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From Friends to Frenemies

Best Friends Forever? Here's 10 things that can go wrong while working with your best friend.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

From Friends to Frenemies

If you’re a woman, you probably have a BFF – or at least you had one back in fifth grade. But when best friends combine business and pleasure, sometimes they end up more like frenemies than besties.

On Tuesday, June 21, “The Cupcake Girls” are back, baking and icing their way to the top as they try to find just the right recipe for working together.

Thinking about starting a business with your BFF? Here’s a list of the top 10 worst things that can happen while working with your best friend:

1. Getting too personal
Your best friend knows all about your hubby, your kids, your mother and your recurring yeast infections, which means you can use them all as excuses to get out of work, right? Wrong.

Stay-Friends Solution: Don’t take advantage of your pal’s intimate role in your life. Sure, everyone needs personal time, but she might not understand when you have to skip out to get a haircut with your mother-in-law.

2. All work and no play make you a dull friend
Suddenly, going out for Friday night cocktails with your BFF feels more like a business meeting. Try as you may to avoid it, work seems to creep into every conversation.

Stay-Friends Solution: Try to separate work time from fun time. If you’re doing a Pilates class together, focus on that – not on last quarter’s revenues.

3. Familiarity breeds contempt
You used to look forward to getting a manicure or going for skim cappuccinos with your BFF – but now, you’re spending 40 hours a week together! Enough is enough.

Stay-Friends Solution: Give each other space. Saturday night drinks might not seem so appealing anymore, but brunch every other Sunday is a great way to catch up on personal stuff.

4. You have a falling out
You’ve been best friends since middle school, but after the way your BFF embarrassed you during that client meeting, you’re not so sure you can forgive her.

Stay-Friends Solution: Treat your BFF with the same respect you’d offer a colleague or boss. It’ll make the workday more pleasant, and ensure that your friendship is even more successful than your business.

5. “I’m (cough cough) sick”
Who are you kidding? Your best friend is going to know when you’re just pretending to be sick. And she may be even less sympathetic than a typical colleague when you want to nurse your PMS, and she gets stuck with all the work.

Stay-Friends Solution: Save your sick days for when you’re really sick — your BFF doesn’t want your stomach bug, anyway!

6. You (or she) won’t shut the bleep up
You’ve spent so much time talking about how your hubby blew your anniversary that it’s 1 p.m. already — and nothing has gotten done.

Stay-Friends Solution: Carve out at least 30 minutes a day to catch up on personal stuff — then save the rest for after-hours.

7. Admit it: You’re slacking off
You know that project is overdue, but it’s just so NICE outside. Surely you’re pal will understand if it’s a little late, right?

Stay-Friends Solution: Don’t take advantage of your friend’s worker-bee nature. She may be a bit of a workaholic, but that doesn’t mean you should take a two-hour lunch.

8. Fighting about money
If you’re working with your best pal, you’re splitting everything 50-50 right? Not necessarily. What if one of you is doing more work than the other: Who should be paid more?

Stay-Friends Solution: Before you begin working with a friend, draw up a firm agreement about who makes what. Plan to review the agreement every six months to see anyone is due for a raise – or if one of you should consider going part-time.

9. One of you needs to be laid off or fired
Most of us get the axe at some point in our lives. But how awkward is it to be fired in front of your best friend? And what if you’re the one who has to deliver the pink slip?

Stay-Friends Solution: If your friend is not holding up her end of the bargain, you might need to let her go. If she’s really underperforming, she’s probably not happy at the job anyway — and cutting her loose might be the best thing you can do for her.

10. One of you wants to quit
In any relationship, sometimes it’s time to move on. But how could your pal leave you in the lurch like that?

Stay-Friends Solution: Don’t begrudge your BFF’s decision to quit. Work is a very personal thing, and her career goals may be different than yours. Enjoy the time you spent together, then start looking forward to the next chapter of your friendship.

• Running a business isn’t always full of rainbow sprinkles and sugar flowers. Can you handle it? CLICK HERE to take the quiz and find out!

• What does it take to climb the career ladder? We’ve got 7 tips from bosses on how to lead and succeed. CLICK HERE for more.

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