Dear Aunt B,
Something of a long story, but will try to get to the point as quickly as I can.
Throughout my life I have always attempted to help people. There are several stories I could tell you, but will just go through the most recent situation. The circumstances of each story are different, but the end result is always the same, so this one story should be enough.
About 15 months ago I met a woman and we quickly became friends. We found a common interest that led us to start a business together. My main role has been to provide the money. It has taken everything I had, and everything I could borrow to get us to where we are today, and that is on the brink of much success. Funny thing is (and it's really not funny at all), she is now telling me I am too stressed and depressed by all this to be involved in the business. I seem to have "serious problems" that I need to get resolved or I will bring the business down. I am currently considered a liability.
Over this time period, we have supported each other personally, usually ending each day with a phone conversation to recap where the business stood, and to offer each other encouragement for the day to day challenges in our personal lives. Currently, she has stopped all contact and communication until I "get help". We are not lovers. There is something of an age difference, and many things that would create far too many complications. But we have been (or at least it was my impression) very, very close friends. It now looks as though she wants me out of the picture.
This is a recurring theme in my life, so I have to assume it is something I am doing wrong. People allow me into their lives, take the best I have to offer, then start to move away. People seem to need me, but they don't need all of me.
What am I doing wrong, and how can I avoid this in the future? It all makes me tired and depressed.
Dear Evan, Well first, you must do your own assessment and inventory. Is there any merit, at all to what she is saying? If there is, then possibly seek help. It won't hurt and hopefully, your insurance will cover it. If she is being genuine, then she's pulling the old, "Tough Love," trick on you. She figures, you'll take the initiative to get help, if she makes a stand.
If she has ulterior motives, maybe you should call her on it. Call her on the carpet and tell her that you want to get to the bottom of the beef and you want nothing but the truth. In the business world, we don't play games like that. But in all due reality, you had an off the books friendship and she felt she had the right, to say what she has said. Correct?
If it were me, I would stand my ground. You have a vested interest in this business situation and if she is trying to get you out, tell her now's her opportunity to say so, be honest and then, you'll work on the buyout. Quite honestly, I think her approach is a pretty nasty one, especially if she wasn't being truthful. It is my gut feeling that this may be what's happening.
You have become prey to a vulture. You showed her your pink under belly, at some point in time and she's used that info against you. Pretty under handed, if you ask me. Even if it's not true that she used a weakness of yours against you and she's being truly concerned for your welfare, she did not handle it well.
I believe the old adage, "Nice guys finish last," is a half truth. Patsy's pay and you ain't no Patsy, now are you? Yes, you're a nice guy but you need to stand up, take away the personal aspect of your business relationship with this young lady and put your foot down. I have the feeling that she hurt you, with her little revelation?She knows she did and you've now played right into her hand. Don't let her win. Take the sting out of it, put your business hat back on and get back in there.
It is my suggestion, for future reference, that you keep your heart and your business savvy in two different pockets. They must be separated at all times. See, eventually, there's gonna come a time, when you either fight with a business associate or partner and if they know what they're doing, they're gonna go after what hurts the most. She just proved this scenario. I imagine, in the past, you have expressed that you were depressed or whatever and now, she's manipulated things, using this against you. Gotta give her credit for trying, huh? But we're onto her and you will not take it, you will not stand for it and you will draw the line, right here and right now. She's gone over board, in her right as a friend.
Fire off an email, leave her a message, write her a letter or ask for a face to face meeting, no demand a sit down. Get back in there, call her out and tell her you will not stand for this. Hold your chin high, chest out, your feelings; in your left pocket, your business savvy in your right pocket. Just for shitz-n-giggles, for general closure, ask her what her real problem is and tell her you are not her violin, so she needs to save that for someone else. You tell her that you will do everything in your power to accommodate her but if she is not perfectly honest with you, you will then, pull out all the stops. I don't what kind of contract and so on, you two have but your posturing must show that you have an ace up your sleeve and you're willing to play it, if she's not honest with you. You let he know that she crossed the line, when she brought up your mental health status, in a business situation. You let her know that you will not tolerate her berating attitude, which is exactly what it is. Let her know, from that moment on, you are not friends, merely business associates, as she has abused her end of the deal. Look her square in the eye and ask her if she understands what you are saying? You will not be her patsy, prey or even her boy.Put On Aunt Babz' Signature Cologne, "Confidence"
Before you go into this meeting, you must have some resolution, concerning how you will end this. As I said, I don't know what your arrangement is, if you have buy out rights, etc. but have some solution. I want you to walk away, with, if nothing else, your dignity in your breast pocket.
You must do this, for your own well being. You must meet her head on, as if this is the test of all tests. She's one woman. She's only human and if you ask me, she does not deserve your respect as a worthy adversary. Remember this. You must be the better person in this but that does not mean, allow her to walk all over you. Take control and do not allow her to own this situation.
Let this be a new beginning. Let this be a proving ground that you will always be a good guy but you will not be anybodies Patsy. You will keep your business and personal feelings in separate pockets, at all times. Then, you will see that nice guys do finish, with dignity in their breast pocket.