Dear Aunty B,
My business partner and I have worked side by side for three years. The first two were really stressful and the last one has also been pretty bad.
Apart from the odd disagreement we have never fought, but about a month ago we had a massive fight about something really quite trivial – whether we outsource or do our website internally.
We said a lot of things that it seemed we had bottled up for years. A few things we said to each other were really cruel. We have since made up and partly blamed the stress of the business on the blow up. I then went home that night, enormously relieved, and thought it was going to be OK.
But while I have put aside the bad things said to me, things are not back to normal between us and it’s really hurtful. I think some trust has gone from the relationship. I want it back the way it was but don’t know how to get there. Should I raise it again or let time heal the hurt?
I hurt in sympathy. If only we could learn to shut our mouths! You know, the key to a successful marriage is doing just that. You snap from pressure. If you want to say something cruel or horrible to your business partner or your wife, then clamp your jaws shut, think for a second and say something else – something nice while you think about how to make your point with tact. Practise it. It really works.
But that’s just twisting the knife isn’t it. Business is busy. You have to get on with things. I wouldn’t try another heart to heart. Business people like action.
Organise some time out of the office to talk about strategy. Reinforce the good things you have done in the past to remind you both of your history and how far you have come together. Make sure you compliment your partner so they are also reminded that you do respect them and love working with them.
Remind yourselves of your shared, common goals and challenges you both have to overcome. And maybe do your partner a few thoughtful little things you know they like. You can’t unsay stuff but you can encourage the person to move on as new shared experiences will push the hurt aside.
Your Aunty B
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