What’s your reason for doing business with someone? Is it the timely service? Geographically convenient? Or is price at the top of your list? Well, you won’t find it at the top of mine. While budget may dictate whether I can go ahead, the decision to engage in a business relationship has already been determined.

My reasons for proceeding are much more important than money. Why? Because putting up with the bad business behaviors could wind up costing me more money and time.

bad business behavior

How Much Bad Business Behavior Are You Willing to Stand?

People put up with bad business behavior for a variety of reasons. Some feel they’ve already invested so much time and money in a business relationship that starting over and looking for someone new seems daunting. Others feel obligated because they have a personal or family relationship with the other person. (This can also make things difficult if you need to fire them later.)

Picture it: You belong to a networking group and engage the services of a fellow member but wind up dissatisfied with what they are doing. How do you get out of the arrangement? And do you warn the others in the group?

We all have boundaries. What are yours? Or, rather, why do you put up with behavior that frustrates you and disrespects your time?

[bctt tweet=”So how much bad #BusinessBehavior are you willing to put up with? We all have #WorkBoundaries and sometimes respectful treatment is worth more than money. ” username=”rosalindatweets”]

The Top 6 Reasons I Won’t Do Business with Someone

We all commit faux pas at one time or other in our business dealings. But when bad business behaviors like these are someone’s norm, it’s time to reconsider the relationship. Implementing a third party risk management solution can help businesses to determine whether such a relationship is a worthwhile one as it can automate risk assessments, scoring, due diligence, continuous monitoring, issue management, and corrective action processes.

1. They always arrive late and have no concept of time.

We’ve all been late to an appointment or meeting—no big deal, right? We apologize and get started. But it becomes a problem when someone is always late, followed by either a nonchalant, “Ready to get started,” or a recitation of excuses. Neither makes the wait acceptable.

Q: How long do you wait for someone before you walk away?

2. Their cancellations are careless and frequent.

As with a late arrival, a last-minute cancellation can throw off my entire schedule. If it happens once, I understand. After the third time, especially if it’s last minute, I move on. Some say: “That’s harsh. People have things come up that are beyond their control.” True. However, if my business depends on your services, I’ve got to move on.

Q: How many cancellations are you willing to put up with before ending a business relationship?

3. They neglect to respond to calls or emails.

It’s standard etiquette to return a call within 24-to-48 business hours. Since most people are attached to their phones, waiting 48 hours for a callback can seem like an eternity. Expecting a reply the same day is reasonable. Excuses for not replying—such as, “I’m not interested,” or, “I don’t have an answer yet”—are not acceptable. (By the way, these are answers.) It just takes seconds to send an email or text to let me know you received my message and when you’ll answer.

Q: How long do you wait before sending off a follow-up email or leaving another voicemail message for the unresponsive recipient?

4. They’re unpredictable.

Every time we meet or talk on the phone, your mood is different. One day you act like we are best friends; the next, you’re indifferent. Not knowing whether you’ll be curt or courteous is too much work. And, chances are, I will not be referring anyone to you. I don’t know which version of you they’ll encounter. My suggestion is to avoid scheduling an appointment if your heart isn’t in it.

Q: Do mood swings play a role in a business relationship?

5. They’re gossips and over-share.

If you talk to me about your other clients, I know you’re talking to them about my business. Sometimes business relationships develop into friendships and information is shared. If you’ve established trust, and the information that is shared is within legal and ethical boundaries, then you make the call about its propriety.

Q: Would you stop your service provider from disclosing information about other clients? Would you ask them to sign a non-disclosure form? Would you end the relationship?

6. The person is self-absorbed and full of drama.

From the moment we meet, you spill your guts about your ex, how your child is the best soccer player, how nobody gets your vision for your wedding, or why your boss has it out for you. DRAMA! And if your life is filled with it, sorry, but I am neither your therapist nor your best friend. At least not until we’ve established a trusting relationship.

Q: Some people share personal information as a way to break the ice or to create the illusion of intimacy. Are you comfortable sharing or hearing about personal stuff in a business relationship?

bad business behavior

Respect My Boundaries and I’ll Respect Yours

Look, I’m not suggesting that you immediately cut off ties with someone because they made you wait or forgot to call you back. We all have different tolerance levels, boundaries, and are in different stages in life and business.

Cultural backgrounds also play a role in how people conduct business. A couple of years ago, I dealt with someone who was late for every appointment. When I finally pointed it out, she said, “In my country, people are always late to appointments.” I replied, “I understand—in this country, we are not.” Not surprisingly, we parted ways.

We can have boundaries without being a hard-a**. We can conduct business with a soul. If a person makes an attempt to respect my boundaries, I believe in second chances. But sometimes, ethics or personalities aren’t compatible. Cut your losses: “Best wishes and adios.”


Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, Workplace Civility, Soft Skills, Business Etiquette Expert, Media Source, and author of “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom.”

Presentations are available to support HR policies and harassment compliance, address concerns, or to avert potential conflicts – Upgrade or set a standard of communication and behavior – Up-and-coming managers – Interns – New-hire orientation process – Professional development events or conferences – College/university students – Actors to prepare for roles – NEW! Attorneys: polish your client’s professional presence for a court appearance.

For more information, please contact me via email, or by calling 650.871.6200, before a dilemma turns into front-page news.