M'sians Share How They Responded To 'Friends' Who Randomly Pop Up With Hidden Sale Agendas
Some of us have probably experienced this incident at one point in adulthood — a 'friend' you haven't spoken to in a while suddenly pops up in your life asking to meet up
However, things soon turn sour when you realise that their intention wasn't actually to catch up, but to pitch a sale of their products or to recruit you into some scheme!
It can either be a hurtful, pressuring, or a downright annoying experience for some. The intention of catching up feels like a setup, and some people might not understand or even know how to respond to the situation they are in.
We interviewed several Malaysians who shared their awkward 'yum cha' sessions and how they responded to these sneaky strategies:
1. "I know it sounds like an MLM but it isn't"
"One time, my dad asked me out for lunch and I was like, 'aww'. When I arrived, an old friend of his was also there, and it turned out that both were trying to sell me some Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) thing.
"His friend had convinced my dad to pay him money, and I spent the next hour with them as he also tried to talk me into giving him money. I sent my dad a long, angry text message after I got home!"
– Samirah J, 29 (she/her)
2. "Don't overthink this and just take charge of your life right now!"
"I know an old acquaintance who never really treated me as a friend and only approached me whenever she needed help. One day she texted me out of the blue saying she thought about me and wanted to catch up over drinks. I was touched, so we met up and chatted about our lives.
"Throughout the conversation, she had hinted on multiple occasions how this Large Group Awareness (LGA) training she attended transformed her for the better. As we were about to part ways, she spent the next hour coercing me into signing up for this very expensive training despite me explaining my tight financial situation to her.
"When I got home, I Googled the company and found out that the LGA training works as a brainwashing cult. I sent her an article about it and said, 'Blink twice if you need help.'
She left me on seen and has never contacted me ever since."
3. "There was a PowerPoint presentation smack in the middle of the living room"
"I was invited to a friend of a friend's 'casual sharing'. Being genuinely curious, I went for it. When I entered his house, there were so many MLM products on the shelf. As we sat in the living room, he was playing a PowerPoint presentation on his television on how this RM6,000 air purifier is the best thing in the market.
"I just sat through the whole thing in silence and later blocked his number on WhatsApp."
– May, 29 (she/her)
4. "If you already have insurance, I'm fine with just meeting for a catch-up"
"An old friend started contacting me to meet up. Having heard from other friends that he is currently working as an insurance agent, I suspected that his initiation to reconnect wasn't out of nostalgia.
"I went straight to the point and asked if he was meeting up with me as a friend or potential customer and told him that I already had insurance. I also called him out on the behaviour and said it was rude to frame it as a friendly catch-up when the true motive was to sell his insurance products.
"I was surprised when he decided to come clean, explaining that he joined the profession out of curiosity, much to his parents' objection and getting cut off by friends. He assured me that he was still the same person and that he would never value work over friends.
"We did not meet in the end but remained as friends because he chose to be vulnerable instead of defensive. I hope he is doing well, no matter what he chooses to do!"
– Grace C, 29 (she/her)
5. "You have emergency savings, right? Just put those into the investment which can triple the funds!"
"An old classmate of mine called me out to yum cha with the intention of 'catching up'. As you can already tell where this is going, he dropped an investment scheme bomb on me. I could hear the desperation in his voice as he tried to force me to invest a very large sum of money. He even had the audacity to tell me to risk my emergency funds and entire life savings into it!
"Feeling angry, I pretended to be in a rush, and we parted ways as if nothing happened. I never kept in contact with him ever again. He was a close buddy back in the day, but our friendship went down in shambles just with that single encounter. MLM recruitments have now become my tool for filtering out my friend list."
– KS, 31 (he/him)
6. "This bed can cure cancer and diabetes if you sleep on it"
"Obviously, it sounded too far-fetched for me to believe a single word of it. When I questioned my friend why this 'miracle mattress' wasn't sold to clinics and hospitals, or what was in the mattress that gave off its healing properties, he just avoided my questions the entire time.
"At the end of his sales pitch, I just thanked him for sharing, got up quickly, and left."
– Adriano, 27 (he/him)
Being aware and staying vigilant towards such sales schemes could save us from potentially putting our hard-earned money in harm's way
There are many cases of old acquaintances who would appear out of nowhere pretending to care about your life but are, in fact, taking the opportunity to skew the conversation off-tangent to promote products that they want you to invest in.
If you ever find yourself in this situation, stand firm in your decision without feeling obliged to say yes.
As we age, we tend to value a smaller circle of friends and are more selective of whom we choose to spend our precious time and energy on.
So, don't be afraid to be selective of your friends and analyse the situation if an old friend who has never kept in touch with you suddenly reappears in your life!