We all know friends will come and go in life, mostly fading in and out because of random factors, but it always stings when someone you consider a confidant, someone you turn to when times are tough, turns out to be a back-stabbing bi*ch.
So, I found it interesting when this email hit my inbox pitching legal services to create something I’d never heard of before: Friendship Contracts.
The PR gal pitching it tells me it’s the newest trend in legal documents.
She has an attorney lined up for me to interview about the trend, should I agree that it’s newsworthy.
She goes on to explain exactly what they are, who is requesting them, and exactly what they cover.
Here’s her explanation, word for word:
“For most people, friendship is governed by a set of unwritten rules or a kind of code of honor that dictates which behaviors are acceptable and which are not. For example, most women would agree that dating your friend’s ex behind her back would be unacceptable. But what if the unwritten rules we think our friends are following are not the same unwritten rules they think we are following? Here are some popular examples of clauses in friendship contracts:
- Both parties agree to talk to each other about anything that upsets them—before they become too big of a problem
- Both parties agree that they will not date past lovers or family members without consent
- Both parties agree on the amount of time spent together, whether they have husbands/wives or children
- Both parties agree that all secrets will not be shared, even if the friendship ends.”
And that’s the agreement.
I’m not really the lawsuit type, but I get a kick out of the idea of bringing a gal to court for breaking the buddy rules…violating the sacred sister code…or, as I described earlier, stabbing me in the back.
Think it’s silly? Well, maybe not.
MAKING THE CASE FOR THE CONTRACT
I’ve been betrayed before.
I had a “friend”, who was secretly dating (for several months) a not-yet-ex of mine, all the while pretending to be a good pal who let me cry on her shoulder about our troubles. Yeah, she even offered up advice about how you really need to have trust in a relationship.
Well, when I discovered the betrayal, I sent a simple text that said: I thought we were friends.
Her response: We are. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Well, you can imagine my response to that. It wasn’t pretty.
See, I believe, as the contract above states, that ‘friends’ don’t date past lovers (or current ones, either). Apparently, this person had another set of ethics.
The friendship contract would have prevented the problem.
Can you imagine the courtroom drama over this breach of contract?
Seems like a pretty clear-cut case to me.
In the end, I think I won anyway, without a contract, because I can look myself in the mirror with no shame.
But there would be no argument about whether it was right or wrong if the terms were clear to begin with, right?
So, maybe the contract isn’t such a bad idea.
But I’d add a few things.
- If you know of a mutual ‘friend’ dating a past (or current) friend’s lover, you’ll speak up about it, instead of watching it go on for months and saying nothing (yeah, that happened to me, too).
I could think of a few other amendments worth considering, too. I like something like:
- You’ll check in on each other every couple months if you live in different cities, just to be sure you’re both still alive.
- You’ll forgive each other if a family member’s sickness prevents either member from attending a scheduled get-together with each other.
- You’ll promise to tell the other if they have something in their teeth.
That’s all I can think of for now.
So, tell me what you think of the concept. Do contracts make sense, or do I just need to pick better friends?
And if you think it makes sense, what else would you add to the agreement?
Let me know below.