Scott Shaw.com Be Positive

Friend or Foe

We all have our interpersonal relationships. With each of them, we must strike a balance as to what they bring to us, and we bring to them. None are perfect. Each has its ups and its downs. That’s just life.
 
Through understanding that each relationship is not perfect, we choose to find and accept a balance of mutual acceptability and forgiveness. Yes, forgiveness, because as each relationship is not perfect, there is always a give and a take. We must accept the good with the bad.
 
But, there comes a point where we must decide if the bad overpowers the good—the doing of something that is not right, weights more heavily on our minds than the goodness we gain. Then, it may be time for us to leave that relationship behind.
 
I think back to this one friendship I had. It was a long-standing friendship, decades in the making. Though not perfect, as no relationship ever is, it filled a spot in my life, and I believe one in the life of that other person. What happened that lead to my stepping away was very slow in its making.
 
This relationship revolved around the world of music. And, I guess that’s what brought it down.
 
My friend owned and operated a, “Shop.” Long before the days of eBay, and other online services. When I wanted to move a guitar or something along, I would try selling it via his shop. I think to this one vintage bass I brought in for him to sell for me. No bid deal, though it was a very specific, unique piece of musical craftsmanship. I left it and a few months later I get a call that he had sold it for four hundred something dollars. Low, I thought, for the rarity of the piece, but what could I do? My friend took his twenty percent cut, and that was that. Jump forward a few weeks and my lady was doing what she was doing back then, having a monthly tea session with her mother, her sister, and her aunt. This time, it was to be held at our place. Not wanting to be around to interrupt any of the family fun they were to have, I headed out. While out, I popped into this one guitar shop up in West Hollywood that focused on vintage gear. In there, I saw the bass, my friend had sold for me. The price tag, over two-thousand dollars. Obviously, what his customer and so-called, “Friend,” had done was to buy the bass to resell it to this shop for a vast profit. Initially, I believe my friend knew the value of the bass and so I didn’t argue the price he sold it for. But, he did not. Did he just take the money and run? Or, did he sell it for more and not tell me the true amount he got for the instrument? Though my friend denied and denied my claims, and that the bass I saw was not even my one-time bass, (though I knew that it was), that question always remained in the back in my mind.
 
Skip forward a number of years; my friend calls me up one day and tells me he knows someone who wants to buy this very rare guitar I owned for $8,000.00. I was at one of those points in my life where I was a bit cash poor, you know how that is, and I could use the money. So, I again agree, trusting that my friend knew what a fair price for the instrument was. He took his $2,000.00 commission and I got six G’s. But, it was soon after this that I came to find out that the guitar was valued in the neighbor of $75,000.00 to 100,000.00, not $8,000.00. When I would periodically visit with my friend, I would bring up this fact. Again, he would deny that number. But, did he know and sell me short, not telling me the true amount he sold the guitar for, (as I knew he was in desperate need of money), or did he just sell it for a low-ball price before researching the true value of the instrument? In either case, just like with the bass, I got screwed. And, these weren’t the only times this type of situation took place.
 
I continued to see him for the next few years. But, as time moved along, the loss of those instruments, at the hands of this man, and for far less money than I should have received, continued to haunt my feelings about our relationship. Was it my fault for letting him sell those instruments in the first place? Absolutely! Of course, it was. But, that’s the thing about friendship, and that’s what keeps them together or what breaks them apart; trust. Eventually, based on these factors, I just did not feel comfortable hanging out with him anymore.
 
These days, every now and then, I get a call from the guy: when something is going on, a mutual friend has died, or on my birthday. Me, I never respond. Though I wish him nothing but the best, his action lead to my not trusting him and regretting that I allowed him to sell my instruments. And, due to him leading me into those deals, and others, that were less than truly beneficial for me, I question, were we ever friends at all?

The thing is, most people don't possess the dedication and/or the fortitude to make things right, when they’ve done something that hurt someone else. They only think about themselves and maybe even make excuses or give themselves justification for what they have done. Thus, friendships are lost.
 
So, all of this is just something to think about as you pass down the road of life. Life is about relationships. All relationships are based upon how you treat the other person and how the other person treats you. Are you only in it for you?  Are they only in it for themselves? And, no matter who is doing what, if you are self-motivated or unthinking in any of your actions regarding that other individual—if you hurt them, are you truly their friend at all?