Thursday, December 22, 2011

Just Between You and Me

This past week in World Lit., we've been working on our position papers. Everyone really seems to have gotten into them, considering we all had to choose topics that we felt passionate arguing about. This week, I have had the pleasure of peer-edited multiple papers on controversial topics like gay marriage, the death penalty, abortion, and police lying during interrogations. It has been really interesting to read my classmate's opinions, and has certainly given me some food for thought.

For our assignment, we didn't necessarily have to do any research; our paper could be based soley on moral values. For my position paper, I chose to write about where the responsibility of a friend lies when told a potentially dangerous secret. My target audience was fellow teenagers, and I think the topic is really relevant to the issues that many teenagers either have already or evidently will face in the years to come, as their world fades to shades of gray, versus the clean-cut black and white of good and bad from our childhood. Therefore, I have decided to share my paper with you. Please feel free to argue or challenge me on any of the points that I make, ask me questions, respond with a personal experience, anything you'd like!

Just Between You and Me

“Hey, I have a secret. But first you have to promise not to tell anybody.” Between friends, there is an unspoken understanding of trust. When we tell our friends a secret, we assume we can tell them in confidence. We don’t have to worry about it becoming a Facebook status or the next hot topic at the lunch table. However, as we grow older, it can become more challenging to keep such promises of an untold secret.  The friends we thought we knew may start to become involved in risky activities like drinking, smoking, or sex, and the secrets they tell us turn into difficult predicaments rather than innocent sleepover gossip as we struggle with what to do with the information. It was their secret to tell, but now that we have it, its ours to protect. Or is it? Rather, should it be? This is the place where we must question our responsibility as a good friend. Do we maintain our friend’s trust and keep their secret? For some, this may be an easy answer of, “My friend told me not to tell, so I’m not going to.” However, in life there are situations that require us to use our best judgement, take a leap of faith, and break our friend’s trust.
For anyone who has ever had a friend, a friend’s life is often one we treasure as dearly as our own. I want what’s best for my friends. Therefore, when one of my friends makes a decision that negatively impacts them, they hurt me too. Their success, their happiness and their well-being take priority over all other things, and God help the person who hurts them. But what happens when they begin to put themselves in danger? What happens, for example, when my friend confides in me she got drunk at a party last weekend?
One may argue that my friend’s poor behavior is between my friend and her parents; I am not her parent.  However, isn’t my job as a friend similar? Don’t I also have a responsibility to love my friend unconditionally? To support her? To do what’s best for her? When a friend confides in me, I believe she is asking me for reassurance, to tell her that everything is going to be okay. Or she may be using me as a sounding board to relieve herself of the stress of carrying it on her shoulders. Almost as if saying, “Can you take this from me?” Therefore, I may have to make a decision she is unable to.
Parents sometimes have to make difficult decisions. Think of all the times you argued with your parents over going out with your friends. Most likely, your parents knew their decision would result in your unhappiness towards them, but they made it anyway. Sometimes, the best decision isn’t always the easiest one, and while it may be difficult to see at the time, they do have your best interest at heart. This is not to say you must alert an adult if your friend gets a detention or skips class. However, if your friend tells you she has an eating disorder, you would not be helping her by not telling anyone. In the end, you must weigh out which is more important. Your friend’s secret, or their ability to lead a happy, healthy life?
To spend time listing possible scenarios that warrant telling an adult could both drag on and also still not leave one feeling anymore confident about the situations that require adult assistance. This is because there is no set rubric to check off when assessing what to do with a friend’s secret; no “If you chose mostly A’s, then this.” When it comes down to it, you have to know your friend and what behaviors are abnormal or alarm-worthy for them.
As we grow older, the decisions we are forced to make in life become more difficult. We can’t always confide in our parents. There are situations where all we can do is self-assess, and use our best judgement to come to a conclusion. The decisions our friends make may unsettle us at times and we may not want to keep their secret. There are situations where we unfortunately may have to break our friend’s trust to alert somebody of their dangerous behavior. However, if your friend knows you, all you can do is hope that they will trust you have their best interest at heart because, as Arnold H. Glasow wrote, “A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.”


abrodeur said...

Meg, this is a beautiful position paper! It helps state what is necessary to make a decision and lays out tips as well on how to make your own decision. I'm glad you didn't attempt to go into detail about how to handle every situation. I love getting to read this blog Thursdays :)

Megan said...

Thanks, Al! I really appreciate your's really encouraging. It's been a great way for me to keep up with my writing! Please feel free to share anything of yours on this blog, too, or any experiences you've had that you think would be helpful for people to read. Thanks again for the support! :)