Dear Amy:

I have a close friend ("Sarah") who is a real estate agent.

Last year, I began searching for a home. At the time I was ready to buy, Sarah was going through major work upheavals and was between agencies.

I elected to use another real estate agent to help me in my search. I chose a woman I knew from my son's baseball team.

After a couple of weeks, I found the perfect home. My new agent was perfect, and I was very happy with the transaction.

Sarah has not spoken to me in nearly a year. She claims that I "owed" her my business because of our friendship and because I knew she needed money. She says I "betrayed" our friendship by not using her.

For nearly a year now, she has bad-mouthed me to mutual friends. She claims that I "did her wrong." I've tried to explain things, but she won't speak to me.

Sarah has done the same thing to other friends. Those who didn't use her as their real estate agent are no longer her "friends." Those who gave in to her demands have told me they felt as if they were being blackmailed, and are now feeling angry.

Do I owe someone my real estate business simply because we are friends?

What exactly do I owe Sarah, who wasn't even in the position to help me at the time I needed her help? Is she even my friend?

- Wondering

Dear Wondering:

You owe "Sarah" nothing. She isn't your friend. Furthermore, she isn't much of a real estate agent, either - otherwise she would be more careful about alienating potential clients.

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