Previously if I heard those words, I’d wonder why they don’t leave this person? That was until I considered that maybe it’s not the actual person that makes the relationship toxic? In fact, this person could be a good friend. It may not be the person themselves that’s the problem, but the expectations they have of you. Their vision of things is so far beyond their budget or time frame, or their understanding is just not there. Their requirements become so unrealistic that this business partnership becomes toxic.
Warning signs that you’re in a toxic partnership
- It’s your downtime, the phone rings and the person calling doesn’t care that you’re busy, having dinner, or having family time, or that it’s outside office hours and it’s just an invasion of your space. You are expected to be on call day or night.
- You’re forced into a corner and asked to do things that you’ve already explained cannot happen under the project constraints. Conditions are unreasonable, and you are asked to go way beyond the agreed terms. Demands are made that are just unrealistic.
- You are entitled to your opinion, but it won’t be listened to anyway. You just want to change something for the better, but your ideas are ignored. You start to get left out of meetings and are left to figure things out alone.
- All respect is lost in the relationship. Payments are delayed and new conditions introduced after the initial agreement. Excuses are made and more demands.
Mending a toxic business partnership
Sometimes the situation reaches a point where you can’t take any more. It’s best to be prepared before this happens. Give yourself a timeframe and make a list of things that the other person would need to do to salvage this partnership. If they show improvement in the allocated time, then there is maybe still a chance to save this. This may even strengthen the partnership and fix itself completely in the future. But not every relationship can be saved. Sometimes it is important to know when to quit and break away from a toxic environment. It’s hard to give up on something, but sometimes it might be the best option for you.
Breaking away from a toxic business partnership
Firstly set a date. Decide on a timeframe to finish all open projects, hand over any work, and leave no meetings arranged after that date. We all look forward to an event so make sure this one has a set date. The main person to consider in this breakup should be you. Make sure that you come away from this knowing that although it might hurt at first, this breakup is for the best. You will save time and emotional anguish and eventually the stress you feel from this will pass. You owe it to yourself to be happy.
This is Frieder wishing you a pleasant breakup.