It’s a sad marker of our times that I have now heard the phrase “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you,” by numerous business partners over my lifetime. This has come to mean delayed deception. It means: don’t expect to get what we agreed to, or what’s fair. You will be duped and you will have to deal with the consequences—after the money has been taken. Perhaps it’s based on the growing American culture of fraud.
Prime example. This phrase was just uttered by a friend’s business partner the other day when they were discussing their big, pending payday deal they have been working on for many months together, roughly $300,000 they would split.
Without getting into the details, they had a very simple written contract signed nine months prior. His partner brought the deal to the table before they decided to partner up, but his partner chose not to exclude it in the contract for whatever reason. My friend had excluded one of his other businesses from their contract for clarity. Subsequently, his partner wrote a couple of emails to others surrounding the deal saying “Don’t worry, I will take care of my partner.” Now, months later they are finally about to close this deal and my friend hears another such cue from his partner’s mouth, so finally clicking in, he calls out his partner.
And, like clockwork, greed rears its ugly head. His partner, fuzzy and incoherent, decides to renege and “offer” my friend 1/4 of what they had negotiated and committed to law. After nine months, my friend had now assumed all along that this particular deal had become their deal. He had worked extensively on it, and in fact, was the only person who actually was able to bring it to fruition. Given earlier indication of this phrase used publicly to others surrounding the deal many months earlier, it is now obvious his partner had the intent to defraud him.
Now furious, my friend would not stand for this. He called his partner out on the carpet. His partner’s reaction tells all. Instead of shock and dismay about hurting my friend and their business relationship, it’s all about him. He is hurt, outraged by my friend’s logic and anger. This is his only recourse, not logic or empathy.
My friend has come to theorize now that his partner is clinically a narcissist. This means the world revolves around him and has little regard for others, save his own family. Makes sense. We know he wants to be a good person deep down, but that this event calls that into question. This is perhaps why he is behaving emotionally and striking out at my friend. We believe his greed is fighting with his conscience. It’s sad that he doesn’t realize that my friend is just the messenger of the truth about his partner’s greed problem. And it is sad that he doesn’t see how his behavior has hurt my friend, nor seems to care.
In the end, since my friend has an ironclad contract and has proven his extensive worth and work on the deal, law should prevail, but perhaps not before ruining their previously good relationship. His partner even just admitted he knew my friend wouldn’t sign their contract if he tried to exclude this particular deal. But nine months ago was the time to negotiate it, not today. My friend would have done negotiated at the time. Now it’s simply too late. Too much time and mutual effort has passed under the bridge. So to attempt that now is unthinkable. He even had the audacity to refer to their contract as my friend’s contract! He really thought he could get away with pulling the rug out from under my friend? Amazing. I guess we are all just monkeys.
I have other examples in my life when people I trusted used that phrase with me and reneged. It’s classic sign of a liar, a narcissist, a sociopath. It’s sad because you want to believe that people are good. And you would even think that a legal contract would be enough to nip potential fraud and corruption in the bud. But people’s greed often gets the best of them, and no contract can protect you from this. My friend may win this battle, but the war is probably lost because now all trust has vanished. We’ll see. My friend believes that if he can get his partner to admit his wrongdoing and apologize that this will resolve their differences and start to heal their partnership. My friend is a very forgiving person, but he feels betrayed until he is paid what’s owed and his partner apologizes. Since this initial blow up, they have seemingly been able to sweep this episode under the rug—for now. Until the deal pays out. Oy vay!