I was working on a project with a client contact who was really empathetic. Sort of a hippy type, but not really. This was one of my last conversations with her.
Client: How are you?
Me: I’m fine.
Client: No, but really, how ARE you? Like, really?
I opened, up, tentatively. Things had been hard with COVID and I was pretty run down, but I was excited for this project. Whenever I stopped talking, she nodded, and prompted me to keep talking.
Client: I just want to thank you for sharing that with me. I understand, it’s been a difficult time for everybody.
Not five minutes later:
Client: We’ve reviewed the budget and have decided to drastically cut the project you’re working on. You’ll still be working on it, but at reduced hours.
Somehow, it’s WAY more painful when they try to pretend they’re your friend first.