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to have it dawn on me that I'm being flagrantly used by a mate?

(46 Posts)
theonlytruththatsticks Tue 06-Sep-11 12:28:17

This post ain’t witty, shocking, or addictive/horrifying – but I do so need Mumsnet wisdom.

Bosom Buddy (BB) wants to start a business based on a highly profitable hobby. So I say, don’t pay an accountant, I’ll sort it for you (setting it up, saving tax tricks etc) because it’s my day job.

BB knows nowt about companies and it's a big job. I go to hours of trouble and along the way pick up two superb advisers for her, both free.

Then I sort out endless forms, make up BB Inc.’s docs, etc, leaving no stone unturned in terms of making her a lot more money in the long term and saving her several hundred pounds in the short term.

In response, I get short emails that start “I need you to….”

Tonight is the final step and we need to go online together for all of 10 mins. It is urgent. Can you pop round, I say (I am knackered). Oh no, she says, I have the children. (I know this. There are loads and I look after them often.) It would cost her max £4 to ask nanny to stay extra 15 mins so she can drop in to me way back from work.

BB refuses to come round. I protest. Finally I give in and say I will drop round myself. She emails me to say she wont be home yet. Accidentally using her full name that she only uses to people like her agent. So I get to cancel my evening plans to suit her by going later.

Does this sound painfully petty? Well, no. The cash she's making certainly ain’t trivial for her – and the lack of the word “thank you” ain’t for me.

Pls vote as to whether I go round tonight……

Whatmeworry Tue 06-Sep-11 12:31:25

I once afooered to help some friends for free, the relationship soured as they increasingly saw my offer to help as an obligation on my part. One weekend when they rang and said that because they were going to change their IT the next week and thus I must do a whole bunch of stuff before Sunday night. Cue me saying no, cue lots of grumpiness, cue end of friendship.

Get out OP.

Whatmeworry Tue 06-Sep-11 12:32:12

afooered - Apple Spellchecker continues to amaze, amuse and exasperate!

AMumInScotland Tue 06-Sep-11 12:33:08

Don't go round. Its "not convenient". The least she can do is put herself out to the extent of dragging her arse round to your house instead of expecting you to jump when she calls.

And say "Now you're up and running you'll have to get yourself an accountant to deal with everything".

You can't make her be grateful if she isn't, but you can stop being a mug.

Rowena8482 Tue 06-Sep-11 12:33:41

Bill her for your work - even if you then laugh and say "oops sorry, of course you don't need to actually PAY" it will let her see how much you've saved her. Oh and tonight, feet up, wine sod her. You aren't doing this for your benefit...

midnightservant Tue 06-Sep-11 12:35:44

You have done her no favours by doing what you've done already. Business is about making money and the business person should have done this stuff which would concentrate her mind on the financial and admin things which will form much of her job. I would have offered to be a mentor, and check stuff if she wanted.

You don't need to go on-line. We don't need to go on-line. She needs to go on-line. If she can't set priorities, it does not bode well for the business.

She should come to yours. She should initiate this, and negotiate a time that is convenient to you.

Merrylegs Tue 06-Sep-11 12:37:25

"It is urgent."

For who?

Not your business.

Her business.

She doesn't seem to think it is urgent.

So why should you?

Pakdooik Tue 06-Sep-11 12:39:01

sticks Let's assume that your BB is acting out of ignorance rather than conscious malice. You need to get the relationship on a business footing via a full and frank exchange of views/information.

If you do go around - I think I would to put some good will in the bank - you have to say before you do the task that this is the last gratis work she'll get from you and agree the terms of your future work for her.

carabos Tue 06-Sep-11 12:42:20

I feel for you, having had a slightly similar experience with a "friend" whom I have, to date, put into two jobs paying @£50k p.a. and prior to that provided valuable freelance work. Not only have I never had a thank you, I haven't even had an acknowledgement that I have in way been part of these successes. Worst of all, in the case of the freelance project (promoting and handling launch publicity for a very high-profile and successful restaurant locally), didn't receive an invite to the soft opening and when I rang to check that I had a reserved table, she said no and the event was fully booked so I couldn't come! I had passed her the project because the owners wanted me to do it and I couldn't because busy with other work, so not only was I expecting to be at the event, the owners were expecting to see me there shock. She is now moving on again from the latest job I found her and is onto to me about how much of my overspill is coming to her (er - that'll be none). Don't follow my example and let it go - call her on it and insist she acknowledges the value of your help. If she doesn't, dump her, life's too short.

Teachermumof3 Tue 06-Sep-11 12:43:37

Yes-definitely being used, but you aren't helping yourself by agreeing to it all.

I'd text her and say you're sorry you can't help tonight after all as some paid work has come up and you need the money.

Hullygully Tue 06-Sep-11 12:43:51

ARE YOU OFF YOUR BLEEDIN' ROCKER?

cjbartlett Tue 06-Sep-11 12:45:23

You sound a bit naive doing all that for free tbh

cjbartlett Tue 06-Sep-11 12:45:54

Or what hully said grin

MajorB Tue 06-Sep-11 12:46:20

You need to learn the MN phrase "that doesn't work for me."

Don't go round tonight, carry on with whatever plans you had. Explain briefly to her what needs to happen I.e. Give her the website she needs to go to & say you need to fill in part X, and get on with your life.

I'd also leave your mobile off tonight and say you had no signal if she queries it, otherwise you'll spend your evening talking her through what she needs to do which is just as bad.

Chalk this up to experience and move on.

JJ Tue 06-Sep-11 12:47:06

I'm with everyone saying to get out of the whole thing.

Of course, I'm crap at this myself - my husband has suggested I use this as my desktop background:
shouldiworkforfree.com/

theonlytruththatsticks Tue 06-Sep-11 12:47:07

You are all telling me what I need to hear. The trouble is I do something as a hefty favour and instead of saying thanks, all I get is "Now I want..."

And it's awful. The last business BB ran revolved heavily around her aunts doing a lot of work for nothing (they restored vintage goods which she then resold & kept the cash) which I had to point out while setting this one up was not going to continue because both the old dears were over 75. She seemed quite surprised.

Do you think she's a genuine friend or just a user?

fedupofnamechanging Tue 06-Sep-11 12:49:07

I think you should phone her and tell her that you feel the relationship has morphed from a friendship to a business relationship,-- without you actually getting paid --. Tell her that you were glad to help her get started, but it is getting a bit too much for you now and you would prefer to get the relationship back onto a 'friendship' footing. With that in mind, she will now have to find someone else to do all the business stuff for her.

I'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt and say that she just doesn't 'get' how much work is involved, but really someone who is running a business should be aware of what they would have to pay for this kind of work, if they didn't have a good mate doing it for free. With that in mind, I think she is taking the piss and treating you like an employee.

If you were my friend, I'd have insisted on paying you by now, as I would have educated myself as to what exactly you were doing and I would have come to appreciate the level of work, even if I'd started off from a position of ignorance.

You can't change her (some people are intrinsically selfish and it often takes a while to cotton on to that fact), but you can change you. Now you have woken up, it's time to call a halt to this very one sided arrangement.

JJ Tue 06-Sep-11 12:49:07

She can be a genuine friend and a user. If she's a genuine friend, then she'll still like you and want to hang out after you've stopped doing stuff for her. There's no way to know unless you do it.

ZacharyQuack Tue 06-Sep-11 12:49:42

She's a professional user.

Truffleshuffler Tue 06-Sep-11 12:54:38

Sounds like a user to me.

Honeydragon Tue 06-Sep-11 12:54:44

I think she was a friend if she did things within her remit of skills for you. Even if its babysitting/ picking up groceries.

My dh and his bf have had an unspoken agreement for years. Dh does the majority of bf DIY and bf does dh's tax returns.
This works....his house stays up and we don't go bankrupt grin

Pancakeflipper Tue 06-Sep-11 12:55:10

She could have been a genuine friend who is now so caught up in their exciting wonderful new venture wthat they have blurred the lines and need hauling back into line.

Say something or become unobtainable. Have you been friends for ages? Or has this friendship been a flash in the pan?

ShoutyHamster Tue 06-Sep-11 12:55:52

I think she's probably a friend, just a bit of a crap superficial one... the kind of friend who isn't really a smart enough cookie to retain in her brain the BIG FACT that you are continuing to do her a massive favour, so she thoughtlessly starts to take you for granted. Just because she's a bit stupid and not very savvy (as the aunts debacle indicates). Also quite selfish - she'd probably do you a favour if it didn't put her out, make excuses if it did. No way would she do for you what you're doing for her - what, someone who's prepared to argue the toss on the phone -I'm not coming over!'

No way would I be going round tonight. And I'd be saying, as I cancelled, that actually her refusal to come around had really, really pissed me off. And incase she'd actually totally forgotten the time and effort I'd put in FOR FREE, I was going to spend some of my time this evening preparing an invoice so that she could see EXACTLY WHY I was pissed off, and the rest of my time relaxing/going out, because, you see - this time remains unpaid, so I will do with it what I want. And that doesn't actually include doing favours for someone who can't put themselves out for me in return.

Tchootnika Tue 06-Sep-11 12:56:18

onlytruth - it does sound as if she's using you, yes.
But this sort of thing happens a lot, I think (sadly), when 'mates' get handed something as a favour that usually they'd pay for or wouldn't get without an effort.
Therefore, (sadly) I've come to the conclusion that it's just not worth handing stuff out on a plate like this.
So, I sound like Scrooge, maybe, but I'm happier for it, and my friendships are better, I think.

HidingInTheUndergrowth Tue 06-Sep-11 12:59:22

I think MajorB has the best plan. Send her an email and say 'If you can't make it over here today than this is what you need to do, I'm afraid I'm out tonight' Then detail exactly what she needs to sort out. Job done!

It's her business so its her job to sort it out. You should not be changing your plans. As others have said after this you need to hand over and tell her you just don't have the time to do any more for her. If you still feel friendly towards her you could say that you will check things if she's not sure but to be honest that leaves a lot of room for you ending up doing rather then helping so I would just tell her to sod off.

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