So quick history:

I’m not and never have been a MLMer, but my parents nearly a decade ago were into some water filter MLM which they ended up losing money on (roped in by friends) — when I brought it up at the time to my parents they yelled at me and called me an arrogant know-it-all (since they lost the money, proving me right, we’ve never talked about it), my aunt and uncle were part of Amway for many years…

Now jump to today…

My cousin (daughter of the Amwayers) has, in the last year, joined the World Ventures MLM. She is a young professional who just landed her first academic position this past year, and is a single mom. Every time my wife and I socialize with her, she works in the MLM somehow into every conversation, making it very uncomfortable. She routinely invites us to her “travel parties”, and has recently gotten her new boyfriend into the MLM.

My question is this: given my experience with my parents, I’m unconvinced that just saying “this is a scam” would result in anything positive occurring — resentment towards me, driving her deeper into the MLM community. What suggestions do MLM survivors have for those of us on the outside looking in? I want to be able to hang out with my cousin, but the MLM thing frankly creeps me (and my wife) out. Do all MLMers eventually learn that they were part of a scam? The other thing I’m worried about is how academics, who she may be pitching this to, would react — I would expect a fairly negative reaction to those who are more skeptical…