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General question to ask you folks.

What do you do when someone commissions you and either during the commission process or after it's complete, they assume that you are now friends? I have had several commissioners turn into friends, but in all of these situations this happened naturally. I'm talking about the people who try to force friendship on you either in the form of constantly writing you emails, attempting to IM you despite you specifically saying you don't chat, or contacting your other friends/significant other completely out of the blue for no other reason you can think of other than they want to try to get closer to you. They might even mention later that they commission artists "to make friends", and you are caught off guard and may not feel the same.

I know several artists have had this happen to them as well, which is why I'm asking what you would do in this situation? It's not threatening, you are just not interested. Just because money changed hands does not mean a friendship has occurred. How do you go about letting this person know that this is not the case. Do you even bother? Do you put something in your TOS expressing this? Do you ignore them completely? Any advice is appreciated.

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punkspacewafers
Aug. 12th, 2011 05:43 pm (UTC)
I've had that plenty of times-- usually it's never a really serious situation, because the people who do try usually get the hint that I'm not interested in forming a friendship, but in the cases that they send me endless emails and notes and comments and whatnot even after I tell them that I'm not interested, I sternly tell them to cut it out, and if they continue to pester I simply block them. I hate to be rude or to appear mean in these situations, but I get tired of my inbox being flooded with their messages asking how my day went, or IM's saying "sup" or "hi."
punkspacewafers
Aug. 12th, 2011 05:48 pm (UTC)
Sorry, that was a terribly long run on sentence lol
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spyral_out
Aug. 12th, 2011 05:46 pm (UTC)
Man, I wish more people would try to be friends with me. Hahah.
marus_puppy
Aug. 12th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
I'll be friends with you. :3 (Do I have to buy art first??)

To add something meaningful to this discussion: I really don't know how I'd approach the situation, but punkspacewafers seems to have a really good way to do it, especially if they don't take the hint.
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zippiner
Aug. 12th, 2011 05:56 pm (UTC)
Sometimes you just have to be stern, even if it is going to hurt someone's feelings. Because their feelings are probably going to be hurt any way you do it.

If they continue after you've been stern with them, then it's probably time to just cut them off / block contact. Depending on their annoyance levels.
shiftergoddess
Aug. 12th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
I used to get these types a lot when i first started doing Gaia commissions, but they got a shocker when, after being told i'm terribly boring, they actually discovered that i was being honest and lost interest.

So i would say maybe if the obvious doesn't work, appear very boring.
saitenyo
Aug. 12th, 2011 06:29 pm (UTC)
This helps too. I am very quiet in chats if I don't know someone well, so often they will get bored and give up trying to converse with me.
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komickrazi
Aug. 12th, 2011 06:02 pm (UTC)
Just make it clear your email/IMs are for business purposes only.
If you treat all your communications with them as a business transaction, they usually get the hint you aren't interested in small talk.
A simple message like the following should suffice: "My email/IM is for business communication only. Did you have a commission request or question regarding your finished piece? If not, I am afraid I am too busy for casual chatting."


aerotheacrobat
Aug. 12th, 2011 06:03 pm (UTC)
I've had this happen, too D:

I'm good with being friendly and nice with clients, even lonely/friend wanting ones, so long as it doesn't go too far... like constantly IMing me about fetish stuff and wanting to RP what they buy from me, which has happened :/ I'm naturally shy, so I'm often quiet anyway. If they get pushy about it, I tell them that and that I am also working on my art que (often true) or that I'm not into AIM RP. So far, most have not pushed for too long and went on their merry way eventually.
greenreaper
Aug. 12th, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)
Oh god, the RP . . . believe me, it's not just artists who get that.

And there's worse: once I was sitting one computer over from a guy I barely know at AC and an IM popped up: "buttecks, Y/N?"

So many things wrong with that. (Not being gay to start with!)
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hellebore
Aug. 12th, 2011 06:03 pm (UTC)
1. Remove your IM info from websites and keep it off of there. Create a new name for family/REAL FRIENDS. Set your privacies to only them. Don't add them on FB, or furry FB or anything.

2. Communicate via email only.

3. Brief interaction via comments online on FA/DA are okay, but put no emotion into it that the other person may misconstrue as you wanting to be friendly.

I have had this happen many times before, and these are the steps I took.
immortalpanda
Aug. 13th, 2011 05:33 am (UTC)
Good advice right here! I've had to do the same myself.
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saitenyo
Aug. 12th, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC)
This is precisely why I don't have a public IM handle and never give it out to people who I don't actually want to talk to. I'd recommend making a new screen name and keeping that private in the future. I know a lot of people like giving their commissioners the option to contact them via IM but there's really no reason commissioners need chatting access with you all the time, even while you're working on their piece. Emailing you if they have questions or need to get in contact with you should be perfectly sufficient.

In general, I am friendly with my commissioners but make an effort to keep it strictly a business relationship. I don't give them access to my IM, FB page, etc. and if they pry for these things, I simply politely explain to them that I only give those things out to close friends and people I know in real life.

I have on a rare occasion had someone continue to try to press those boundaries regardless. At that point the best thing to do is try to let them down tactfully and politely. Be firm on your refusal to give out personal information/additional methods of contacting you, and if they continue to send you emails, just explain that you don't have a lot of free time to just chat.

In response to the "I commission people to make friends line," I'd probably say something like, "I'm flattered by your interest in developing s friendship with me, but I prefer to keep my commissions a business relationship. I don't like to try to force friendships, but rather let them develop naturally. I'm happy to answer questions you may have about my art as my time allows, but I'm afraid I have a pretty busy schedule and don't have time to chat regularly with people online."

If they really can't take the hint after being polite, you unfortunately may have to be more blunt. I've only had to deal with this once, it was a situation where someone was being extremely inappropriate (to the point of constantly trying to hit on me despite my not being interested and being in a relationship) and I had to just bluntly tell them that their behavior was making me extremely uncomfortable and it needed to stop. When it didn't stop, I blocked them, and thankfully never heard from them again.

I don't think this is the sort of thing that needs to go in a TOS. I think putting too many "Please don't do this" sort of things in a TOS to catch every possible problem can turn potential good commissioners away and make a TOS too long and confusing. I'd stick only with issues that come up often. It should be a given that harassing an artist for friendship after commissioning them isn't appropriate and the sort of person who wouldn't respect that boundary probably wouldn't be stopped by a TOS statement about it anyway.
celarania
Aug. 12th, 2011 06:37 pm (UTC)
I want to second all of this.

If they are contacting you via IM, or just some other way you can very politely say "I'm sorry, but I'd prefer to only use 'mycommission@mysite' for contact with customers so I have a better system of organization." Then give short but polite answers, because you can 'hide' behind professionalism (it's no fun to chat with someone who's always perfectly polite and a little distant). If they persist, then you may want to add some polite refusals, or just always redirect it back to the commission. I would think that after a while, they'd give up. If not, saitenyo's polite refusals seem the way to go.
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grygon
Aug. 12th, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC)
I've had this happen a few times and I let it fizzle out while remaining polite. It usually does on its own, if you remain polite but also not overly friendly (that just enables their feelings that you are ineed their new BFF). Mostly I am polite but stoic.

I actually had the "friends" (they were a couple) write me a dear john letter when they broke up cause they guessed they wouldn't need me anymore after that. That was a bit weird but otherwise I didn't want to be rude by ignoring them totally and maybe ruining future sales, since a lot of artists make a lot of their money from return customers.
sbneko
Aug. 12th, 2011 06:30 pm (UTC)
I actually usually tell them honestly, but politely. If someone starts going around saying I'm there friend, I tell them I'm not. Meaning no offense to them, explaining that I take a long time to make friends, and either it happens or doesn't. Things just need to click.

Most of the time they actually stop talking to me after that. Though I'm not too sure what to do when it's a situation where you honestly don't really want to talk to them. I'd feel rude saying anything.
khaoskomix
Aug. 12th, 2011 06:35 pm (UTC)
Oh man, the amount of commissioners who have tried to add me on facebook. I'm sorry, but I find it really weird.
marus_puppy
Aug. 12th, 2011 07:28 pm (UTC)
It's kind of like "liking" your boss/company on facebook. It feels weird!
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thaily
Aug. 12th, 2011 06:48 pm (UTC)
First of all, this is why I don't do business over IM or give out my phone number.
Second of all, I remain kind of superficial during those after-commission-communiques when people try to be BBF after a business transaction. While friendships that result naturally are good, it's kind of insulting when people think they can buy your friendship.
myenia
Aug. 12th, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
Seconding. It blows my mind how common it seems that artists use IMs for commission purposes...I find it much less professional and less reliable. Unfortunately, this (what I consider) bad habit that others partake in get several commissioners expecting this from everybody. I actually had one commissioner back out on a commission when he found out I only did business via email! Its sad that its an expectation!
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alex_dachshund
Aug. 12th, 2011 06:54 pm (UTC)
I hate that, just because you commission someone that does not mean you are automatically friends. I've had people commission me then include my icon in a "list of best friends" on their FA profiles when I've only spoken to them like four times. ><

I know it's not the best option but after I finish a commissioner's art and they still continue to IM me everytime I sign on just to say hi, I just personally ignore them and don't respond and eventually they quit trying to IM me. It's not the best option but it works for me. Same if I get random FA notes they say nothing but "hi what's up?".

But if they literally spam me with "hi" 's every 10 minutes, I block them (I've done this before several times). This is why I restrict exchanging commission info via FA notes now and I now no longer have my IMs publically listed on my FA and InkBunny accounts.

Then again, I used to have my IMs listed on my FA and InkBunny profiles publically and I would get random...weirdos... IMing me that I had to block eventually because they would try to cyber with me or something.
y2hecate
Aug. 12th, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
I've had this happen with a few people that have commissioned me. I don't keep my IM info on my site, but it's a handle I've always had, everyone knows me by it, and I hate the idea of running away and changing my name simply because of IMs. Not gonna happen.
So, I'm pretty polite about it. I have it noted in my commission info that I want details via email. If they try to cozy up and chit-chat via IM, asking about how I'm doing and all that.. I'll explain to them that I don't chat much, prefer to only keep IMs on to keep available for family and other such close people (a.k.a. not business), and if they have any questions/notes about their commission, you can tell me in IM if you wanna brainstorm or something real quick, but please send the info to my email too, because that's how I keep my commission stuff organized.
I'll give them about 3 chances with similar responses, then if they keep trying to find out how my day was or talk about the new game the started playing that I've never heard of and have no interest in.. I stop responding to them at all via IM, unless the message contains something about the commission.
Luckily, I've not had anyone be so persistent or annoying that I've had to flat out block them.. but I'd do it if I had to.
bailzzararco
Aug. 12th, 2011 07:02 pm (UTC)
This very thing sends chills down my spine. It has happened a few times with me, and I just tried to be friendly, but cut them off when they attempted to get too involved. I think some folks feel bonded to you once you create their charater just like they like it. It makes me not want to do commissions.
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