just what is a good friend worth?

Friends…

Those wonderful people who know everything about us…and still like us.

Friends are those people we call when we need a shoulder to cry on. Friends are there to help us out of a jam. They pick us up when we are down and the people we share our victories with.

Friends may not be perfect, but neither are we.

However, all friends aren’t created equal.

We all have friends, “good” friends and true friends.

I read in a book once that a teacher told his students that if they had one real friend in their life they should consider themselves lucky.

In my youth, I would have disagreed…but life has taught me otherwise.

People drift into, and out of, our lives for reasons too numerous to name. Some stay, some leave.

We’ve all had girlfriends or boyfriends that just didn’t work out and some we stay friends with, others we never hear from again. The same can be said for friends.

But of the three types of friends I mentioned above, true friends are hard to come by.

One thing that can destroy friendships, even the strongest ones, is money.

I have seen more than a few people choose money over friendship and paid a much bigger price than they realize.

One of my mentors told me a few years back that deals between friends often end badly; especially when there’s nothing in writing. He was right.

Sadly, today someone’s word just isn’t what it used to be.

My mentor went on to tell me that people when they are starting out in business, with very little profit and sales to their name, are often willing to part with more equity in their company than they should. And in the end, things go badly.

That’s what happened to a friend of mine.

In return for a sizable contribution (in the form of services) to his friend’s business (who we’ll call Steve), my friend was to receive 20%.

Now 20% of a business that made $10,000 a year wasn’t much so Steve readily accepted as he didn’t have the time or money to invest upfront.

But when success came Steve’s way, and his profits skyrocketed, suddenly that 20% seemed an awfully high price to pay. Especially considering Steve was doing all the work.

Next thing, you knew Steve wanted to “renegotiate” the deal.

Instead of 20%, Steve offered 7%, which was rejected.

Then Steve asked to buy him out for pittance.

In the end, my friend decided that it just wasn’t worth doing business with someone like that and simply walked away, leaving his 20% on the table. He never said anything to his “friend” but he realized that he didn’t want to waste any more time trying to salvage the relationship.

The sad fact is Steve chose money over friendship. He chose to go back on his word so my friend chalked it up to a life lesson and moved on with his life.

Will Steve ever understand what happened? I doubt it.

I know the type and they always seem to see things differently. Like their friend was being unreasonable. That he didn’t realize the deal he made upfront was going to cost him more than he knew and felt it was unfair.

I wish I could say that these things are rare, but I’ve seen them happened to so many people, myself included.

I’ve found myself in similar situations more than one. I made big promises to friends not knowing exactly what I was getting myself into and found myself stuck. I could either go back on my word or pay the price.

But when it comes to friends, I pay the price.

To me, a good friend is worth more than a stack of paper.

I can always make more money, but friends, especially true friends, don’t come along very often.

In life, it’s not about how much money we make but rather how much we do for the people around us; our family, our community and yes, our friends.

Money is simply a by-product of doing good.

There are those who make money by lying, cheating and deceiving others…but they never last.

In the end, who you are is much more important than what you earn.

Value your friends, because there will come a time when money won’t solve your problems and it’s precisely then when you’ll need a friend the most.

Adrian Shepherd

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