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by SJP about a year ago in friendship
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Man is an animal that makes bargains (Adam Smith)

“What’s changed since last week?” She was asking Jody. “Nothing’s changed, I just don’t want you to post anything on social media. I don’t want any attention on my business,” said Jody. Sounding nervous. Sounding pathetic in fact. Guilty almost.

“We talked about this. You know that the ‘only’ strategy I have is to post on social media. That’s the point of social media marketing. If I can’t post online, I can’t have a viable business. I’ll have failed before I’ve even begun. I’m not sure what kind of attention you’re thinking about, but any attention that you do get, will be based solely on the fact that I’m associated with your firm. The attention will in fact be on me, not your business. It will be good attention in any event. Good for your business as well as my planned business. Good exposure for your firm. It’s called ‘marketing’ and companies pay a lot of money for that kind of stuff”, explained Mary. Goodness knows, she thought, your business could do with some exposure. It’s decaying from the inside out. Basic and average as far as businesses go. Mediocre. Ticking over. What’s the point of that? If you’re going to run a business, do it as best as you can. Why perform a half-hearted effort? Half-hearted commitment produces half-hearted results. Of course, she would not dare say this out loud to Jody.

The fact of the matter was clear to Mary. Jody had got a bee in her bonnet because finally, she had realised that Mary was serious about this venture. Not only had Mary been talking about it for months, she was actively taking steps towards implementing all her talk. Jody had realised that Mary was behaving like a professional on a mission, and she was determined, in a way that Jody had never known her to be. Their friendship had developed for over 15 years before arriving to this day, to this moment. The final death to an already dying relationship.

About two years earlier, Jody had decided not to speak to Mary for-ever more. Mary didn’t understand why Jody had done that. Cut all contact, abruptly one day. Without cause. No reason, nor rhyme.

Jody was a spoilt brat. Rich bitch, spoilt brat type. But she was who she was. There was no doubt that the centre of the world revolved around Jody. To Jody. In her world, she was sovereign and her subjects ran around obeying her demands. This included her mother, who was the most loyal of her subjects.

Jody had tried desperately for a child for many years. IVF treatment, after IFV treatment. Finally, she had her dream come true. She had a baby. Then she called Mary to share the news with her. After two years of no contact. One day, out of the blue. Did she want to share her joyous news of finally becoming a mother? Or did she want to gloat that she had succeeded and achieved the goal of motherhood, because she was wealthy and she could afford round after round of IVF? Something that Mary could not afford and, after her one and only go at an unsuccessful, IVF procedure she had accepted her losses. Motherhood was not in her cards. She could not afford any more medical assistance. It took a while, but she learnt to appreciate life outside the societal expectation of parenthood.

Mary was on another mission. She had shared her dream with Jody. That was a bad idea now, in hindsight. Why, did she tell Jody about her dream? She had needed some minor support, nothing too onerous, from someone who was already established in the industry. Jody was established. Jody was her friend. Jody and Mary had a long and colourful history. Mary had helped Jody in the past, when she had needed support in the early days of her business. When she was facing bankruptcy.

Jody had been keen to get involved, a few weeks ago. Arranged for the legal paperwork to be signed sealed and delivered in the speed of light. She was to ensure that she grabbed Mary and tied her up, into a contract before she changed her mind and went to someone else. Indeed, she had actively done all that she could in order to advise Mary not to go to one of her other two chosen options. So, what had changed?

Mary had already earned herself some money from this arrangement. And Jody had not. Jody did not like that. But that was the whole arrangement. Mary would utilise Jody as a step up into the business world. In the process, Jody would earn herself some money too. Money she would otherwise never make. Business she would otherwise never get. This was good for her business growth. On some occasions, Mary would make money, on others Jody would. At times, they both would. Seemed fair. Mary would do all the work. Jody would reap a reward for having done well, nothing simply put. For a few months only. This was a short-term arrangement.

But, Jody was so envious over the fact that, for the first time in their friendship, Mary was being shrewd and behaving like a businesswoman. Like a boss. She was being astute and she was being assertive. She was not dropping her standards and she was not taking any prisoners. She had a goal. An ambition. And it looked like she knew what she was talking about and what she needed to do. This frightened Jody. It threatened her for some reason. A shift was taking place within the friendship. A shift that was already starting to show Jody as the mediocre career woman that she truly was. Despite her public façade.

When Jody gets threatened, she gets nasty. Like a spoilt brat. If her demands are not met, she will stamp her feet. Right on top of your head, if possible.

“You know that I need this support,” said Mary. “You know that this is only short term until I have my own firm. You also know that you will benefit financially from this arrangement. Furthermore, you know that breaking this agreement will not only mean that you are in breach of our contracts, both the verbal and the written. You are also in breach of the loyalty that comes from a friendship. You will leave me at a financial loss. You know all of this”.

No apology from Jody. No remorse. She did not care. Rather than Mary becoming upset and losing her temper, Jody got upset and lost her temper. She shouted at Mary. Accused her of being selfish and thinking only of herself. “Listen to your-self” she hissed at Mary. “I’ve never heard you talk like this”.

“Like what? Like being assertive you mean?” asked Mary.

“You see? That’s my point. You are full of yourself. Who do you think you are,” she shouted at Mary. “I don’t recognise you. I don’t know who you are anymore”. She shouted. She sounded venomous. Like she was experiencing the mother of all rages but, she was diverting her entire energy levels, on ensuring that this rage did not rise above the surface of her skin. So long as it remained internalised, Jody could behave like Mary was the person betraying this long-nurtured friendship. This was not Jody’s fault. No. She convinced herself.

Mary was baffled. She couldn’t understand what was behind this behaviour on the part of Jody. Why was she being so hostile? Why was she accusing Mary of falsehoods? Mary was just trying to earn a living, as was she, and as was the human race itself. Trying to live the best life she could. What was Jody’s problem? Why was she being so obstructive? So unhelpful? So purposely, unsupportive and belligerent? Should friends behave like this?

She, Mary did not have time for this. “Fine” she said. “Let’s forget the whole thing and go our separate ways. But remember this, as of today, you should consider me as a direct competitor of yours. Let me show you how a real professional works”.

Upon hearing this, Jody hung up the phone. She cut Mary off. Then she blocked Mary.

Mary decided it was better for her mental health, not to try to speculate why Jody had turned into this horrible, unsupportive and hostile ‘friend’. The question was, what would Mary do, when in another two years, Jody made contact again out of the blue? When Mary had reached her goals and risen to the levels above. Levels above Jody. Far above her.


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