On the friend who’s into life coaching

I have a friend who is very much into life coaching, she actually quit her job and dropped out of college to become a life coach. She has been a friend of mine for over 15 years, but I don’t think she’s the same anymore. And I don’t think we’re friends anymore.

She seems to be very happy, yet there’s something that bothers me so much about life coaching that I can’t feel happy about her.

Am I a bad friend? What is it that irks me so much?


I’m guessing what irks you is her incessant saccharine positivity. That shit can get super annoying, especially when it’s accompanied by a bunch of emotional buzzwords and overwrought clichés.

I’ve had a couple of friends peel off and suddenly become life coaches. It’s one of the things people in LA do when their entertainment careers don’t take off. Failed actors become real estate agents and failed producers become life coaches.

I dunno. Maybe becoming a life coach is different where you are, but I’ve always thought of it as going to rehab for people who never got addicted to anything. My last friend who decided to become a life coach showed up with a bunch of three ring binders one day sounding like she’d just joined a cult. I’m not sure if she ever got certified, because I didn’t really talk to her much after that.

I guess what I’m saying is that it’s okay if you two aren’t friends anymore. You don’t have to stick around and listen to her bubble on about her latest seminar.

People change, and when they do, sometimes friendships have a natural end. You’re allowed to move on.


11 thoughts on “On the friend who’s into life coaching

  1. Bad Life Coach says:

    I live in the Midwest. I sell software and training services. About 20 years ago, a new prospect from California called. After talking to her for 10 minutes, she told me that she liked my vibe and that I should become her life coach. She would pay me hourly.

    I had never heard the term before. I asked her what she meant.

    She said, “It’s someone you call, and you tell them your goals and aspirations and problems. They give you advice and keep you on track and offer inspiration.”

    I remember laughing and telling her, “Oh, hey. We have those in the Midwest, too. Except we call them friends, and we don’t pay ’em.”

    I did not earn her business.

    • Mellifluous says:

      This. The term “life coach” is ridiculous and completely offensive. Put on a smile, smell good, grab a drink, or whatever floats your boat, and go make some friends that like what you like, tell you the truth and feel like your tribe. The end. What the hell is happening to our species that we came up with a term for people to make money to “coach” other people through life?!

  2. Chrissy says:

    I would like to cosign the bit about the positivity, especially if you’re anything like me. I find plenty of joy in my life but I find myself pushing back against malignantly positive people on the regular. You know, people who insist that I need to reassess my entire world view because I can function without a superstitious fear of melancholy and whatever else lies on the continuum of human emotion.

    Anywho, it sucks when you find out that your friends are a bit too far afield to connect with anymore. It’s happened to me more than once and I can only hope that one or two of them will come back to me in the sunset of our lives and that we’ll be on a similar wavelength then. Of course, it’s okay if that doesn’t happen. Best wishes to your friend (?), but also to you, letter writer.

    • a grouch says:

      “Malignant positivity” is a great way of putting it. There’s got to be a pithier way to describe the borderline contempt I feel for people who need to pay a relentlessly cheerful flake to help them think positive through their problems.

      Actually, life coaches sound a bit like counselors in their job description, but without the education or the stigma.

  3. Light37 says:

    I’m wondering if you feel like she’s trying to “fix” you, except you haven’t signed on to be fixed. It is unfortunately not unusual for someone who’s newly passionate about Crossfit/Paleo/EST/life coaching/whatever to start trying to convert their friends. Frequently without considering that the friends don’t want to be converted.

  4. Kelly says:

    I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “My life had really hit rock bottom and then I realized it was my calling to become a life coach.”

    UM….WHAT? Life coaches tend to be people whose sad little lives I would never want to emulate.

    They say those who can’t do, teach. Those who can’t do life become life coaches.

    • Chris says:

      Reminds me of Booker T. Washington’s autobiography where he stated that most people in clergy simply didn’t want to work anymore.

  5. Adria says:

    It’s such a telling indicator of our zeitgeist when we professionalize and schematize compassion and personal reflection into a lifetime club of supposed health and wellness, all for a monthly membership fee (call now and we’ll even include a monthly self-care manual!)

  6. Ashley says:

    Very late to the show on this one. Wanted to say that of course you’re annoyed because it’s all pretend. Life coaches don’t have to go through the training of a therapist yet can charge much more and aren’t ethically bound by much. Therefore, it is indeed like paying a friend to be your friend. They get to feel self-important, and I guess that’s worth something, but I’d steer clear. Also, the bit about positivity – anyone demanding positive thoughts and positive outlooks is in denial about and afraid of half of their life. I wouldn’t trust them.

  7. Lora says:

    My (former) best friend started life coaching recently. She asked me to do an hour long questionnaire with her to learn more about my anxiety and depression issues, and in exchange she offered 1 free session. I was happy to do the questionnaire and didn’t need the session really but we did the session and it was great. She sent me another questionnaire to fill out before our free season and it included the question “how financially ready are you to commit to your mental health” even if this question was not angled toward me and this questionnaire was just a formality, that question really irked me. It’s like a pushy gym membership. It’s Preying on vulnerable people’s emotions and it’s overly pushy. Plus, in my eyes, a reputable business sets a price and offers a service. They don’t ask people questions like that. But I let it side and just figured she’s new to this and find her way..

    A few weeks later, I reached out to my friend when I was going through a rough patch, this is amidst other communication that was unrelated and normal BFF chats. And her response was that I should purchase a life coaching package. I was completely disgusted. I wasnt looking for her advice as a professional, or tools for my success. I was reaching out to my best friend.

    After a bit of back and forth I cut all ties with her.

  8. CLM says:

    I found this post after my neighbor emailed me about her becoming a “life coach”. I too had to fill out the questionnaire and spend an hour discussing my personal life. I was just trying to be nice because I really had no interest in participating and although we are neighbors it’s not like we’re close friends or anything. And I don’t want to participate, I don’t need a life coach in my opinion! But now it’s awkward every time I see her ..which is most days. Why do people do this to their friends and neighbors?? It’s like people pushing pyramid schemes, in my experience if someone wants some thing they will seek it out.
    And also everything was very vague, but I knew somewhere in the end it was gonna cost me money! No thanks, like the previous poster said, that’s what friends are for!!

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