This last week I’ve been bombarded on all fronts by the fine line that we tread between work and personal
Business and friends, friendship and commerce. It’s a tricky line to walk or even sometimes see. Friends become clients and clients become friends.
It’s an intensely personal experience when looking for a home for someone; for most people purchasing their primary residence is one, if not the biggest expenditure that they will make.
And so our journey together is often fraught but ultimately, I hope, rewarding. If it’s with friends who I considered close already, we’ll become closer, speaking on a daily basis like a new romance with all the possibility and expectation that brings.
Our inner psyche will be revealed in a way that hadn’t been realised in the past – when decisions about where to have supper and what to buy as a birthday present were more prevalent.
If it’s a client who converts to friendship – which is natural enough given the amount of time we spend together – we already know from one another our good and bad points, revealed through how we’ve dealt with pressurised situations, and in some cases disappointment.
Historically I’ve been very fortunate and no friendships have been ruptured, just new ones built. I’ve always tried to put friendship before business – rightly or wrongly. But this last week I’ve been bombarded on all fronts by the fine line that we tread between work and personal. And I’ve been caught in the maelstrom of personal battles – some of them not my own.
‘Disappointment,’ as my close friend, an eminent psychiatrist, pointed out, ‘is an understated and potent emotion.’ And I’ve come to realise that – from those we love, care for or hold in high esteem, we have certain expectations. And when these are not fulfilled it hits us hard.
I realise that I’m being rather opaque but sometimes when emotions are raw it’s better to take that path and not engage in the nitty-gritty of what’s right and wrong. The thing is when you can see both sides of the story, but your love and loyalty is indubitably tipped to one scale, there is only one way you can go. As a film director friend of mine commented frankly once, ‘It’s my way or the highway.’ We’re confined by our loyalties that determine the battles we choose – or have the energy – to fight.
For me friendship is something valuable – history and time, and knowledge of the other gives an ease and comfort that can’t be recreated in ten minutes. There is always the excitement of the new, and that’s a good thing. But the long standing, the tried and sometimes tested, is like that old cashmere jumper in the back of our closet that still fits us more comfortably than any snazzy new apparel. It’s worth preserving.