How do Doctors say no to friends [and family] who want you to work for free and not harm the relationship?

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By Editor-in-Chief, Concierge Medicine Today/Host, The DocPreneur Leadership Podcast

A bit of a tongue-in-cheek subject for anyone working in healthcare, right?

After all, you took an oath.

However, you already have a busy practice, managing an impossible calendar that’s routinely changing, you barely have time to eat lunch and let’s be honest, one more new patient that won’t pay isn’t something you’d like to take on even if you didn’t know this person.

The fact is, you’re stretched too thin. You need communication tips, not pressure to navigate the relationship.

You don’t want to hurt their feelings but at the same time you want to give the relationship the respect, kindness and professional referral it deserves.

So how do you jump the hurdle while maintaining a healthy relationship with this person, not injure the relationship but also and this is important, make sure they don’t send you an email or text again in the future?

Maybe it’s a text from that family member, again.

Those can be tough.

But, you knew that one day they would ask your for something. Today however, it caught you off guard. And, you simply were not equipped with communication course on how to navigate these family and friend relationships in medical school.

“It’s difficult to learn how to respond,” says one Osteopath Physician in Atlanta, GA.

So, how do you reply? Do you call? Text? Email them? Ignore the question?

What if you’re at a dinner party? (By the way, who still has dinner parties? Is that still a thing post-COVID? I digress, sorry.)

Over the years we’ve heard from Physician’s their appropriate recommendations and tips on how-to cope with family members and close friends that ask you for and want your free medical advice.

“It usually starts with a short text,” said Dr. N from Michigan. “But I’ve had family members ask me for my medical opinion at a wedding reception as well.”

Navigating family member relationship and close friends whom you respect (or not), is challenging.

As a Concierge Medicine Doctor, you are more likely to be approached by a friend or family member with a request and it usually begins with … “Hey, real quick …” or, “Quick question …”

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a communication model that you could learn that would not only maintain, but strengthen your relationship with those friends and family who in all reality, should actually pay you more for your time and expertise because they know the value you bring with your years of education.

Well, we decided to let you in on how some of your colleagues and friends in Concierge Medicine handle these stressful and awkward conversations and how they’ve managed to maintain healthy boundaries with friends and family … all the while retaining a good relationship with them!

In this podcast episode (below) we’ll share with you some guilt-free comebacks your peers use (and some funny ones too!) that will help you set healthy boundaries with your friends and family members that want or expect you to work for free.





DISCLAIMER AND USE: In no event is this information considered medical, legal, tax, financial, accounting or other professional advice (Please see full disclaimer below). This Podcast Is Subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use ( and is recorded/hosted by Concierge Medicine Today, LLC. Concierge Medicine Today, LLC., our representatives, agents or employees accept no responsibility or liability for direct, indirect, special, incidental or consequential damages or financial costs or claims made by the Physician(s) interviewed or our guests.

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