Rules to Being a Moral Friend

1.  Do not tempt friend with chocolate when on a diet/with shopping when trying to save money/to go out when trying to stop bad habits: When my friend tells me she had a bad day, my first inclination is to buy her chocolate for some solace. When I am bored, my first inclination is to ask my friend to go shopping. When I am feeling very single, my first inclination is to ask my friend to go out with me. However, if I am aware that my friend is on a diet (especially for some health-related issues), and I know that bringing her chocolate is going to break her diet, then I can’t do it. If I know my friend is in debt and is trying to save money, and I know that she has a propensity to purchase 10 of everything at the store, then I can’t invite her to shop. If I know my friend got in some trouble and is trying to live a more ‘mellow’ life, then I can’t invite her out. As a moral friend, I have to be supportive of my friend’s efforts to make him/herself a more moral person, even if that means I have to sacrifice my own personal desires (a nice card, or offering to walk the dogs, or having a dance party at home are more moral options).

2. Do not send friend pictures of ex significant others/friends: Social media allows us to see many things we want to see, and many things we do not want to see. I personally go through my platforms and, if it isn’t serving me in a positive way, I ‘hide’ it so that I don’t have to see it. This usually includes ex significant others, ex friends, annoying people, etc. So when my ex significant other finds another girlfriend, or my ex best friend gains a bunch of weight, that really isn’t perpetuating any positive energy into my life. This actually happened to me the other day. I stumbled across a picture of someone I used to know, and I had an inkling to screen shot it, and send it to a mutual friend (who I actually haven’t spoken to for months) for the mere purpose of making fun of the picture. Now, who knows. Our mutual friend could have her own wounds from this picture, and sending her the picture for the sheer purpose of being gossipy girls is immoral and mean. So, I refrained. Even if that text message would have caused us to “reunite”, it would have been under an immoral foundation, and those friendships never work out anyways.

3. Do not excite friend about things that are never going to happen: Trips, weddings, potential significant others, purchases, etc. If you know that something is not going to happen, and you know that talking about it would excite your friend and give them false hope, then refrain from discussing the situation. For example, say that you have a friend who is desperately lonely, and they just happened to have went on a date with one of your acquaintances. You’ve heard from the grapevine (but nevertheless, a credible grapevine source) that the datee was not really into your friend (in fact, you heard that the datee was repulsed by your friend that he/she made an emergency call to Uber to get picked up from the date early). Knowing this information, and knowing that your friend will never go on another date with this person again, it would be quite immoral of you to excite your friend in the standard post-date-debrief conversations; it would be wrong of you to lead your friend to false pretenses, saying that, “the wink” she/he gave your friend was a sign of love at first sight (when, in fact, you know it was just because a piece of broccoli flew out of your friend’s mouth and landed in the datee’s eye). Even asking your friend if she/he thinks there will be a follow up date, or encouraging your friend to reach out to the datee who obviously hasn’t responded since the date would be leading your friend into false pretenses and would therefore be immoral.

4. Do not flaunt your own successes and happiness and great life when you know your friend is suffering: Naturally, we are judgmental, we compare ourselves to others, and we are selfish (what a great combination–how lucky we are to be human). So, when I have a friend who I know is not feeling successful in her job, feels like she doesn’t have any friends, wishes she could find a guy who isn’t creepy, and then I go around flaunting the new promotion I just received, all the great trips I’m going on with my besties, and post a bunch of cheesy statuses about how much I love my boyfriend, then naturally, my friend is going to compare her situation to mine, and that might only make her more down in the dumps. Now, not to say that we shouldn’t celebrate each other’s successes; if my friend receives an award, then I should certainly be excited for her, and when she finds her Prince Charming, I should love that she is happy. But, there is a way to deliver those message. Saying things like, “well, my life is going awesome right now”, or, “well, sorry you can’t keep a guy, but that makes me so happy I have my boyfriend” would not be respecting the current state, and need, of my friend, and that deliverance is what is immoral.
 5. Do not share conversations you have had with your friend with others: To me, the most important quality in a friend is someone who is loyal; we can have different life practices, different interests, but I really need someone who is going to remain loyal, and that I can trust. I certainly have been in positions before in which what I thought I said in confidence to one person actually ended up telephoning around to another few people, and ultimately, I just have to stop telling that ‘friend’ things I didn’t want other people to know (which sucked, because I couldn’t really be my authentic self, and that means we cannot have an authentic relationship with each other). I have also been in situations before where someone asked me my opinion of a situation (and, because I was abiding by Rule #4 of not flaunting my successes), I downplayed my reaction, which also resulted in some untrue stuff to be shared, and other people suffered. Even sometimes harmless information that our friends share with us (like, someone got invited to a party that someone else did not) could result in the suffering of others. So, as a general rule, being a moral friend means keeping those conversations exclusive to the time, place, and person in which they were shared.

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