Case Studies

Navigating Intermingled Personal and Professional Relationships


It's often said that you shouldn't go into business with friends. But then, who should you go into business with? Friendship provides an important basis for partnership relationships - trust, but it also contains many pitfalls. More than half of the situations we deal with arise because these two types of relationships are mixed.

For example, in one case, two partners approached us, whose foundation for joint business had been a longstanding friendship. Just a few months into their joint business venture, dissatisfaction began to accumulate, sometimes leading to minor conflicts, but it was never seriously resolved. Dissatisfaction grew, and the business began to "stall."

Effective action:

The root of the problem in this situation lay not in business disagreements but in the improper transfer of personal relationships into the work sphere.

We started by separating these two types of relationships. In a business context, we tackled one of the most uncomfortable and avoided questions - whether it is worth continuing to do business together at all. We quickly came to scenarios where they could end their partnership and remain friends.

After that, the task was technical - to introduce a minimal set of rules under each type of relationship and document the agreements on dealing with dissatisfaction. In the first iteration, we came up with 7 basic rules, which had a powerful therapeutic effect.


Once analyzed, the situation ceased to be problematic. Moreover, a legitimate and mutually recognized scenario emerged on how to act in a situation when something is annoying, infuriating, or causing negative emotions, which the partners had previously tried to hide so as not to offend each other.

Together, we conduct sessions to update the partnership agreement twice a year. This way, acute issues are worked out promptly, and for important matters, special places, times, and formats are defined where one can consciously work on their partnership structure.