I know, I know. Just the sheer mention of “MLM” makes people scoff and roll their eyes. Multi-level marketing leaves a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths. And I get it. We all probably know at least one person who does direct sales, and lots of people who host “parties” in hopes of selling enough to earn some free swag. MLM/direct sales—whatever you want to call it, it seems to be everywhere and frankly, people are over it.

But I still find myself buying MLM products from my friends. Here’s why.

I’m well aware of how direct sales companies work. They’ve been around since your grandma’s Tupperware and Avon parties. Exclusivity is one of their draws. You have to know someone to be invited into the club.

MLM companies only survive by the “consultants” they dazzle into selling their products, which typically requires them to use their own cash to get started selling. In our gig economy, I know a lot of women who do direct sales to earn a little extra cash or supplement their spouse’s incomes.

There’s no shame in the MLM consultant game. And while I certainly don’t consider myself a sucker for direct sales, when it comes to a friend, I usually always end up buying something.

My reasoning is simple. I want to support my friends and their goals. I know they’re not out to scam me. Do they expect me to walk in and drop hundreds of dollars on whatever they’re selling? Heck no.

If getting involved in direct sales is something they want to do, what is it to me to let them give me the rundown? If I don’t like what I’m seeing, I’m not buying.

The bigger reason I’ve found myself collecting direct sales products over the past several years has a lot to do with simply enjoying the company of good friends.

The lesson I’ve learned as my friends and I have grown older and had families of our own is that time is a thief and we are lucky to see each other a few times a year when everyone’s calendars align. If a friend sends out an invite for a party selling whatever the latest thing is, it gets something on my calendar and you bet your butt I’m going to do what I can to be there.

You see, for me, these parties aren’t about the products. My friends welcome me into their homes with snacks, wine, and the company of good friends. Three things that give me life. So if I have to sit down and listen to some spiel about how a dish rag is the best thing since sliced bread and it will totally change how I clean my house, so be it.

It is time spent with people I care about that keeps me coming back for more. Now you know my secret. I buy MLM stuff because I enjoy my friends (and possibly wine and snacks) too much.

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