How to Avoid BFF Crush and Burn
We all have “crushes,” lots of them and I am NOT talking about romantic ones. Creative, friendship, or business crushes. If you’re like me or any of the 800 passionate clients I’ve had the good fortune to work with over the last 10 years, you are genuinely interested in people and have that entrepreneurial spirit running through your veins. You are in love with the magic of connection, ideas, and potential synergy. Plus, you don’t like to do things alone, for the most part, especially stuff you’re not great at. Add that with your propensity for brainstorming, connections, and partnership building and you having that urge to merge. Instant Biz BFF’s.
Maybe you’re at a women’s networking group and one of you is a mad scientist with website design and the other a biz strategist, and you say a giant “OMG! We have to create a project together!” and in that moment it feels like a great idea. You bond, you finish each other’s sentences, you even buy lipstick at the same Sephora counter. Or maybe you read someone’s post on how brilliant they are at SEO and the 17 million followers they generated overnight, with a boatload of just add water and watch the money rolling in testimonials, and you day dream about living the good life while doing good in the world! You get on the phone with the person and they not only massage all your biz pain points, they even bring the lemongrass scented oil that gets all the kinks out of them. They validate your frustrations and remind you what a rockstar with unlimited “potential” as a thought leader you are. You feel GOOD about this connection!
And when it works, it’s magical, effortless, and divine intervention doing its thing. You marvel at how easily it flowed into your life…..until, it doesn’t. You start to have mixed feelings, you see the red flags along the side of the road, and you’re going 80 mph into the Crush and Burn territory.
As women, we want to please, we don’t want to disappoint people, and we certainly don’t want to appear flaky. So it’s human that when we decide we need to question our decision, we start to beat ourselves up, feel guilty about committing too fast, and start second-guessing our instincts that say “run don’t walk”. But you bristle when you think that you “led them on” and rationalize, “they are basically such a nice person,” blah blah blah.
Been there, done that, got the chocolate stains on the T-Shirt to prove it; and so have so many of my clients have!
I call that being in the Crush and Burn Territory. Don’t worry, you can get out quick! And make sure you don’t keep doing it!
Here’s Seven Sassy Steps to Address Your Crush and Burn:
- Journal about Your Fears and Trepidation- I set pen to paper and all the recovering good girl b.s. starts to fall by the wayside and in its place, our truth emerges. Give yourself full 100% permission to let it rip; all the feelings, concerns, guilt, mixed feelings, just let them out on paper.
- Breathe- Take a few good deep breaths and congratulate yourself for being willing to be honest with yourself about what you fear and the feelings you’re having. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel. Sometimes just expressing our feelings provides such a cathartic relief.
- Reach out to 2-3 healthy, supportive people in your community who will give you a reality check and who know you- Nothing’s more healing then getting support from an objective source who cares and whose only agenda is helping you make the right decision. Ask them if it’s a good time to share, and then clarify your concerns and feelings and, to the best of your ability, get really clear about the type of feedback you need.
Questions like: “Hey , I know I often make a commitment and get all excited and then back out; do you sense that’s what’s going on here?” Or: “Hey, would you have had the same reaction if that person said such and such to you ?” Or: “Is there maybe more information I need? Better boundaries?”
- Be present with the feedback- Let your trusted transformational truth tellers share their uncensored feedback. Breathe, and feel it in your body. Does it ring true? Is it just their own perspective or does it resonate for you as well?
- Write down some options for next steps- When we feel trapped, we often go to a black and white, “gotta bolt” or “gotta bite the bullet” mode. In reality, there’s a whole place in between. Maybe there’s some questions to ask, or information to gather before powerfully choosing whether or not it’s a fit or fate to move on.
Recently, I had a speaker colleague come to me seriously thinking of hiring a business developer to fast-track her business. They promised all kinds of things, like packing their schedule with speaking engagements, helping them with their website, and generating SEO. They had an impressive client list and an equally impressive price tag for their services; it was no small investment. They were impatient around jumpstarting their business and hungry to sign on the dotted line, but all of a sudden started to have mixed feelings. She shared her concerns and touted all the wonderful things this person said and how generous off the clock they had been thus far. Nothing in this vendor’s character had screamed charlatan at all, BUT, and there’s a giant but, my colleague didn’t ask enough questions and therefore didn’t have enough information. We chatted for 30 minutes and after she shared her concerns. I gave her a list of questions to ask this person and the best way to approach them. For example:
“I love your energy and enthusiasm; have you ever worked with a speaker who was just starting out with next to no following?”
“What have been the results? May I speak to that person?”
“What is a realistic time frame where I will see results, based on your past performance?”
“Can you show me a before and after of a website (blot out their names of course) where SEO led to speaking engagements?”
“What will be the strategy or plan with me as your client?”
My colleague called me back two weeks later, and offered to take me out to dinner for helping her vet this expert. The person got exceedingly defensive and accused her of not trusting the process, of being a control freak, and also pushed harder. The deal fell apart and she got her “non-refundable” deposit back; clearly the person didn’t want any trouble.
- Always start the conversation with curiosity and clarity- If you feel you’ve made a bad decision or are having mixed feelings, simply start with statements like, “While I really like your personality,” or “I see you do great work, but I am curious about a few things…..” and ask those questions. If you are sure that it’s not a right fit, you can simply say, “I’ve had some time to review and given the fact that right now my focus is (blah blah blah) I’m going to go in a different direction, but I really want to thank you for your time.” Remember, “no” is a complete sentence.
- Practice Preventative Measures to avoid Crush and Burn in the Future- Next time you find yourself so excited by a potential BFF biz connection (or even friendship), let the enthusiasm fly but DON’T make any commitments right off the top. PAUSE. Sleep on it. Make it bite sized. A simple pause and “Wow we have so much synergy, let me get your card or friend you on FB and let’s touch base next (whenever) and get to know each other better”.
It’s so easy to get ahead of ourselves that we lose ourselves. But when we allow ourselves to enjoy the synergy of meeting a hopefully aligned like-minded person, we can trust that that same simpatico will still be there two or three days later, when the chocolate martinis have left your system and you can get a clearer idea of the different partnerships that are right for you. Enthusiasm and love of new ideas, people, and partnerships are wonderful, just slow it down a bit to give yourself the gift of discernment and powerfully choosing.
Thanks for reading this piece and feel free to pass it on to others you know will make a difference for them. If you wondering how to make some changes in your life, personally and professionally, or if you want to set up a complimentary (no pressure) 30 minute session to see if working together may be a fit, e-mail me at email@example.com and in the subject field write: Let’s Tawk! and we’ll set up a time to speak.
Lois Barth is a human development expert, motivational speaker, coach, and thrilled to have delivered her first ‘book child,’ “Courage to SPARKLE: The Audacious Girls’ Guide to Creating a Life that Lights You Up”. She champions women to share their brilliance and to live an authentic life. She speaks at women’s conferences all over the country and has been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fitness, Weight Watchers, and MSNBC.com to name a few.
Great article, Lois! Love the advice and your writing style.