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Dear Annie: Business among friends gets sticky

By Annie Lane Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: I am a real estate agent in a wealthy part of Southern California. In my part of town, everyone knows everyone, especially in real estate.

I have my group of mom friends. Some of us work. Others do not. All of our kids go to the same school. We see one another multiple times every week.

My best friend in the group is a designer. She’s relatively new to the real estate world, but she has a great eye for design.

Another friend in the group is a financial adviser. She is a brilliant woman, so I hired her to manage my money, and I’m actually her Realtor.

I sold the money manager a house. I referred designer to money manager. Can you guess where this is going?

Long story short, money manager and designer had a huge falling-out. Money manager claims she fired designer. Designer claims she walked off the job. Needless to say, they both think they are right.

I really don’t care what happened between the two of them. I’m more concerned with my business. Was I stupid to refer designer to money manager? Should I find a different money manager so that we don’t have a falling-out? I like doing business with friends because I trust them, but I don’t want to lose any friends if business relationships go south. –Referral Referee

Dear Ref: Good real estate agents, designers and financial advisers are a 10-second Yelp search away. Good friends, however, are a lot harder to find.

It’s too late to repair the relationship between your two friends, but it’s not too late for you to avoid a falling-out of your own. Hire a new person to manage your money. Explain to your friend it’s precisely because you value your friendship that you want to stop doing business with her. If she’s as smart as you say she is, she’ll get it.

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