The Moral Dilemma of Standing by your loved ones

Have you ever experienced this? That feeling of confusion when you are in a situation where someone you really love and care for is involved in a somewhat unpleasant situation and wants you to stand beside him or her? Do you try to be objective and actually try to ascertain who is wrong and who is right in such a situation? Or do you just say to yourself “So what if my friend maybe wrong, I will support him or her any way”?

It is indeed a very difficult situation. I think there is actually no wrong or right here. Whatever you do, you stand to lose in some way or the other. If you support your friend knowing that he/she is not right, you are not being true to your values and if you do not support him/her, you might end up feeling guilty for not standing by someone you really care for.

I have faced this kind of a situation very recently and it made me question what kind of a person I really am. A friend of mine was involved in some kind of business transaction and the other person was making unusual demands. Again, I did not whole-heartedly support the condiions that my friend was talking about. But, the other person was being very assertive (and let’s say quarrelsome). My friend though usually a very eloquent speaker and more than competent of taking care of himself, was unwell that day and not able to argue his point. Now, I am generally a very easy-going person but I don’t know why I just jumped into the argument and taking my friend’s side, I more or less blasted the other person. Both of them were rendered speechless because it was the last thing they expected me to do. Anyways, let’s just say that I won the argument on behalf of my friend.

But, later on, I just could not help thinking to myself why I did it. Maybe it was a feeling of being protective of the people I care about, maybe it was the fact that I felt there was an imbalance in the situation due to my friend’s incapacity to defend himself, or maybe it was just a momentary case of insanity on my part. It could be anything. But here’s the pertinent question that made me lose sleep for quite some time: How far would I really go to protect the people I care about? How far would you?

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7 thoughts on “The Moral Dilemma of Standing by your loved ones

  1. Wow this is such a difficult question you have there and we’ve all gone through this..guess it comes in the job description of being a friend that you stand together in thick or thin if the roles were reversed I’m sure you’d expect your friend to stick by you..we all go through this..it’s very unsettling when your values feel compromised my heart goes out to you..nice post!

  2. I’ve been missing your posts lately. And here you are with a thought-provoking piece. I must say that for me, my instincts would be similar to yours. I’d probably jump in to defend a friend close to me regardless of the situation. But if I do not agree with their view/action, I would tell them privately (after defending them). I think if you truly value the person, you should never have to hide your feelings/opinions or compromise your values for them – if the friendship collapses after which, it was never true to begin with!

    • You know that is exactly what I have done…I gave a piece of my mind to my friend as well and everything is sorted out now :)…and I have down with a bad case of flu but I”m back now 😀

  3. I guess, a deeper question arises which is why the need to protect? And protecting from what? The first question I suppose is easy to answer. The need to protect comes from the reptilian brain and is built into us from the days where physical endangerment was common. There is a need to protect to ensure the survival of the species which has different manifestations in masculine and feminine forms. In the majority of situations that confront us in the modern world their is no threat to our lives, which brings us to the second question. Protecting from what? In modern times, to paraphrase Alan Watts, the perceived threat that the world poses is much larger than the actual threat. Which is a fancy way of saying that the world is a less dangerous place than it seems to us. So what are we protecting people from? I have a feeling that we protect others from what we ourselves find scary. So our need to protect others is an inability to deal with our own fear. I find when I take sides or offer advice or cautionary wisdom, I’m generally projecting my fears and just protecting people from making their mistakes. I am taking away their liberty and preventing them from flowering into who they really are. In fact, I was thinking about this today. Any time I bring up the choices I’m about to make in life, quitting my job, doing nothing, traveling and letting life happen, most of my friends start pulling me into these “you know that’s great, but …” types of conversations. Till I read your post, I had a more sinister interpretation of this. I thought they did this because they were afraid it might work and I will flower into a more content human being or come upon wonderful adventures and they will lose me as a friend. But now that you made me think, I would wanna go with a more benevolent interpretation. I think they are trying to protect me. They are scared … for me. But really for themselves.

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