Dear Ethical Minds,
One of my good friends is constantly mistreated by this guy she runs a club with. He’s always late to their meetings, is rude to her, takes a lot of the credit for the club’s accomplishments and talks about her behind her back. What started as a professional issue has gotten personal. My friend doesn’t want to say anything for fear of creating drama, but this situation is obviously upsetting her. I think she needs to stand up for herself but I also think he needs to be taken down a peg or two. Would it be wrong for me to talk to him and tell him to knock it off on her behalf?
Ready to Rumble
Dear Ready to Rumble,
While your heart may be in the right place, your fighting words need to take a deep breath. Almost any time you ask yourself if you should intervene on another person’s behalf, the answer is no — or at least, you should tread very carefully.
In this case, it sounds like you’re fairly removed from the situation. Are you a member or patron of the organization they run? Are you friends with the jerk bothering your friend? If not, any interference on your part is probably going to be devastatingly awkward, both for you and the friend you’re trying to protect. Furthermore, we would advise you to think seriously about the implications of any actions you might be inclined to take. While talking to this person may make you feel better, it might not be what your friend wants. Even worse, it might make the situation between them worse and only cause more ridicule and smack-talking.
The best thing that you can do in this situation is be a supportive friend: you can listen to your friend when she is upset and even offer advice for dealing with the situation, but you should not become personally involved, especially if she has expressed a desire to avoid drama. It is unlikely that a confrontation with the offending party will do anything to make your friend’s life easier, so take a step back and trust that she can handle the situation. In the meantime, offer her some chocolate, a stiff drink or a commiserating glance after she returns from club meetings. We wouldn’t say no to throwing some icy glares at the back of this guy’s head, either…
McKinley Sherrod ’14 and Lizzie Thoreson-Green ’14 accept ethical dilemmas posed by the campus. Submit your queries to email@example.com