I’d been doing some freelance work for a client for the past few years. Eventually, I was making enough money doing bigger jobs that I no longer wanted the stress of squeezing their work into my free time. I sent them an email :
Me: I’m afraid I’m going to terminate our working relationship. It’s been great working with you but the time has come for me to move on. I’d recommend you find a new freelancer to work with in the future.
Client: Oh, I knew you’d have to move on one day, but honestly I’ll hold out for now in case you decide to come back.
Me: I need to be very clear here- I am not coming back. I’m done. I know we forged a friendship through this, but it’s just too stressful trying to work for you when I’m otherwise very busy.
Client: Oh okay.
A few weeks later, they ask me if I can do some work.
Me: I told you I can’t. You need to find someone else.
Client: I just want you to know the door is always open!
Me: Thanks, but seriously, I have quit.
They send me chatty emails here or there, like we used to do while I was working for them. It was kind of nice to have a chat outside of a professional relationship. Except then they asked if I’d do some work again.
Me: Please… I need you to stop asking. Do not ask me ever again. The answer is no. You are stressing me out and making me waste mental energy by constantly asking this. Do not ask again.
A few days ago, I get a chatty email where they ask me what’s new. I’m wary, but decide to answer. I tell them nothing much, still working, just finished a big project I’d previously mentioned, and that I was doing some teaching.
Client: You finished that project? That’s awesome! So I have to ask… does that mean you’re free for work?
I did not reply.