Should Your Clients Become Your Friends?

Working out is great, right? And working out with friends is the kind of stuff that makes the world go around. Since (duh!) movement people are some of the best people, studios and gyms rank among the finest places to meet potential new friends. But, if you are an instructor and/or studio owner, should you think twice about looking for BFFs amongst your clients?

As with so many things, it depends. Here are a few questions to mull over before heading off for a night out with clients:

– Is the outing open to everyone in your class/studio? If not, will those not invited feel left out?

– Is it easy for you to switch from instructor mode to friend mode, and then back again?

– Will your client be able to navigate being a friend outside the studio, but a client during your class?


– Will talk of your social excursion be a distraction during your next class?

– Will your client be as respectful of your time and instructional expertise once you’ve moved beyond the client/instructor relationship?

– What if your foray into friendship doesn’t go well? Are you prepared to lose a client? And, could your client negatively affect your relationships with other clients?

Personally, I have several clients that I consider good friends and I absolutely cherish them! They all remain respectful of my time and schedule and I am as dedicated to their sessions as I am to the sessions of all of my clients. We mostly maintain our friendships outside the studio and it feels like an extra special treat to get to see them in the studio as well.

No matter what your client/instructor relationship may become, never forget why your clients started coming to you in the first place. They were seeking quality and compassionate movement instruction, and you provide that! As long as you continue providing the service that your clients seek, the rest will all work out. Happy teaching!

Emma Kumley

About Emma Kumley

Emma Kumley, PMA-CPT Emma has been teaching movement classes for over 25 years. After going to law school and practicing as a civil litigator, she completed her comprehensive Pilates education with Balanced Body. She is also certified to teach the GYROTONIC® EXPANSION METHOD. Emma owns The Movement Studio in Oxford, FL, and she remains thankful on a daily basis for the clients who trust her, teach her, and continue to allow her to love her job. Find Emma on Instagram: @ekumley or @themovementstudiofl