Loyalty among friends in a difficult situation
There’s no point in fooling yourself. Friends are often only available when things are going well. In times of need, friends suddenly become rare. This truism becomes apparent when you get into trouble yourself. Then you experience loyalty from people you would not necessarily have expected and experience nasty surprises from others. But there is also a new beginning — and then it is helpful if it has been clarified who is really a friend and who is not.
We’ve had an extraordinary time and are not done with it yet. We’re right in the middle. For over 13 years, we have built a small business. With many hours of work, even at night and on weekends. Just like companies were built in the good old days. Nothing fast click here and cool click there, nothing crypto or anything. Very conventional with much work. Now, with 50 employees and a solid reputation, we wanted to take a break. Just go out with the kids. We had trained a managing director for the company — a family friend, very close for a few years. Together on vacation, every two weeks, we met. The children of the families played together. There were common themes, albeit not in the large overlap. So all good.
But things turned out differently. As soon as we left, an unpaid debt arrived. The company got into serious trouble, and the job of managing director changed from managing ongoing operations to driving in heavy weather. The story doesn’t end well. Instead of eliminating the roll, restoring stability, and turning, she guided the ship toward the sinking. We didn’t even appear in a lifeboat anymore — just played against the wall and kicked out. Money taps turned off, payments rejected, credit card canceled — what a friend.
Real friends get uncovered
Depressed, rocked, exhausted, and on edge, we sat so far away from home, so far away from our company, that we couldn’t even keep in regular contact with the phone or the internet. We were left behind by the technology, the time difference, and the manager who had decided to give up the friendship. At the end of the world, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, in a country whose language we could only speak rudimentarily.
Now is the time for real friends. When push comes to shove, the friends who stick together when waves and weather don’t look like sunshine. Two friends organized the return flight for us — with their air miles because we were stuck in the void with no money and two children. The friends who already managed the first contacts with banks made connections with exciting contacts from their own circle of friends, who contributed and still contribute to help us. Partly friends, whose resilience we didn’t estimate in this way, whose closeness to us, whose love for us we had completely underestimated.
Other friends couldn’t do anything with us anymore. People with whom we always liked to party when we were still doing well didn’t even have the time to say hello to us at home. Or suddenly changed the side of the street when we passed. Even people we rated as completely neutral suddenly no longer wanted to participate. Couldn’t deal with us anymore as struggling, losing hopeless losers. Or how they saw us, I don’t know.
Even within the company, people have walked away, turned their backs, or, worse, tried to seize the opportunity of the moment and worked behind our backs for their own benefit and our disadvantage. It’s a little consolation when our own thing is just a tiny problem in the big thing in the world, in the chaos that’s going on, in war. It’s so close to us right now. It’s painful when people meet us as friends and leave when we need them most. And personal.
I still don’t have a mechanism for dealing with this, how it could get better to cope with the pain and disappointment. Anger was one of the first emotions, resentment, and aggression. But that doesn’t do justice to the topic. Self-deception has led to people seeing as friends when they aren’t. Or that we trusted people who didn’t deserve that trust. For this, we have found other people who have proven to be real friends. People who are helpful and open-hearted, who have tried to save us in their ways.
The lesson of our experience is clear — we will change in many ways. Even now, the strain, the tension, and the pain on some days and in some situations are so great that it can hardly be endured. Feeling betrayed is so bitter. The company may be lost, but we will emerge stronger from this experience. We parted ways with people we won’t miss. We experienced ourselves much better; we first moved apart and then together in a phase of greatest need and most significant burden. Denser than before and more intense than ever, we will go our way. Not sometimes, not just like that, but now.
There is sure to be a part 2. I will report what has become of friends and past friends. Ultimately, however, it is important to report what led to overcoming this crisis.