How do you end a partnership gracefully--without a lot of hard feelings?
October 31, 2007 5:54 AM   Subscribe

How do you end a partnership gracefully--without a lot of hard feelings?

My best friend/roommate and I started a rally race team about 8 months ago. We said that we both wanted to drive (in Rally there is a driver and navigator), so we were 50/50 for effort into the car, money, etc...and then we would each drive 50% of the time.

He recently decided he wants to move 3 hours away.

For the team, we own the rally car, a tow vehicle/short bus, and a tow dolly... There are a few tools (maybe $300 to $400 worth).

Total investment is about $15,000. The tow vehicle (it is an old short bus) has about $4000 into it, the tow dolly was $600, and the car is the rest. $5700 of the $15000 is debt on a credit card we hold jointly.

The car takes a huge amount of time and effort to prep for each race. For our first race it took several months of working several hours a day and 12 hour weekend days to prep it. I'm not prepared to do all the work, and then show up at the race to let him drive half the time. When I asked him what was going to happen with the car, he said, "I think we can still work something out" but refuses to talk about it more. He has a job offer, but they aren't giving him as much as he wants yet, so he says I'm "acting like a girl" that I want to talk about it. I'm pretty much screaming inside, but I'm keeping it under wraps.

Should I just let it be, or should I press him? Does it seem fair if I offer to assume the credit card debt, and but the car is then mine--and he can take the bus? The car is legally in my name, the bus is legally in his.

Any tips for not ruining the friendship? I'm not prepared to buy him out, because I'd be in major debt for years and not be able to race at all.
posted by rocket_johnny to Human Relations (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think you need a straight answer from him regarding his future plans before you decide what to do. The major factor will be his commitment to continue racing with you, so I would ask him flat out to tell you his plans. "I think we can still work something out," doesn't really cut it when there are serious sums of money invested.
posted by fire&wings at 6:03 AM on October 31, 2007

Maybe you _can_ work something out before the move--the time frame isn't really clear from your post. His plans or ideas aren't really clear yet either.

If the move actually comes to pass, a simple solution would be for you to go ahead and sell everything and apply the money to the credit card. But that depends on who has title to the vehicles.

You've learned a lesson for the future. Don't hold assets or incur debt jointly with anyone else.
posted by JimN2TAW at 6:19 AM on October 31, 2007

If he keeps up with the unfair "acting like a girl" routine, say "Actually, I'm acting like a man-- one who has made a serious investment of time and money and is trying to sort it out cleanly like a good friend." From there you can ask him why he's avoiding this and what his thoughts are.
posted by hermitosis at 6:23 AM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

Maybe you _can_ work something out before the move--the time frame isn't really clear from your post. His plans or ideas aren't really clear yet either.

He is very unclear about his plans to me too. When he started applying for jobs he pretty much stopped talking to me. When I ask him anything, he says "I don't know", but then I hear him telling people it is "going to be quick". He didn't even tell me he had a job offer -- I overheard him telling another friend at a bar. I then asked him why he was hadn't told me, and he just said he didn't know...that he wasn't keeping it from me. Then I asked about plans again, and he won't talk about it.
posted by rocket_johnny at 6:38 AM on October 31, 2007

Maybe it is something that he is feeling anxious about, and it is easier to talk to people with whom he has less of an emotional investment with.

Job search stuff can be really bleh, especially if it isn't going terribly well, and he may not want to get all blubbery about it himself, which he may be afraid will happen if he goes into the detail you're looking at.

But this is hard to judge without knowing the person.
posted by that girl at 7:13 AM on October 31, 2007

Give the guy some space- sounds to me like he is dealing with bigger issues.

I would just let it be, if he is still making his share of the payments and pulling his weight you guys should continue to race together. Why invent a problem that doesn't really exist yet? If he moves off more than likely he might show up to race a time or two but you will probably inherit the car, the debt and all the fun that comes with it sooner or later.

BTW, I think you are acting like a pussy but that is not always a bad thing- just annoying as hell.
posted by bkeene12 at 7:17 AM on October 31, 2007

He's not your best friend. From a previous question, he's someone you want to fuck and have a relationship with and from his actions, he's figured that out and is trying to dodge any number of questions.

So you need to decide what you want to do in terms of this car and partnership. Assumig the debt for the car and keeping it sounds like good idea.

As to not ruining the friendship, BOTH of you have to want that. At the moment, your legitmate concerns are being ignored or poo pooed, which is not something a friend does. So put your foot down. From the way he's acting, you should prepare yourself and act like you're willing to risk the friendship to avoid being left in this financial lurch. Put aside those feelings you have for him and do what you have to do to protect yourself, because it sounds like you're about to be screwed and not in the way you want.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:22 AM on October 31, 2007 [3 favorites]

Your friend may not be trying to maliciously screw you over... it doesn't sound like it anyway. Plus it sounds like he is preoccupied with this new job and some of the stresses involved with moving, etc.

You should say, "Look dude, I know you've been avoiding talking about this, but if you still want to be friends then we're going to have to sit down and divvy up our car stuff."

Then you should put together a complete list of all assets including their true value (adjusted for use, etc.) and figure out what you want to keep and what you think he should take. Then when you have your sit down you should be able to reach some sort of consensus on what is going to happen to your mutual stuff.

(By the way, your labor is worth nothing... you shouldn't include it or whine about it. This was a for-fun hobby you entered into with your friend, not some profit-making venture. You knew it would take a lot of time.)
posted by wfrgms at 7:44 AM on October 31, 2007

My own suggestion would be to present him with an alternative you're going to go ahead with unless he starts participating in an alternative process more to his satisfaction.

"Joe, we need to resolve this before you leave. I'm going to sell the rally car and tow vehicle to Alan's Sports Vehicles on 35th, and put the tools on eBay. I'm going to use whatever we make to pay down the $5.7k debt on that credit card. Furthermore, I've spoken with CreditCardVendor regarding the logistics of the situation. They are willing to issue us both new credit cards and do separate balance transfers of $2.7k to yours and to mine, assuming we fax them a jointly signed letter stating we wish that to occur. I've typed up two letters for your signature. One indicates your desire to split the debt on the CreditCardVendor card; the other permits me to handle the sale of the towbus. If you can sign that, I'll send you a check for your half of the proceeds of the sale, along with copies of the sale receipts from Alan's and from eBay. If you'd like to do something differently, now's the time to propose it."

"What the hell, man?"

"Listen, Joe, I'm not trying to be a hardass. But it's important to not only my financial health but yours that we get this resolved. We have significant credit card debt here — we need to decide where we're going to go with this."

I'm not saying the above solution needs to be the one you present to him. I'm just saying that my suggestion would be to form a plan based on the (erroneous) premise that you have complete control of the situation and can resolve it whatever way you like, and then approach him with it, requiring (at the time you present it to him) either what legal assent is needed from him to carry out your plan, or his participation in the formation of a mutually agreeable alternative.

By the way ... I hate to say this, but as a legal assistant, I've seen a lot of friends who had formed business partnerships have very nasty and huge legal fights. All I'm saying is ... steel (and prepare) yourself for this all to possibly go very, very bad.
posted by WCityMike at 7:44 AM on October 31, 2007

What do YOU want? (I mean regarding the car...) Instead of asking to talk about it, come to him with a plan. Don't wait for him to decide. You can enter into some sort of formal or informal contract on the debt. You can write up who gets what. You can propose to sell everything, if that's what you want. Come to him with something upfront and he'll talk to you. My advice is to breakup the rally team.
posted by Eringatang at 7:45 AM on October 31, 2007

Brandon: You're right. I guess I have been kinda f-ed up about the whole thing with him. From the previous post, I did go ahead and tell him . He was shocked--and then he just put his arms around me and said, "I still love you". Yeah--I'm a pussy--but I feel better about that.

I'm going to go ahead and hope for the whole "too emotionally invested" comment. It just sucks that he won't talk to me.

As far as the other comments about what I want out of it. I went into it knowing it would be expensive and time consuming. I know the time isn't worth money. But if I do all the work, I am pretty adamant that I want to do the driving. There is a good chance the car will be totalled during a race--and if I spent 3 months alone working on it--with maybe a weekend of help--I want to be the one that makes the mistake that wrecks it.
posted by rocket_johnny at 8:27 AM on October 31, 2007

Yes, come up with a plan or buy him out. I have a feeling you're going to be left holding the bills.
posted by elle.jeezy at 8:43 AM on October 31, 2007

Don't allow yourself to be manipulated with the "I still love you" comments. If he knows you're interested in him and he's moving away from you, he can use that to distract you from the issues that need to be dealt with. That seriously seems like an odd response given what you've written about him in this and your previous posts.
posted by onhazier at 9:45 AM on October 31, 2007

Do you really need an answer about the racecar right now? Yeah, this is something you'll have to deal with sometime, but he's only moving three hours away, not joining the Peace Corps in Africa.

You sound really sad and mad that he's stopped talking to you in general, as well as about the money stuff. (I would be too.) So, I'm wondering whether the money/racecar issue could be an outlet for other problems you have with how he's acting but can't discuss (moving, not telling you, suddenly acting like a stranger). It might seem legitimate to say "We have to talk about your plans to move! What's going to happen to ... our racecar business partnership?" when it wouldn't seem legitimate to say "We have to talk about your plans to move! What's going to happen to us? We're BFFs and were (eventually, maybe) going to be lovers!" Are you just saying "let's dissolve this partnership NOW" out of hurt?

If so, I'd be honest with yourself that this business talk is really about your feelings toward him. Hey, maybe for him, the same thing is happening (as I continue to speculate wildly about strangers) -- maybe he's conflicted about his feelings for you and doesn't want to talk about splitting up the car company because he unconsciously doesn't want to officially be ending your connection to each other.

You need to resolve the money stuff sometime, but if there's no business reason to resolve it right now, you could wait until the whole situation is less full of emotional issues. Or you could work on it now because of the emotional issues (e.g., having the business part behind you would formalize the separation and help you move on). I'd just get clear in your mind how your obviously strong feelings about him are influencing your thinking about these money issues.
posted by salvia at 10:05 AM on October 31, 2007

It seems like he wants space. That's why he hasn't been telling you his plans, etc. Give him space. Stop asking him about his plans. Just let him be for a week or so.

If he starts moving out, you will notice.

It seems like you're really crowding him and he doesn't want you to be that involved with his life. Or, even if he does, you're kinda nagging him. That'll just drive him away. Just give him some time to breathe and think about what he wants to do with himself and his life.

Good luck.
posted by sondrialiac at 10:09 AM on October 31, 2007

Yeah--I'm a pussy

No, you're not. You had the guts to delcare your feelings, despite the fear of rejection. So do take some pride in being an adult and asking for you wanted.

As for the rest, you're still not being a pussy, maybe a little foolish, just like anyone else have been when they're in love, but you're still adamant about certain things and not being screwed over, so again, you're not wimp, weakling or pussy.

Good luck.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:53 AM on October 31, 2007

Maybe this is off topic, but given your history with this guy, and the sort of ehad case he seems to be, "You're acting like a girl" sounds like a come-on.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:13 AM on October 31, 2007

"You're acting like a girl" sounds like a come-on.

No, it sounds like a misogynistic, homophobic comment that is designed to censure rocket_johnny's behavior and get him to back off.
posted by sondrialiac at 11:16 AM on October 31, 2007

sondrialiac is right, it was a comment to get me to back off. You know how when someone close to you knows the right button to push to slap you in the face when you're feeling blue.

Good thing I didn't crawl into bed with him; rather, just told him that I am bi.

I'm kinda pissed at him (so maybe this post is off-topic), because he touches me and sits RIGHT up against me, and can be very intimate on occasion... He did say "that's not my thing" after I told him about liking boys. I don't foresee a future with this guy romantically if he doesn't make a move though. I think the ball is in his court now.
posted by rocket_johnny at 11:24 AM on October 31, 2007

Eh well, who knows what lurks in the mind of the maybe closeted homophobe. Sorry, bad guess I take it.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:26 AM on October 31, 2007

You are probably better off that he is moving away. You ought to consider approaching him about selling all of the rally stuff and figuring out an equitable way to split the proceeds.
posted by BobbyDigital at 11:47 AM on October 31, 2007

he touches me and sits RIGHT up against me, and can be very intimate on occasion...

Unless he is literally touching your dick, this is just friendly behavior that he doesn't see as sexual because he's not into boys. Yeah, it sucks, but it's not his fault. He simply doesn't see you in a sexual way, so it's hard for him to remember that hugging you might be awkward for you, or whatever.

It's just one of those weird disconnects that happens when the level of sexual interest is uneven. It can be very painful, but I doubt he's doing it just to tease or hurt you.
posted by sondrialiac at 11:55 AM on October 31, 2007

Jesus. It's pretty obvious what's going on here.

He found your last Ask.Metafilter question, buddy.

It'd be hard for me, too, if I found out a good friend of mine was asking perfect strangers how to hit on me.
posted by koeselitz at 12:59 PM on October 31, 2007

OP in your last post you asked if you should crawl into bed with this guy. You also noted that he is a huge homophobe. You then went and told him you are bi.

And he's moving out. And not talking to you about it. I think the answer on the romantic relationship is a resounding "NO".

The bright side is: You HAVE kept your friendship. He didn't react by hitting you, or freaking out and screaming. He is, however, voting with his feet to take care of himself and exit a situation that he does not feel comfortable with.

The car is secondary to all this - he is figuring out his feelings about his BFF who he now has to look at in a different way and he is very busy taking himself out of a situation he is extremely uncomfortable in. He still cares about you, and has told you so. I think when you call yourself a "pussy" you are reflecting on your own feelings of neediness and insecurity. You are still hoping your friend will want to have a romantic relationship; and you are behaving passively - (key word here is: waiting). I suggest you go out, make new friends, and start meeting men (or women) who might return your interest.
posted by zia at 5:28 AM on November 1, 2007

Oh and find another roommate. Perhaps a woman this time?
posted by zia at 5:29 AM on November 1, 2007

Oh yeah. I guess I should have said this before. He was moving out anyhow. I kinda knew it was coming even before the last post. That is why I figured--what have I got to lose. He was waffeling, and then decided he was leaving--so I decided to go ahead and tell him. Might as well be real after living with him for years. I would personally feel a little (just a twinge) hurt if I lived with someone on-and-off for 7 years and then found out like a few years later they didn't trust me enough to be real.

After much thought...I'm just trying to be supportive of him--and will probably just go ahead and pretend the racecar isn't going to be a problem (I usually hate letting that stuff fester--want to be proactive so it doesn't eat me up inside) He finally told me he's moving yesterday (like 90% definite). So today we're going to test drive cars for him and then watch the hockey game.

Thanks for all the insight. Sometimes it just helps to get a ton of opinions from people unrelated to the situation, and then just see where my heart leads me.
posted by rocket_johnny at 8:14 AM on November 1, 2007

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