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Are You A $10,000 Friend?

September 18, 2013

The definition of a $10,000 Friend is someone whom you could call and the entire conversation would be:

I can’t explain right now. But, I need you to get $10,000 and meet me in Bogota, Colombia. I’ll explain when you get here.

And then you hang up. A $10,000 Friend will somehow show up in Bogota and say

Okay, why do I have a suitcase full of cash and what are we doing in Bogota, Colombia?

But, despite the name, it’s not about money. It’s about trust and accepting responsibility for someone else. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of godparents. I didn’t grow up in a culture that valued godparents. I never had godparents and my children have none. But, I have friends who pick godparents for their kids.

So, what’s a godparent do?

If anything happens to me, the godparents agree to look after their godchild. They commit to be a resource for them. To help them.

Tammi and I dated a couple of times in high school. we’ve stayed friends overthe years. she got into a bad marriage. Her husband abused her to the point she was disabled. Then he took the kids, moved across the country and left her destitute and alone in a house she couldn’t afford and couldn’t sell.

Tammi tried to do it all herself, the legal wranglings over custody across two states, the allegations of abuse, trying to get the house ready to sell. She lived thousands of miles from me, so all I could do was offer encouragement and prayers.

Eventually her daughter’s godfather found out what was happening. He was like a sunrise after a stormy night. He stepped in and cleaned up the mess. He paid for a top notch lawyer. He provided her and her kids a safe place to live while she healed. She’s not out of the woods, but when the godfather stepped in, things started getting better in a hurry.

Like I said, I don’t have godparents. But, I have been blessed with a $10,000 Friend two in fact. During the move to Wisconsin that turned out so badly (Read the five part series here) I called my friends. The first one lives in Scotland. The second lives in Redmond, WA. Neither one was in a position where they actually had $10,000 at the time. One of them offered to cash out their stock holdings at a tremendous loss.

The money is yours if you need it.

The other drained his savings and sent me a check.

A few days ago I talked about loaning money to friends (How Important Is $1000 To You?) What’s funny is that family might not be $10,000 Friends. I love my family and they have helped me out countless times, as I’ve helped them. But, if I called my mother and said, “Mom, I need you to get a suitcase full of money and meet me in Colombia, I’m not sure she’d be on a plane. Although, I’m sure she’d want to help.

It’s unfortunate that we use money to gauge relationships. Not everyone is cut out to be a $10,000 Friend. I was telling the $10,000 Friend story to a person I’d known and worked with for years. We have become pretty close.

You could call me for $10,000. I think I’m that kind of a friend.

Months later we had a minor crisis and I talked to him again. Turns out his wife was not a $10,000 Friend. And I guess that’s the difference between $10,000 Friends and godparents. You cannot have a $10,000 Friend unless you are willing to be a $10,000 Friend. Both my friend in Redmond and my friend in Scotland know that they could call me in the middle of the night and say,

I can’t explain right now, but I need you to get $10,000 and meet me in Bogota, Colombia. I’ll explain when you get here.

And I’d do whatever I needed to do to get the money together and get on a plane. After all, they’d do the same for me.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.

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  1. Toad permalink

    I’ve never heard that phrase. I like it.

    • I didn’t consciously borrow it from somewhere else, but, as Abe Lincoln can tell you, claiming original credit for anything on the Internet can be tricky.

  2. Nice. This would be a great way to figure out who should be in your inner circle.

    • Absolutely. What’s interesting about the two friends I mentioned, is that don’t know each other. So, both in MY circle, but not each others.

  3. Article was great. Seeing you have 13 kids is a testament to all things great in the world!

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