Your service providers are NOT your friends.

June 15th, 2024

Because people pleasers are overly trusting, open, warm, caring, and sincere we assume everyone we encounter is like us. This assumption can cause disappointment and provide false expectations. Many of us befriend our dentist, doctor, psychiatrist, realtor, therapist, manicurist, teacher, shopkeepers, etc.

We tend to forget that the above mentioned service providers are not our friends. They seem interested in our lives, especially when it is a long-term relationship. They’ve earned our trust because they are familiar with us and we are familiar with them. They make us feel special when they remember to ask about our Aunt Ethel’s car accident or seem concerned when we tell them about our cat who ran away and hasn’t been seen for a week. It seems as if they have befriended us and, as a result, we consider them a buddy.

We forget that we are in a business relationship. Being overly friendly is simply good for business. Their business. We are the source of their income and they know that you would rather do business with a “nice” person. And that’s OK. We want to do business with nice people. But that does not mean that they are our friend – even after years of having a business relationship. From a doormat perspective always remember, if you aren’t going out to dinner, car pooling or driving each other’s children to soccer practice, it’s simply a business relationship. You pay them to provide a service not to be your friend.

It’s easy to sign a business document without reading it because we’ve been trusting our friend the dentist, doctor, optometrist etc. for years. But this is business. Don’t assume the documents are a recap of what they already explained. Read before you sign – it’s better to use self preservation and safeguard our trust and emotions before they “cash the check.” That way no one is disappointed later.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please feel free to comment below.


  1. Mitch P. on June 21, 2024 at 9:43 AM

    This is such a good reminder that business is business- no matter how “friendly” we think the relationship is. And we know in our gut that we should keep business separate from our real friends. I tend to always become friendly with my service providers and I’m grateful you brought this up. Friendly is different from being true friends.

    • Ivy Tobin on June 21, 2024 at 12:01 PM

      Thanks for shouting out Mitch. Yes, friendly is very different from being “true friends.” Because it’s our nature to like everyone, we naturally interpret their friendliness as being authentic. We don’t suspect their openness and concern to have an ulterior motive. Which sadly, especially in the medical field, a perverse reason underlies their behavior: money.

      This realization isn’t bitterness from a mat scorned. It is a empowered acceptance of a true, cold fact.

  2. Ivy Tobin on June 23, 2024 at 12:13 AM

    A member shares:

    “I had considered my psychologist to be my friend.
    That seemed to work out fine for him until I started to grow positively in my own strength. When I started to be an independent thinker which I thought was the goal in my therapy I was seen as a threat because he didn’t like that I was able to make good decisions on my own. He wanted for me to stay being a Yes Person. I remember telling him once that I didn’t go to bed until midnight and he told me that I wasn’t using common sense. I usually went to bed before midnight. When he said that I was overdoing it. I reminded him that he worked 7 days a week from 6 am to 10 pm and that I wanted to have a more usual time appointment. I was tired of coming week to week any time in that time frame and he said that I wasn’t being cooperative at all. I truly believe that he never wanted any of his patients to get better. If we got better he would lose us as his patients. The first time I ever saw him (I was in a bad place then) before he even knew why I made an appointment- the first thing he ever said to me was you know Patty you will be coming to see me the rest of your life. I can only imagine how much money he made 16 patients a day 7 days a week. I just hope that his other patients realized that he was only in it for the money. He could be a real charmer- so you didn’t realize what he was doing to you and when you did realize that you were too afraid to quit. He used to tell me that he would call my psychiatrist to have her up the doses of my medications. At the present time and that is over 4 years now I don’t even take any psychotropic medications at all. I do know myself and I will discuss with a doctor if I feel the need to have medication. Now I Know that I CAN MAKE MY OWN WISE DECISIONS. NOT ONLY MAKE DECISIONS BASED ON MY FEARS! THANKS FOR SHARING!”

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