On genuine friendship

Buy me… buy me…

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The other day, I was walking home from the bakery when one of Christian’s longtime friends waved at me from the door of her house. “Come over here and chat a minute!” she said. Seeing as one of my goals for this year is to develop relationships, I was happy for the opportunity.

But the “chat” had ulterior motives. After exchanging initial pleasantries, she pulled out a big plastic bag and said,

“Hey, I’m selling underwear, maybe you’d like to buy some?”

“Um, I’ll take a look,” I said – just to be polite.

“I have this model, which is R$6, and this one, which is R$3… and this one, which is R$7… well?”

“They’re nice,” I replied in a non-committal tone of voice.

“Christian’s sister already bought a whole bunch,” she pressed.

“Let me take stock of what I already have at home, and if I find that I need any more, you will be my go-to underwear source,” I reasoned.

“Come on! Underwear’s always useful!”

“Yes, but I’ve already got some.”

She looked at me like I was being unreasonable. I tried to circumspectly tell her that February was a brutal month for us financially and we’ve pretty much nixed all extraneous purchases for the time being.

“Ah,” she said. But her eyes weren’t sympathetic, they looked like maybe she thought I was making up an excuse to avoid a purchase. We chatted for a few more minutes, and as I headed out, she shouted,

“Don’t forget to let me know about the underwear!”

Here’s the thing – underwear isn’t the first thing she has tried to sell me. She’s also marketed cosmetics, perfumes, and tupperware containers, as well as tried to get me to wax my legs at her house. Because of this, I’m finding it hard to develop a real friendship with her, and I’m wondering if I even can.

I dunno, if it was a matter of helping her out by purchasing a few products to support the setup of her home business – and if I thought such a gesture might advance the friendship – I’d do so. But I just feel like the way she approaches me, from her expression and conversation and other non-verbal cues, is often from the point of view of “maybe I can get something out of her” rather than the perspective of “I like her as a friend, and if she happens to become my customer too, then that’s cool.” I also suspect that if I bought two pairs of underwear just to be nice, she’d try to persuade me to buy four.

What do you think? Could I be misreading her? Should I just buy the freakin’ underwear?