My mate and I have been together for 25 years in both a personal and business relationship. We have a lot in common and there are many positive aspects to our relationship, but for years we have butted heads on differences when it comes to working together.
We are both musicians, but we are also business partners in another venture that requires business tasks such as making phone calls, doing research, having discussions, creating documents, etc. Sometimes, while in the middle of doing our business tasks, my mate picks up his guitar and plays it. It is very distracting and hard for me to focus on our tasks during business hours while hearing him practice guitar and knowing his full attention is not directed to what we are working on. For years, I have asked him to please not play guitar while we are conducting business, explaining the reasons above, yet he continues to do it. He says he is perfectly capable of focusing fully on business tasks while playing, which he has proven not to be true countless times, and he puts himself first, without concern for the distraction I am forced to deal. In spite of what I feel is a disrespectful, selfish attitude on his part, I have tried to be lenient to make him happy, but there are times I have to insist he put the guitar down, which makes me feel like a parent reprimanding a child.
Last week, during our business hours, we received an extremely important document that needed our full attention…a contract that will have substantial implications on our financial future. We were conducting a conference call with a third business partner to discuss the document who suggested we read the document together line by line to make sure every point was understood. I was sitting at my computer fully focused on the document, and my mate was lying on his back on our sofa playing the guitar with his laptop beside him on the coffee table. I asked him to put the document on his computer screen and read along with us. Not wanting to stop playing guitar, he said in an annoyed tone as he continued to play …”Can’t you just read to me what the document says?” I said, no, and restated my request. He smirked and shook his head, even further annoyed by me saying no, which blew my mind. Here he was lying back on the sofa playing guitar, while I was giving my full attention to a very important business matter that will affect our future, and he was asking me to do his job for him. Simply by me asking him to step up to the plate to do his share (which I shouldn’t have had to do in the first place), he had a negative attitude toward me and shook his head as if I was imposing on him. Frustrated beyond words, I blurted out in an an even more annoyed tone … “Why are you shaking your head? I need you to focus on this document with us!”
He glared at me in disdain, angry at me for speaking to him in a demanding tone in front of our third business partner who was on the conference call, something I had never done before, but his attitude was so defiant, unfair and unreasonable to me, I was indeed angry. He proceeded to speak to me in a hateful tone during the conference call and when we hung up the phone, he accused me of attacking HIM.
There are countless other circumstances that have taken place which are similar and have created problems for us. It is very difficult to be in both a personal and business relationship with someone, however, we have made a great team in many ways, so I have stayed in the relationship and continued to try to make things work, both personally and professionally. Usually, we solve issues (temporarily) through communication when we have disagreements, but this time, I have lost my desire to enter into a discussion with him to work things out. We have already been through the scenario above so many times before and I feel to discuss it with him again will only lead to further argument and will be similar to talking to the wall.
It would seem the answer is simple…to just not work with him anymore, but we are so entangled in business and a 25 year personal realtionship that it would be a major upheaval in every aspect in both of our lives to separate. My mate always makes me feel like I am the one who is too demanding and that is the cause of our problems. Do you think I am being too demanding by requesting he not play guitar while we conduct business, and do I not have the right to ask my business partner to contribute equally? I have tried to solve this issue many times by suggesting we establish guidelines that will alleviate the conflict, but he is admittedly rebellious and anti-establishment, so establishing rules never seems to work and makes him resent me.
Currently there is thick tension between us and we have quite an unhappy household. I am not sure which way to turn and I would value any comments or suggestions from anyone who may have suggestions or opinions on my situation.