Aunt Dandelion is an advice blog offered to help readers solve simple or perplexing problems related to social and business etiquette. Ask Aunt Dandelion when you have a problem, and check back soon for answers. Send your conundrums to Or follow Aunt Dandelion on Facebook!

Giving friends the business

I have an old acquaintance with whom I attended university. I am planning a wedding and was in the market for a coordinator. She works for a planning company in the area, and so I called them. As it turns out, their rates are not nearly within my budget and I will probably choose another company. How do I politely decline services without making for an awkward run-in in the future? – MK
Aunt Dandelion replies:

Shakespeare said, “Neither a borrow nor a lender be.” His meaning was that once you come under obligation to a friend, or allow them to be obliged to you, the financial interest will trump the friendship. Aunt Dandelion cautions that trading with a friend in business can create a similar situation.

There is nothing wrong with asking a friend to provide a quote for a service if you are confident in the quality of their company. However, business is business and friendship is friendship. You must make purchasing decisions based on rational grounds such as your budget. If your friend who does wedding coordination understands business, you should not have any difficulty in thanking her for the quote and informing her that the proposal did not meet your needs.

Be careful not to ask friends for business proposals with the expectation that they will give you a favorable price. This can create resentment in the relationship, and, as Shakespeare predicts, you could end up losing a friend for a very silly reason.

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