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advice about breaking bad news to friend

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phoenixgirl

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I tacked this onto the end of my house post, but I figured it would get more views (and thus more advice) on its own.

Original post:

Remember my concern about not using a friend who is still technically a realtor but not doing any business and working 9 to 5 at another job? Well, DH kept putting off telling his friend, her husband, and so we put off telling people about the house. But then we just couldn''t wait anymore, so we told people but told them not to tell.

Knowing how upset our friend was about the brother of a friend not using her, we figured it would be better for her husband to break it to her in private. So that meant we needed to tell him without her, which DH did today.


And our friend said he is not going to tell his wife! Apparently she was trying to help some other friends of his who eventually decided to go with someone else and is really upset, and he didn''t want to add to that. I just have to disagree. It is much worse to find out when some third party mentions casually that people you''re close friends with are moving without your knowledge. What a dufus.


He didn''t say he would tell her in a week after the other disappointment sinks in . . . he just said he wasn''t going to tell her and would let her find out when she finds out!


So now I don''t know what to do. It''s really our husbands who are friends (go back to high school, were in each other''s weddings, etc.) -- she and I don''t call each other or anything. So I feel like it would be weird for me to call her up just to drop a bomb her wussy husband was afraid to drop on her. The only other thing I can think of is to post a bulletin on MySpace, which would show up when she logs in since we are friends on there. That way she would find out from a computer and could let it sink in without having to get upset in front of whoever lets it slip. What do you think? Yes, that''s tacky, but I really think the key is for her to be able to get upset without being in front of people.


Advice?
 

Dee*Jay

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Phoenixgirl, as a realtor myself I have to say that I would rather find out from you than by hearing it from a third person or discovering it via computer.

My advice would be to practice the message that you want to get across a few times before you talk to her. Make it brief but honest--and as kind as you can. Then give her a call and tell her. If you get her voicemail you *could* leave a message, but honestly it would be much better if you were able to reach her in person.

You mention that she has another job and she''s not really doing any real estate business right now. Maybe you could play the card that since she has this other job and she''s not really doing any real estate business at the moment that you figued she must be phasing out of that industry but you just wanted to let her know as a courtesy?

My two cents, for whatever they''re worth...
 

strmrdr

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Date: 1/1/2007 8:58:38 PM
Author: Dee*Jay
Phoenixgirl, as a realtor myself I have to say that I would rather find out from you than by hearing it from a third person or discovering it via computer.

My advice would be to practice the message that you want to get across a few times before you talk to her. Make it brief but honest--and as kind as you can. Then give her a call and tell her. If you get her voicemail you *could* leave a message, but honestly it would be much better if you were able to reach her in person.

You mention that she has another job and she''s not really doing any real estate business right now. Maybe you could play the card that since she has this other job and she''s not really doing any real estate business at the moment that you figued she must be phasing out of that industry but you just wanted to let her know as a courtesy?

My two cents, for whatever they''re worth...
well said and saved my arm :}
 

Cehrabehra

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I don''t think the myspace ideal is totally horrible IF you were going to announce it there *anyway*. I wouldn''t be phoney about this at all.... if she confronts you you can honestly say your husband told her husband and *he* can deal with whatever fallout occurs because of the method he chose. I wouldn''t call her because I think that would make it seem like a bigger deal than it is.... then let her make this as big of a deal as she needs to on her own. Guilt isn''t a professional quality we seek out in those we wish to help us conduct our business.
 

Dee*Jay

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Date: 1/2/2007 9:56:00 AM
Author: Cehrabehra
I don't think the myspace ideal is totally horrible IF you were going to announce it there *anyway*. I wouldn't be phoney about this at all.... if she confronts you you can honestly say your husband told her husband and *he* can deal with whatever fallout occurs because of the method he chose. I wouldn't call her because I think that would make it seem like a bigger deal than it is.... then let her make this as big of a deal as she needs to on her own. Guilt isn't a professional quality we seek out in those we wish to help us conduct our business.
I was just thinking that because there is a *personal* connection (even if it is mostly between the husbands) in addition to a potential professional connection that a little extra sensitivity is called for in this situation.
 

Cehrabehra

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Date: 1/2/2007 10:00:09 AM
Author: Dee*Jay

Date: 1/2/2007 9:56:00 AM
Author: Cehrabehra
I don''t think the myspace ideal is totally horrible IF you were going to announce it there *anyway*. I wouldn''t be phoney about this at all.... if she confronts you you can honestly say your husband told her husband and *he* can deal with whatever fallout occurs because of the method he chose. I wouldn''t call her because I think that would make it seem like a bigger deal than it is.... then let her make this as big of a deal as she needs to on her own. Guilt isn''t a professional quality we seek out in those we wish to help us conduct our business.
I was just thinking that because there is a *personal* connection (even if it is mostly between the husbands) in addition to a potential professional connection that a little extra sensitivity is called for in this situation.
I hadn''t read any of the other posts when I responded - but I admit I have a similar thing in the back of my mind.

There''s a real estate agent whom was a close acquaintance, we shared a circle of friends, and when I found this house - as a FSBO I told her about it and told her what we planned to do on our own and she volunteered and offered to look over the paperwork and we said okay sure... well she gave us *several* bad advice which we thankfully did not take, and yet totally took over the transaction and got her nose bent when we decided not to sell our other house. We told her several times that we were considering keeping it and she kept saying we shouldn''t. Well we did and it went up 70k in just the first 6 months. She also kept trying to get us to not buy this house - we *loved* this house (still do) and she kept pushing this house about 20 minutes away in an entirely different community on a VERY busy road and we wanted nothing to do with it. Kept saying the road we live on is just as busy (think 45mph through way vs 20mph quiet lol) and this property we bought is subdividable and we''re looking at making a chunk off of it... We never asked her to run all of the paperwork, we never even asked her to look OVER the paperwork, and here we are feeling horrible because she''s irritated that she''s not going to get a commission off of our other house - and apparently irritated because we''re not buying a house that''s listed so she can get a buyer commission. So I''ve already decided 100% that we will not use her for *this* house. She knows squat about old houses or this special neighborhood and I wouldn''t trust her with this one. The other house I''d trust her with - it''s run of the mill sort of house - but frankly I don''t want to have to deal with her in a professional way at this point. If we listed the house I don''t think I''d call her to tell her hey we''re not using you! I guess I don''t see how that is *more* sensitive. Lazy on my part, avoidant as well.... but it seems very INsensitive to make a point to go out of my way just to reject her. In the above situation they did tell her husband and HE is thinking its best to not say anything... I''d just go with that, especially since the women themselves aren''t friends and don''t talk. It just seems like yeah hey I never call you but I''m calling you now to let you know that you''ve been rejected!
 

crown1

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if her husband doesn''t want to tell her i would not either. sometimes you really do say it best by saying nothing at all.

no need in creating drama. i never do business with friends or relatives. no exceptions. good luck!
 

Shay37

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Date: 1/2/2007 3:03:30 PM
Author: crown1
if her husband doesn't want to tell her i would not either. sometimes you really do say it best by saying nothing at all.

no need in creating drama. i never do business with friends or relatives. no exceptions. good luck!
PG, this is what I would tell her when she finds out. If you tell her is up to you, but I think that her husband knows her best. When she finds out and calls to confront you or if she does, simply tell her that you do not mix business with friendship or relatives. If you have in the past, tell her it's your new year's resolution due to some unfortunate incident that happened with a friend of a friend. Keep it vague. Just say Oh, I thought you knew this about me." like it was a foregone conclusion that you don't or that it had been mentioned in some context or another and move on. HTH

shay
 

Cehrabehra

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Date: 1/2/2007 3:03:30 PM
Author: crown1
if her husband doesn''t want to tell her i would not either. sometimes you really do say it best by saying nothing at all.

no need in creating drama. i never do business with friends or relatives. no exceptions. good luck!
oh the irony - the woman I was talking about above, I told her the SAME thing and over the course of two years she kept saying all her best customers were friends etc. and when I called her it was just to vent and she stepped right in.... ugh!! I didn''t say it the same way as crown did above, but if I had a bone of brevity in my body it sums it up in that top sentence above!
 

phoenixgirl

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Well, she found out through some third party and is very upset. OK, we knew that would happen eventually (would have been sort of awkward for her to see that our condo was for sale or to be invited to a house warming party without prior notice). But her husband pretended that he didn''t know! So now she thinks we didn''t even try to tell her.

My husband is a very kind person, and he went out to lunch with his friend, who laid it on DH that the wife is very upset with us and feels betrayed. Now DH says that we are in the wrong and need to make amends. He said things like, "Well, her feelings are real" and "I would have paid $10,000 more to keep the friendship" when telling me about it. He plans to call her and apologize.

OK, fine, I get that he wants to smooth things over with her for the sake of his friendship, but I really feel that we don''t have anything to apologize for, especially considering that her husband''s deception is playing a role in all of this. He was just trying to avoid the inevitable and then chose to lie when the inevitable happened.

I also don''t get my DH''s responses. Remember when I was heart-broken that I hadn''t gotten my diamond band? DH was sympathetic for about half an hour and then got angry at me, implying that my feelings weren''t justified and I had to get over it. Where was the "her feelings are real" then? I really do believe that if your feelings are unjustified then you just bear them yourself. I got really mad at my sister over stupid things when we were under a lot of stress because our dad had just had a stroke, and she overheard me complaining about her to my husband on the phone. She burst in and confronted me and demanded to know why I hadn''t told her . . . it was because deep down I knew that my feelings were wrong and stupid and I should just vent them without dumping them on her.

And being willing to potentially lose tens of thousands of dollars for the sake of a friendship . . . what kind of a friend would want you to do that?

It''s DH''s friendship, and he can handle it however he wants, but I know we''ve been really good friends to them, and we don''t deserve this. In addition to her failed attempt at being a realtor, she also got into selling jewelry. Whenever she has a party I always go, even though I don''t know anyone and only like diamonds
, and buy something. She loves to play games and plans these game nights where she wants you to submit a game with a description, approximate playing time, etc. and then makes a big schedule of who is supposed to play what game (and no one else finds this nearly as exciting as she does). And not surprisingly, she takes it personally when people don''t come and talks smack about them. She also always underpays group tabs, where what she contributes doesn''t even add up to her total, let alone tip and tax, and gets angry if her husband tries to pay more. I know I''m being petty in even mentioning these things; it''s just that I think we already give a lot more than we get, and now all we are getting is dumped on!
 

Skippy123

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I am sorry that is awful.
 

diamondseeker2006

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So the issue is that you didn''t use her to list the condo you are selling? That is an awkward situation, but your husband should have forseen that she would have been upset and dealt with that possibility beforehand. I''m sorry, but it is our reposnsibility to be wise with our money, so I do not see how losing $10,000 in order to have pleased her would have been a good idea! I think my response now would be to verbally or in writing tell her that you are deeply sorry if you have offended her, but it is your policy as a couple not to do business with friends since feelings can be so easily hurt when things don''t go as planned.

As to her husband, I''m not at all impressed that he lied to her making things even worse for you and your husband. It sounds like he is afraid of her, too.

You owe her nothing but an apology for the misunderstanding and lack of communication...although I would be VERY tempted to tell her that you were concerned and DID tell her husband!!! Grrr!
 

Cehrabehra

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Date: 1/6/2007 2:40:51 PM
Author: phoenixgirl
Well, she found out through some third party and is very upset. OK, we knew that would happen eventually (would have been sort of awkward for her to see that our condo was for sale or to be invited to a house warming party without prior notice). But her husband pretended that he didn''t know! So now she thinks we didn''t even try to tell her.

My husband is a very kind person, and he went out to lunch with his friend, who laid it on DH that the wife is very upset with us and feels betrayed. Now DH says that we are in the wrong and need to make amends. He said things like, ''Well, her feelings are real'' and ''I would have paid $10,000 more to keep the friendship'' when telling me about it. He plans to call her and apologize.

OK, fine, I get that he wants to smooth things over with her for the sake of his friendship, but I really feel that we don''t have anything to apologize for, especially considering that her husband''s deception is playing a role in all of this. He was just trying to avoid the inevitable and then chose to lie when the inevitable happened.

And being willing to potentially lose tens of thousands of dollars for the sake of a friendship . . . what kind of a friend would want you to do that?
I''m sorry about all of this.... this sort of thing sets me on edge big time. THE HUSBAND LIED TO HIS WIFE. If she feels betrayed she should know who betrayed her. I''m sure all the nice people out there think protect the marriage, take the hit upon yourselves, but that''s not me. I cannot be in relationships with people who lie like this and I wouldn''t hesitate to tell the woman that we let the husband know and let his chips fall where they may.

As for the very last line - I don''t think she would *want* you to lose that - she probably isn''t even aware of that possibility. She sounds particularly oblivious, which isn''t a crime, but I wouldn''t sacrifice who you are because of her lack of esteem or the lies of her husband.

I think being nice, compassionate, and kind is a wonderful thing but for me it can not be at the expense of the truth.
 

qtiekiki

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So sorry that you have to go through these drama when trying to get a house.

I simply don''t think she has the right to be upset. Just because you are friends doesn''t mean you are each other professionals. I think it''s a nice gesture on your part to inform the husband, but it''s by no mean necessary. It was her husband''s choice not to tell her. I also feel like friends should want what is best for their friends, not what''s best for them. With that said, it seems she is considering what''s good for her. You or your DH shouldn''t feel bad. I disagree with the way your DH wants to handle it, but I can understand his position. It''s all about separation of personal and professional relationship, and whether all parties involved can make that separation. You seem to be the only one who can.

Iif I was in that situation, this is what I would do. But I am pretty straight forward. I would tell the wife "I know you are upset, but I don''t feel and shouldn''t be obliged to use you even though we are friends. As our friend, I hope you understand that we are trying to do what''s best for us and that you can be supportive of our decision." I would leave it at that. I am not trying to be insensitive. I just really don''t understand when people assume that their friends will use them if their friends are looking for someone in their profession and then get upset when the assumption is not true.

Hope everything works out fine for you.
 

Dee*Jay

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Yikes--misery all around!

Well first of all it was *wrong* for her husband to lie to her (even by omission by pretending that he didn''t know). I do understand how it could happen in a moment of panic when he didn''t want to hurt her and so he just bluted some thing out (or in this case pretended ignorance), but it was still wrong.

Is it too late to salvage the relationship by calling her and saying that you don''t do business with friends or relatives, which was suggested earlier? That might not make her *happy* but at least she would have some sort of reason that she could understand that would explain why you didn''t use her.

Also, I''m not trying to say that you *should* have used or, or even that you owe her any sort of explanation, but I really feel like a little kindness might not be a bad thing. Especially since the husbands are friends and you are likely to see her in social situations in the future.

So sorry it is panning out this way Phoenixgirl.
 

Mara

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well i don''t think you ''owe'' them anything...esp since you did try to tell her hubby and he skipped out on responsiblity for telling her, shame on him and your DH should have told him ''hey buddy you could have prevented this if you had just told her up front...and now there could be potential drama''. why don''t people just act like adults?! i agree with QT re being honest and call her and say ''i am sorry you had to hear about this third party...i had hoped to avoid an unpleasant situation, but here is the reasoning and i hope this doesn''t affect our friendship as i do value it... but i just don''t do business with friends'' etc. i prefer honesty and sincerity over anything...but it is a total drag that it turned out this way when you had good intentions. her husband should be ashamed of himself for totally copping out. seriously, is she that scary?

good luck!!
 

Dee*Jay

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Date: 1/6/2007 3:49:40 PM
Author: Mara

seriously, is she that scary?
Ha ha, now I have this image of Annette Benning in American Beauty chanting "I will sell this house today! I will sell this house today!"

(Sorry -- had to interject that little bit of humor!)
 

decodelighted

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The way she's acted (your whole laundry list of things) ... she's not a friend, she's a FRENEMY! Is there any way to explain WHY you feel the way you do to your husband?

What a terrible fix HER HUSBAND had put you in. You have every right to be angry with HIM! Too scared of his own wife, puhleeze.
Give 10K to "keep" this so-called friendship??
RIDICULOUS!!!!!!
 

movie zombie

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ok, admittedly i haven''t read each and every word of each and every post but here''s my take:

everyone messed up, especially the husbands. it is their friendship and if they want to maintain it, then let them take care of it. not every friendship requires that the wives join in. this is probably one of them.

if your husband was willing to pay $10K more then he should have done so.

if you wish to approach this woman, then lay it on the line that you were hesitant to tell her yourself and most importantly why you were hesitant to do so. tell her you made a mistake in going to her husband instead of directly to her. tell her you understand and respect her feelings but you feel like your feeling are not being taken into account. apologize for not being more adult and dealing with the situation directly in the first place. tell her that if she wishes to remain acquaintances, you will deal with her as one adult to another. however, you will not again be put in this position. tell your husband the same. let the chips fall where they will with this couple. neither are friendship material in my opinion and if your husband thinks they are then let him deal with them. let him deal with her being in a snit.

learning lesson: honesty even when difficult may keep a bad situation from being even worse.....

note: i''d feel like my husband wasn''t backiing me and i''d be really really pissed. let them have their so-called friendship. i''m sure you have other people you can hang out with....with and without your husband.


movie zombie
 

Cehrabehra

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now that I''ve cooled off a bit (LOL) I agree with some others to just lay it out - tell her that not only do you not like to work with friends but THIS is exactly WHY you don''t like to work with friends... imagine if a deal had gone bad??!! I would tell her "I was under the impression that my husband told yours" (and let the two men figure out who is gonna take the fall) and tell her you should have talked to her yourself (the men are dorks obviously) but that it wouldn''t have changed the outcome because you feel very uncomfortable doing business for anything over $50 (or whatever you pay for in necklaces - point out that you DO support her business at a level you''re comfortable with.) and that all of this stress in the relationship is exactly *why* you don''t do business with friends. Seriously - imagine how bad it *could* have been!!!

And tell your dh he doesn''t get any dessert tonight!!
 

aljdewey

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Date: 1/6/2007 3:40:07 PM
Author: qtiekiki

Iif I was in that situation, this is what I would do. But I am pretty straight forward. I would tell the wife ''I know you are upset, but I don''t feel and shouldn''t be obliged to use you even though we are friends. As our friend, I hope you understand that we are trying to do what''s best for us and that you can be supportive of our decision.'' I would leave it at that. I am not trying to be insensitive. I just really don''t understand when people assume that their friends will use them if their friends are looking for someone in their profession and then get upset when the assumption is not true.

Hope everything works out fine for you.
Amen - exactly what I was going to recommend. You are not *obliged* to use a friend.....and if she has a problem with that, then you can simply say, "I''m sorry that you feel that way, but we made the choice that we felt was best for us."

Further, if she comes back with "well, why didn''t you tell me" or "I wouldn''t feel upset if you''d just told me".......I''d not say anything about having told the husband, for two reasons.

1) It likely wouldn''t "absolve" you in her mind even if you did because you still made the choice not to use her, and that won''t change. It''s not up to you to make sure she knows her husband is a schmuck....she''ll find that out for herself.

2) Saying "well, we DID try to tell you - through you husband" implies that you felt obligated to explain yourselves to her, and that''s just wrong on its face. You don''t have to explain yourself or your choices.

Lastly, if she had learned of it and asked you why, it''s easy enough to spare feelings by saying "I''ve heard that there''s a lot of pressure for realtors to push for placement into homes being offered through their own agencies, and I realized that you could be put into an awkward position if we were interested in a house your agency didn''t list. We wouldn''t want to do anything to strain our friendship with you, so we felt it best to avoid that possibility."

Bottom line - you don''t owe an explanation, and shouldn''t feel compelled to offer one unless asked, but there''s nothing wrong with a diplomatic answer if you are asked.
 

gail013

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As a realtor myself, I find this whole situation was dealt with very unprofessionally by your realtor ''friend''. I think she has so few business prospects that she relies on her ''friends'' to supply all of her business. I am just dealing with a situation where a very good friends sister went through a house I could have helped her buy, and never even thought to ask me to help her, as I was in a open house on the other end of town. I am not happy about it, but I certainly am not going to make myself look like an idiot about it.

I try to give business to my friends where I can, but I am very aware of not ''expecting'' it from my friends, as it just causes hurt feelings. I am wondering if you are better just leaving this situation alone. I mean you don''t want to be dealing with all of this again anyway. Maybe she will get the hint. When you see her, tell her your husband talked to hers, end of story. I also wouldn''t feel obliged to buy jewelry from those home parties.l I mean how have they supported you? Does her husband give yours alot of business?
 

Girlrocks

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I agree that it is unprofessional for your "friend" to bully/guilt her friends and their families to use her. I personally have a lot of friends who are in professions that I could have used at one point or another, but I find it best to not mix business and friends/family. Usually spells trouble.

As for your husband feeling that you owe her an apology...for what? Selling your condo? What the heck?????

I would let it go at the this point, no apologies, etc. It''s your hubby''s friendship with her hubby, so you know guys can just go on as if nothing ever happened. And if she ever has the gall to bring it up to you in person, just tell her that you are sorry that she took it personally and got her feelings hurt, but it''s a business decision and you don''t use family or friends for business for exactly this reason...people get their emotions involved and get their feelings hurt. And tell her that you discussed it with her husband and it was his decison to keep it from her. Good luck.
 
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