Loyal, But Not That Loyal

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

One of my friends is starting a business. She and her partner have a
grand vision that includes international licensing and franchising,
trademarking, the whole ball of wax, and an expensive ball it has
become, in terms of legal fees and start up costs. All this without
opening the first door of their first location, a unique concept for after-
school programs. Unique but in a crowded field, bad economy, and
awkward location. I tried to give advice at the front end of this
process, last year, when the first of flush “Wow we have a great idea
that’ll set the world on fire”!!! occurred. There was too much
excitement for rationality to be heard, and I valued the friendship too
much to be the bearer of bad news. So I just kept expressing bland
support. Now they’re in trouble and trying to round up investors, all
without having even the city space permits that’ll allow them to open.
I have declined to share the “give us money please” request on Face
Book and now my friend is angry with me. I don’t want either to lose
her or suggest what I think is a bad investment. What to do?

Loyal, But Not That Loyal

Dear Not That Loyal:

Every friendship has its own rules. Some friendships are volatile and
wide open, with every subject amenable for discussion. Friends like
that sometimes fight when they disagree, but they also know how to
communicate and talk things through, and the friendships can become
stronger over time. Other friendships narrow over time, exactly
because friends start or become conflict averse. Over time, exactly the
things that might bring them closer if they resolved themselves can
slide off the table and the friendships become hollow and more formal
when the ties that bind are slacker.

Sit down with your friend and say something like the following: I have
tried to be supportive of your venture. I also tried to give you advice
early, when you had resources that now seem to be depleted. I’d like
to help you, but my money is tied up. [No need to explain that in more
detail.] I’m not comfortable asking friends to support a venture that’s
not up and running. There are banks that do that, and I am happy to
share your brochures with people who are interested in this kind of
business. But my FB friends are not your demographic. When you have
doors open I am happy to tell those with children about it. She won&'t
be happy. And yes the friendship may suffer. Unless you are willing to
open your wallet or give access to your friends, that’s the most likely