Doing the right thing


triedit
#1
I seem to have a problem. I do what feels right and it bites me in the butt.

Not long ago I told a friend what I thought she needed to hear. We are no longer friends.
Just before that I befriended someone in the hopes of gaining information to turn on him regarding a legal battle another friend was planning. Over the course of time this person I befriended became a real friend, thus hurting my original friend.

I wouldnt do anything different in either case. I did what I thought (and still think) is right.

But it sure makes me feel lousy for the pain it caused.

Ive made all the explainations and apologies I feel are apropriate and I know I won't get those lost friendships back. I'm ok with that really, as Im not someone who likes having close friends. But I do feel bad for the pain I caused. I don't like hurting other people.

So how do I learn to just keep my mouth shut and stay out of things?
 
Brat
#2
You just answered your own question.
You keep your mouth shut and stay out of things.
Doesn't always work though.
 
Pangloss
#3
I sort of disagree with Brat: to keep one's mouth shut and stay out of things is to let a friend get way off track. But it's not a bad place to start: Is this any of my business? Am I likely to do good here? What are my reasons for getting involved?

I can't remember the number of times a friend has called me on my bad behaviour or foolish opinions and saved me from hurting myself or worse, another person. A rude, loving friend can be a blessing.

I don't trust people who keep their mouth shut and "mind their own business" and here's why: if I overhear a conversation where a friend is being slandered, I will either interrupt and defend my friend, or I will tell my friend what was said. If a friend was slandering a friend, then I am even more likely to get involved. I expect that in return.

Feeling bad for causing pain? Good - maybe you will be more empathetic or skillful or subtle the next time you "do the right thing."

Kudos to you for trying, and even more for questioning the efficacy of your actions.

Simply remember to never do anything that you wouldn't want the person effected to know about. Be open and honest, after all, that is what you want from your friends, isn't it?

Pangloss
 
Unforgiven
#4
I thought you were big on living with the consequences of your actions?
You hurt people.
They feel bad.
You've made your choice in that.
They just have to deal with that and so do you.
 
triedit
#5
Understanding is part of dealing with it.
 
IdRatherBeSkiing
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by trieditView Post

Just before that I befriended someone in the hopes of gaining information to turn on him regarding a legal battle another friend was planning. Over the course of time this person I befriended became a real friend, thus hurting my original friend.

To accomplish that requires a degree of emotional detachment which I do not believe you (or most people) possess. I know I don't. But that is why I would never attempt it. The proper answer to that type of question is always "no". Any other answer usually results in trouble.

All you can do is deal with it. What has been done has been done. You need to forget about it an move on. In life, we all make mistakes. The key is to not repeat them.
 
Unforgiven
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by trieditView Post

Understanding is part of dealing with it.

I think you understand it perfectly. No shortage of people who tried to explain it to you. I think deep down you like the moment of having a little bit of leverage. But you don't much like the blowback from it especially when someone says something.
 
SwitSof
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by IdRatherBeSkiingView Post

In life, we all make mistakes. The key is to not repeat them.

I reckon part of her question is IF the same or similar thing happens again, should she keep her mouth shut?
Ski, you reckon it's a mistake?

Triedit, I guess the friend who felt hurt at least felt betrayed cause s/he expected a friend to side with him/her and not to side with his/her enemy. But that's more of personal feeling, apart from who is right or wrong in the legal battle. We know our brains can often be clouded by emotions ay.
I got the feeling you feel the other person is on the right side, so you can be the kind of friend to give a wake-up slap for your friend to realise what s/he is doing, if it's wrong you reckon.
I can't help to feel hurt by the slap, but that's me; however, I would appreciate it after I can think better after my cheek isn't red anymore Or maybe I should be a devoted Catholic and give my other cheek?
Last edited by SwitSof; Jun 11th, 2007 at 07:51 AM..
 
SwitSof
#9
Pangloss (external - login to view)
Yesterday, 11:58 PM
Clever Clogs

Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 666



Quote: Originally Posted by PanglossView Post

I sort of disagree with Brat: to keep one's mouth shut and stay out of things is to let a friend get way off track. But it's not a bad place to start: Is this any of my business? Am I likely to do good here? What are my reasons for getting involved?

[truncated]

Feeling bad for causing pain? Good - maybe you will be more empathetic or skillful or subtle the next time you "do the right thing."
Kudos to you for trying, and even more for questioning the efficacy of your actions.

A good 666th post, who said it's an evil number?
 
Pangloss
#10
Yeah, I dug the number. . .

Pangloss
 
IdRatherBeSkiing
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by PanglossView Post

Yeah, I dug the number. . .

Pangloss

And now its gone.
 
Twila
#12
Most people want to do the "right" thing. But we also want it to turn out good. Sometimes that simply doesn't happen. Sucks, but it's true.

My daughter just recently found a starving old cat. We took her to the vets and under the hospice of the shelter I volunteer for, received a clean bill of health. She's old, has only 1 canine tooth and had been de-clawed (she should NEVER have been let outside). She's a silver persian. Somebody loves her. We post signs, we check with the SPCA and nobody responds.
We've been told that it's a possibility that her owner was elderly and passed away and that their family didn't want to deal with the cat so they let her outside with the hopes that somebody would find her.
That is NOT doing the right thing. We've done the right thing. But we're not getting the reward we'd expected. We expected somebody to respond right away. We hoped to reunite this beautiful cat with her loving owner(s). I'm getting the feeling that she will be living with us for the rest of her life. I hope that's not the case, she deserved a better ending.
 
Unforgiven
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by TwilaView Post

Most people want to do the "right" thing. But we also want it to turn out good. Sometimes that simply doesn't happen. Sucks, but it's true.

My daughter just recently found a starving old cat. We took her to the vets and under the hospice of the shelter I volunteer for, received a clean bill of health. She's old, has only 1 canine tooth and has been de-clawed. She's a silver persian. Somebody loves her. We post signs, we check with the SPCA and nobody responds.
We've been told that it's a possibility that her owner was elderly and passed away and that their family didn't want to deal with the cat so they let her outside with the hopes that somebody would find her.
That is NOT doing the right thing. We've done the right thing. But we're not getting the reward we'd expected. We expected somebody to respond right away. We hoped to reunite this beautiful cat with her loving owner(s). I'm getting the feeling that she will be living with us for the rest of her life. I hope that's not the case, she deserved a better ending.

Maybe that is the right thing. You don't strike me as an uncompassionate person in the least and there could be worse people for an old cat to spend her last days with. The burden may be upon you but it's those things we remember the most later on and have the tendency to be what builds character.
 
Twila
#14
Quote:

The burden may be upon you but it's those things we remember the most later on and have the tendency to be what builds character.

And I welcome the burden. I just wish she could have gone back to her home, for her sake. She is well loved at our house. But must be confused as to what's happened to her people. And I don't speak cat well enough to make her understand.
 
Dexter Sinister
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by trieditView Post

Not long ago I told a friend what I thought she needed to hear. We are no longer friends.

Did she ask you for advice? Do you still think your advice was correct? It's impossible to make a judgment based on that tiny bit of information, but if the answer to both those questions is yes, then I'd say the problem is probably her, not you. If not, well, gratuitous advice of a negative nature is seldom welcome.

Quote:

Just before that I befriended someone in the hopes of gaining information to turn on him regarding a legal battle another friend was planning.

So your original motive was deceit and manipulation? You can hardly be surprised if that one turns out badly. I'm surprised that guy's still your friend. Does he know what you were originally trying to do? Sounds to me like you haven't quite figured out yet what honesty and 'mind your own business' mean.
 
Unforgiven
#16
I'm going to do the right thing right now.
 
triedit
#17
Dex-- You're absolutely correct. In the first case, she didnt exactly ask for it but it was posted on a public forum so I gave my public opinion. And yes, the opinion is still one I hold. I do wish I had handled it differently, but I would absolutely still tell her what I thought.

In the second case, I was helping out a friend who was being tortured by this guy. Absolutely tortured. And through that I was able to come to understand the "torturer" was himself in a bad way and we became friends and he and I are both better for it. He is aware, and completely understands. As for the person I was originally helping get the information--he was hurt pretty badly by my making friends of his enemy, but we've talked it out and things are, while not like they used to be, ok. He's a great guy and understands me.

I think, overall, I should just stick with Brat and keep my mouth shut *grin*
 
daisygirl
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by Dexter SinisterView Post

Did she ask you for advice? Do you still think your advice was correct? It's impossible to make a judgment based on that tiny bit of information, but if the answer to both those questions is yes, then I'd say the problem is probably her, not you. If not, well, gratuitous advice of a negative nature is seldom welcome.

Without getting into dirty laundry and dredging up the past, I will say simply that no, the person had not asked for advice and had indeed just attempted suicide. This had not been made public on any board but was told privately only to triedit when she (triedit) returned from a trip to the States. There were several factors involved but triedit chose not to listen to any of them and instead started saying things to the person that almost pushed her over the edge again. There was no advice given, just criticism and it was all said in private. Triedit knew that she was upsetting the person but continued until the person said she just couldn't take anymore and that a friend wouldn't say things like she was saying and that the friendship should be ended.

For that person's sake, since she is still in a state of extreme depression, I would suggest that this part of the discussion be ended.
Last edited by daisygirl; Jun 16th, 2007 at 01:41 AM..
 
Zzarchov
#19
In my Experience people who complain they tried to do the right thing usually haven't.

If you do the right thing you move on and stop being weighed down with it as a rule. If it still bothers you its usually because you know deep down you deliberately didn't do the right thing, possibley from fear or other selfish motiviations (From greed to malice).
 
Unforgiven
#20
Quote:

I agree with Ski. This is a different board...let's not bring our dirty laundry here

Do as I say, not as I do?
 
Dreadful Nonsense
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by UnforgivenView Post

Do as I say, not as I do?

what about the time you me and D'avril got together.


i love my lil unfy do in the morning.sitting there with his bulk box of lucky charms pouring a carton of milk into and helping everyone online.
He's Irish ya know.

Welcome to the weekend Unfy!
 
Andem
#22
KEEP THIS THREAD CIVIL.
 
MikeyDB
#23
Triedit

Deciding when to act is as important as deciding what to do, what action to take...

If our intention is to help someone (friend or just an acquaintance) the 'help' we offer, or perhaps feel compelled to offer should be something that doesn't have any strings attached... If we're attempting to help someone, as difficult as it may seem, we must remain as objective and as unencumbered with personal dynamics as possible. Empathizing with somone who may be in a situation similar to one we can identify and appreciate as something we (I've) experienced, is absolutely "normal", even if we're translating from a general circumstance to a specific event or situation. The great power and promise in the human condition is the facility we have as human beings to relate the experiences of our life and the attendant conflicts, turmoils joys and blessings that arise from these experiences to the condition or situation that we see happening to other people around us.

If our experiences tell us that "good intentions" sometimes aren't percived that way...or sometimes result in negative consequences, we have to remain available to the idea that we must look very carefully at our personal motivation...or agenda...to help understand how complicated some particular dynamic may be...

Sometimes direct action (or what some could percieve as meddling or intrusion) isn't the most prudent course. Sometimes even when we fear that a situation or circumstance could grow 'worse', affording the people and the dynamics involved a little extra time... before we act....can serve to clarify and observe the details, the nuances that color any situation. When there is the risk of immediate harm or potential harm, this "wait and see" strategy becomes fraught with anxiety and we often feel as though we're not doing something when we should..or could....it is a fine balance and a difficult situation for us all to confront.

If our 'help' has the intention of cultivaing favor or appearing as an act of kindness empathy or focused interest in the well being of some other person with the hidden agenda of currying self-acclaim or striving for a desired acceptance, our motivation is clouded. When we obscure the picture with our personal feelings desires and intentions, we make the decision process much more complicated and often add to the negative dynamics rather than actually 'helping' at all...

We have to balance the impetus we feel to "do what I can...when I can..." with this hodgepodge of myriad ancillary dynamics and remain consistant and "true" to ourselves... The frameworks and guides we've learned throughout our lifetime that informs our conscience when we have a responsibility to act or a responsibility to step back and let "nature take its course"...

It's tough!

No one enjoys the "corner" on absolute "truth"....we are faced with our own fallibility and deciding when and how to intervene or act in any situation is terribly difficult. If we've experienced a nasty situation that has become even more bitter or dangerous, and watched as it spiralled out of control and real harm developed we feel an even stronger compulsion to intervene to act to bring relief and comfort to the people involved.

Selflessness, the notion that our personal aggrandizement or "success" isn't somehow tied to or involved in the situation we're watching, that we're a "disinterested third party" is extremely difficult but nevertheless the best way to adjudicate appropriate action...or simply letting the situation unfold as it will.....

Take yourself, your personal investment in being "seen" a particular way...or precieved as being this or that...out of the equation.

I've acted on impulse to be involved in some dynamic and met with success...and also with failure...

But I make as sure as I can that there is no "I" involved in the situation. When we observe a dynamic like bullying or physical aggression that we could easily turn away from...could ignore becuase this circumstance "doesn't involve me"...doesn't impinge on my well being or my direct experience of life, the question of how prepared we are as individuals to live in a world that tolerates these things can serve as a guide....but only a guide, and not be the "ultimate" reason for our choice to become involved.

To do nothing is easy...anyone can do nothing....

To act with kindness and serve the best interests of someone else without personalities and personal dynamics clouding our vison is the best course.

Remain strong in your decision to live by the standards..the metrics of your own ethics and morality but be careful that you're imposing those standards and that morality on other folk when you act or don't act in any given situation. Balance is the key.
 
triedit
#24
That was an amazing post. Thank you very much.
 
Iamyaya
#25
Hi Robin, How are you doing? You know time heals all wounds. Sometimes stepping back and giving people time is an art in itself. We often think that there is a right and a wrong but just about everything are shades of gray. If you have explained your actions to the people involved then all you can do is give them time to decide if they want you back in their lives or not.
 
MikeyDB
#26
Triedit

If what I've contributed helps at all...no thanks necessary..

I'm very afraid for our world right now. We are children (as an ancient Chinese sage once said.."Children playing with axes...not realizing the possible consequences.." and haven't come to terms with the question you've asked as one of the most fundamental questions that every person should be asking themselves'....

Can I pretend that I'm not affected by what's going on in the world? Can I afford to ignore the conflicts and what seems an oppressive ubiquitious apathy emerging from the people of the world to all the grave circumstances that suggest our very existence is in jeopardy?

Does our willingness to ignore the injustices and preventable wrongs that permeate our cultures exonerate me of responsibility for the outcomes we experience? Do I have a duty, a responsibility to identify and name the sources and dynamics responsible? We all stopped caring a great deal about the world in general when we could plug ourselves into the TV. When our appetites became the marketplace and our cognitive processes begame fair-game to an ersatz value structure and counterfeit moral framework. Ethical costructs became fodder for economic and political agendas and we stopped beliving in ourselves.

If we examine, as objectively as we are able, the condition of our planet, the condition and character of our interpersonal affiliations and bonds with every other human being, can we be optimistic about the future that our children will inherit?

Your question is an enormous connundrum and there are as with most dynamic constructs, no simple or "easy" answers.

We have it seems to me to have become quick to anger and slow to forgive and tolerance is garbed as acquiescence to the status quo... even when that same electronic avenue of escape tells us that there are some terribly serious and potentially terminal situations developing around us.

The only thing that makes existence and all the suffering and turmoil that comes with it survivable and in any way tolerable is the investment we are all willing to make IN EACH OTHER.

Taking away the empathy compassion and "othering" that bound us together in our smaller ancient communities has in my opinion de-humanized mankind to a significant degree. Our loss of a sense of responsibility to our communities and each other has permitted and amplified a sense of "alone-ness", a sense that daring to care is an intrusion into the lives and complexity of others.

Certainly, an agenda that would create exclusivity for some and leave little else but poverty and isolation for others has not served us well. An agenda that regards personal perspectives and selfishness as the benchmark for "success" and the hallmark of prosperity...has enormous attendant costs.

We are facing what appear to be insurmountable hurdles, as a species we all have contributed to the despoiling of our planet, the alienation and outright ostracization of millions of fellow human beings on the basis of religious beliefs, skin pigmentation and ideological preferences....

Do we choose to not act even within ourselves to begin to examine the how and why of our shaping of the future, or do we find contentment in believing that we're all somehow not responsible?
 
daisygirl
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by MikeyDBView Post

Remain strong in your decision to live by the standards..the metrics of your own ethics and morality but be careful that you're imposing those standards and that morality on other folk when you act or don't act in any given situation. Balance is the key.

Do you not mean "be careful that you're not imposing those standards and that morality on other folk"?
 
IdRatherBeSkiing
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by daisygirlView Post

Do you not mean "be careful that you're not imposing those standards and that morality on other folk"?


Everybody expects everybody else to conform to their standards. You expect people to not steel your stuff off your table at McDonalds, you expect them not to run a stop sign when you are approaching an intercetion. Our society is governed by expectations of what other members of the society are going to do.
 
daisygirl
#29
Yes, but Mikey says that balance is the key which means you live by your own standards but you don't thrust them on others.

The examples you are using are society's standards. For instance, in Canada it is deemed rude to burp at the table whereas in some societies a burp is a compliment to the cook.
 
MikeyDB
#30
I'd rather be skiing....

You raise an interesting point. When we "expect" folk not to steal food from our table at MacDonald's, anticipate that some other motorist will obey the rules of the road....are those expectations personal expectations or are they the "standard" we as a social unit..a society...a "club", as members of..we accept as binding on our own behavior and then expect that everyone else be bound to those "standards" as well?

I don't have a problem with assisted suicide...as a last wish of a very ill or terminally ill person, nor do I hesitate to put down a horse or dog when their situation becomes one that eliminates everything but pain and suffering... but the horse or dog don't enjoy the facility of language to convey what they 'want"...

I have a great deal of difficulty with someone prepared to rain down terror destruction and death upon me or the innocent and yet...I am a member of a society that subscribes to the notion that failing to act when some other nation or some faction in a remote location elects to prosecute their convictions at the point of a bayonet or a gun....that as a peace-loving human being I support the contention that I have a responsibility to act on the behalf of those less equipped to deal with their sad situation...

While I'm perhaps relativistic when it comes to the "morality" involved in reaching decisions that impact large numbers of folk I don't even know or understand, I make the choice when it's up to me to exhaust all possible alternatives before I entertain the notion of violent response/reprisal...

What authority do we invoke when murder is acceptable in certain situations and not acceptable in others?

We are faced with these horrendous decisions (as thought exercises) while men and women all over the world are faced with them as immediate and real components of their individual experience...

Does the committment that a soldier makes to execute his duties and responsibilities relieve him/her of his/her responsibility to the moral fabric of their understanding and up-bringing...

When does the morality and ethics of government "trump" those standards and foundations of belief and morality that inform that the taking of another life is "wrong"?

What menu of standards and list of exceptions to those standards are published or widely disseminated by our governments before the decision to participate in some "necessary" violent offensive appears imminent?

Why are there one set of rules for the wealthy and the powerful while another for the poor?

The "root" of the question posed...should tweak everyone's thinking....
 

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