Dealing With Betrayal


I have a friend who, after going out on his own, is being undermined by people with which he used to work. He didn’t become a competitor, just started his own business, and his former associates are reeling up some ridiculous “corporate conflict” charges against him. It’s a sad situation.

I’m hoping things work out, but I’m afraid it’s getting worse. He’s a good guy who doesn’t deserve the messiness of betrayal.

Betrayal is sneaky, and it does – pardon the cliché – feel like a knife in the back. They’re lonely and unfair, but simply taking it isn’t the only option. There are some wise precautions to take when people with harmful intent are waiting to pounce. I’m advising my friend with the following: 

  1. Keep cool. Don’t blow things out of proportion, don’t fly off the handle, don’t let your anger seer. In every email and in every discussion on the matter, be gracious and play it safe. If you’re convinced you’re actually being thrown under the bus, then…
  2. Keep it in writing. No more phone calls trying to appease and be understanding. Let the calls go to voicemail, follow up with emails. If not in writing, consider it not said.
  3. Keep friends with a lawyer. No one likes a lawyer until you need one. I’m blessed to be friends with a few, plus several of my debate alumni are law students. Sitting down with a lawyer helps sort out what is petty from what is legally significant.
  4. Keep professional. Let your yes mean yes, no mean no, and don’t get caught saying much else more. Especially, don’t go gossiping. I have a good article about this: Why Gossip Never Wins.
  5. Keep perspective. Your attackers have problems, but those aren’t your problems to solve. This conflict is – as all conflicts are – an opportunity to understand your business and how you deal with difficult people. You may learn a little about yourself in the process.
  6. Keep focus. Especially if those involved were some you used to call friends, it’ll be difficult to not feel down. My friend is depressed and discouraged, but I’ve encouraged him to keep his eye on his good work for the time being until he works his way through the messiness of betrayal.

He’s going to pull through. I just know it. And he’ll be a better person with more determination to do a great job at the work he does. Hang in there, buddy!

Musicians play for their fans. Those who play for record companies and sales betray their fans. – Chris Jeub [Tweet this.]

Question: Have you dealt with betrayal? How did you manage it?