Anne Baxter and Bette Davis in 'All About Eve'

Advice

Photo by Anne Baxter and Bette Davis in 'All About Eve'

Dear Julie: “My ‘Friend’ Stole My Business Plan”


DAME’s Friendkeeper validates a blogger’s anger and helps another deflect a recovering friend’s ire.



Dear Julie,

I re-connected a little over a year ago with a neighbor and it’s been wonderful to have found such a great friend. She and her husband had been having both marital and financial problems and I know that coming to my home for girl time was important to her. I’ve heard over and over how much she loves me, how we’re family, how much she respects me (I’m 15 years older), and how much she has learned from me. I’m a professional food and cocktail blogger and part of our time together has been spent cooking and making/photographing cocktails for my blog. Until we reconnected she was a wine drinker; I brought her into the world of craft cocktails and enjoyed seeing her open up to the possibilities.

Her husband is starting to make some good money again and recently there have been the perks she was used to: weekends in Vail, going out with the girls (never me!), and more. I’m happy to hear that. But she was over this past Friday and an awful truth came out. She is building a blog. She will be doing food and cocktails. Basically she will be copying my business plan. A business that I’ve worked SEVEN long years to build to a point where it pays my bills. And the coup de grace? She said, “It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.” I’m guessing, now that she’s back in the good graces of friends with money, that she will use those connections to make a big splash, forgetting this friend who was there for her when they weren’t and who gave her the brilliant idea she’s decided to now use to create a business just like mine.

Other friends have said not to worry, that she won’t be able to match the work I do but that’s not the point. The point is that she has taken something important of mine and decided to make it her own with apparently zero regard for how it makes me feel. Am I off base to feel betrayed and angry? Do I call her on it or let it slide?

From Mad Love to Bad Blood

 

Dear ML to BB,

Yeah, just let it slide. Okay, have a nice day!
xx Julie

Ha ha! No no, read on!

Honey, this woman sounds like a villain in a bad rom-com. Or Eve Harrington. Or that girl Marcia Brady did the makeover for. Who the hell would do that let alone admit it?

Should you feel betrayed and angry? Uh, yeah, maybe even homicidal (not advocating it, but definitely feeling it!). I totally agree with your other friends, she isn’t going to suddenly be a successful cocktail blogger because she says she is, but that is beside the point. You have got to stand up for yourself! And I think you want to and I think that’s why you wrote to me.

I sense you have had difficulty valuing yourself at different times in your life. But here you’ve done this amazing thing—built this unusual business AND been a great support to a friend in need, and rather than her giving you a gift card for a facial, she’s stolen your idea and work.

She’s been pretty nastily direct with you so I hope you don’t find it difficult to tell her what you think of her new career path.  (I so wish I could beam myself to your side, and sharply poke her after each point you make, but just imagine I’m there.) If it’s too difficult for you to tell her, then write her an email. I don’t imagine it will make much difference, but if she has a smidge of decency, she will feel bad on some level and hopefully you will feel better.

xx Julie

 

Dear Julie,

A friend of mine recently had her knee replaced. Before her surgery I offered to go grocery shopping for her and to even come cook a bunch of food to put in her freezer. She declined. About a week after her surgery (when I figured she would be home from rehab), I texted her “How are you feeling?” I didn’t hear back so I assumed she must be in pain; I didn’t text her again because I figured she’d get in touch when she felt up to it. Yesterday she sent me a furious text telling me what a terrible person and bad friend I am for not calling her. When I explained that I had texted her and asked how she was feeling she said she couldn’t answer because my question was “too general.” Do you have any suggestions for dealing with someone who is acting so unreasonably? Be specific! (

Knee-d to Know

 

Dear Knee-d to Know,

Maybe instead of the knee replacement she got a lobotomy, because Hello, over-reacting!

I really don’t get this. It wasn’t like you said, let me know if there’s anything I can do. I think offering to grocery shop and cook a bunch of food and freeze it is a very specific offer of help. Also extremely thoughtful! And after surgery I think it’s very reasonable for you to say, “How are you feeling?” It’s an opening for a conversation. For example:

“How are you feeling?”


“Uggh”


“You must be exhausted.”

“Just lousy and dreading the rehab.”

“ 

See what I mean? I think she’s angry and frustrated at her knee and taking it out on you. I would just say, “I offered to help, I texted to see how you were, I didn’t want to bug you, I am sorry if you felt like I’d abandoned you, but that certainly was the furthest thing from my intention.” I think it’s okay to say you’re sorry about how she feels, but I really don’t think it’s at all about what you did.

xx Julie

 

Got a platonic problem of your own that could use the Friendkeeper’s advice? Fire away: [email protected]. No situation is too uncomfortable or too small and all details are kept confidential.

 

 

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