How do you have a healthy boundary with a client who wants to be friends with you (movies, coffee)?
I have struggled with clients who want to be friends with me and do things outside of the studio. Each time I have caved it's never a positive situation when it comes to enforcing policy. In a couple of situations I have been hurt when the "friend" stops working with me at the end of a package and ends all communication. I want to have a boundary so I don't end up in these situations anymore.
If you want to hang out with your clients make sure you set even stronger boundaries! Keep clear communication with all of your clients and it's not a bad idea to have follow up conversations with those who quit so abruptly.
Too, if your clients want to do something on a social level with you, you might think about participating in a 5k or a cancer walk with all of your clients so that that need is met.
Organize social events for all your clients, one for each season and perhaps that might be of help.
All the best!
Making a clear boundary would really help, so keeping things strictly in the gym would help. Movies etc would be a grey area where professional lines can get hazy.
I'd vote steering clear of the situation would probably be best.
I am friends with some of my clients, and we do things together from time to time without it ever being a problem for me.
By your description, this is not a situation that has ever worked for you. With this being your experience, the only thing I can recommend is that you keep the relationship strictly business and not again 'cave in' when somebody suggests activities beyond the studio.
One thing that might help is to establish a friendly community at your club where you are introducing members / clients to each other. Then, those who are looking for social opportunities can look to the members / clients they meet rather than solely a relationship with you. It helps them, it eases your feeling of responsibility for the social component of working out, and their accountability goes up.
My suggestion to you is to not to hang out with clients. Make it easier for yourself and keep clients @ the studio. This will make for happier clients and a happier you.
Yes, this situation can be most uncomfortable; because you want to keep them as a client but not hurt their feelings.
Then, you feel used when you no longer hear from them.
This is the reason I keep things professional. I do not "hang out" with clients, to prevent the unprofessional vibe that may rear its ugly head.
Maybe if you say that you like them and will gladly help with their training; but, things must remain as they are to keep your goals on track. Something like that may help.
I have become very good friends with some of my clients. And remain so to this day. Issues have not come up, but I do keep the social settings and professional setting very well defined.