle cult - you should have run SCREAMING from that!

Blog Antagonist said...

Once, I met a woman in McDonald's while our kids were playing, who seemed really cool. We hit it off right away, and I found myself thinking...wow, I could see myself hanging with this chick! That doesn't happen very often.

As I was getting ready to go, she said, "Oh, by the way, I'm a creative Memories Consultant..." And then she launched into her spiel. I was left with the distinct impression that she had been chatting me up only to harangue me into giving a party. And I was pissed off and hurt and I felt really stupid.

A couple months later at a PTA board meeting, I ran into her again. She was cool. I was cool. It was really a damn shame.

If people are willing to sacrifice friendships to further their bottom line, they are not worth being friends with anyway.

I've begun being brutally honest when invited to those things to make sure there is no misinterpration. "Usually I say, I'm sorry, I love spending time with you, but I loathe those home parties and I couldn't sell a colon to a colostomy patient." It usually does the trick.

Queue said...

AMEN!!!! AMEN and amen!!

did I say yes!!
If this was a church service I would shot fo sho!!!

man you said it.

whew!!

Robin said...

Holy f-in' Shit! You took the words right out of my mouf! I went to one of those "candle cult" partAYS around Christmas time and it was the fricking scariest thing I've ever experienced. Witness!
This was with a person who has tried to get me to do other crazy MLMs, as well as join inane service organizations that would bore me to tears and possibly end with me being escorted from SOME public place.
Another reason this might bother you is that YOU couldn't possibly see yourself railroading another friend into doing something like this, right? Friends don't let Friends sell tupperware!

Laural Dawn said...

You guys are all awesome - and thank you for listening to my vent. And, also for not thinking I was crazy.
I'm not dumping my friend. I'm just avoiding - and hoping that next time I'll be firmer.
At least now I'll be able to say it's not me it's her.

Anonymous said...

You said it sistah. If I get another Lia Sophia, Avon, Candle, Chef's whatever invitation I'm gonna scream. Espeically from friends who know my budget is tight and yet find it ok to try and sell me a $30.00 lemon scented candle shaped like a muffin.

Gurukarm said...

Oh honey, I am SO right there with you. We (DH & I) have tried about - well, way too many, let's say - MLM businesses - those are the ones our friends all seemed to get into. And lost money on EVERY SINGLE ONE. And, DH is really a good sales type, too. It just doesn't work for us, it seems so sort of slimy to me. Plus we live in New England where I think MLM not working is just endemic. People don't want to be chanted to and preached to and told they have to "just try this out, it's really not sales it's just talking to friends" (LIE!!)

Anyway. Stick to your guns, and really (preaching here, haha!) - DO drop that so-called friend!

Woman with kids said...

I sympathize. My mom and brother are the same way. They live several states away, but it's the lovely, long, annoying phone calls hawking amway, pre-paid legal services, etc. Grand!

willowtree said...

Ditch that bitch.

Red Rollerskate said...

Wow.
It's funny. The only way MLMs work is by selling to the people you know and love - friends and family. So by trying to earn a living, you are essentially required to annoy the living hell out of those you love.

Recently a dear girlfriend of mine got married and her hubby sold magnetic bracelets or some stupid thing. As soon as my hubby discovered this, he predicted that the friendship was over. Sure enough, the guy spent the entire breakfast talking to my husband (not to me or to us) about the "opportunities" (apparantly with some of these, the men do the selling and the women do the paperwork and just look pretty). More than once we had to interrupt and say 'we are just not interested.' Long story short, we do not hang out with them anymore. Very sad.

I think it's great that you were willing to support her, willing to buy her stuff. And great that, although you admit you can be too accomodating, you are still willing to draw the line. If it were me, I would tell her I really resented being taken to a 3-hour presentation without being asked or warned in advance. She SO should have told you.
Anyway, GREAT vent. I have felt this way many times before.

cluelesscarolinagirl said...

I had a woman do that to me at the girls school. Wanted to go to lunch. Then pulled out a MLM card.