What Would You Do?
|In this exercise, you apply what you've learned about friendship in the previous activities to several specific situations. In the space below each of these incidents, note how you would handle them:
I. Visa Problems
You have become a close personal friend of one of the other teachers at your school. You have met her family and eaten at her house many times, and you have invited them to yours. You have also gone on numerous outings together. Today, as you sip morning coffee at your regular cafe, she asks you to help her get a visa to the United States. (She plans to go there, find work, and then bring her family over.) You reply that you know nothing about that and suggest she contact the American Embassy for information. "They are quite strict," she answers. "If you don't know an American who can help you, you don't have chance." She asks you again if you would help. How do you respond?
II. Going Away
You are very friendly with your next door neighbors, where you eat your meals on a regular basis. Today they inform you that the mother of the wife in the family has become gravely ill, and everyone is going to her town for what will probably be an extended stay-- everyone, that is, but the youngest boy, 12 years old, whom the family does not want to take out of school. Instead, they would like him to stay with you and have you look after him until they return. You explain that you work all day and don't get home until the late afternoon, but they say that this schedule corresponds with his school schedule and wouldn't be a problem. From your knowledge of the culture, you know this is not an unusual request for close friends to make of each other, but you can't imagine looking after a 12-year-old boy for the next month. What can you say or do?
III. A Parental Visit
Your parents have just finished a whirlwind trip to your country, which did not give them time to visit the out-of-the-way and hard-to-get-to part of the country you live in. Accordingly, you met them in the capital and accompanied them on a two-day swing through the tourist hot spots. You have returned to your site after seeing your parents off and have recounted the story of their trip to your best friend, a colleague from work. When you finish, she's wearing a rather long face, and you ask her what's the matter. She says she would have very much enjoyed meeting your parents and feels hurt that you didn't think she was a good enough friend to introduce them to her. After all, she has taken you to her parents' house in the capital several times. How do you respond?
IV. Loan Star
Two friends of yours in your village recently opened up a small grocery store. Things went well initially, but then their business dropped off. At this point, they asked you for a loan to help them get through the next two months. It wasn't much money, so you were able and happy to help out. Now they have come to ask you for more money, with the idea that their problem is their location. They have found a new place they could move to, but the owner of this new space wants a three-month advance on the rent, and your friends don't have it. You are beginning to suspect that your friends just aren't good businessmen and won't do any better at the new location than they did at the previous one. For this reason, and also because the sum they have asked for is quite substantial (though not beyond your means), you have turned them down. They are quite upset. "I thought we were friends," they say. "We would do this for you without a moment's hesitation. That's how friends treat friends in this country." Now what do you do? In retrospect, could you have done anything to avoid this situation?
V. Missing Funds
You are very friendly with your neighbors, where the father in the family is a colleague of yours at work. They regularly invite you to meals, and you spend a lot of time at their house. Now, a most delicate problem has arisen at work. You have discovered, in your position as an accountant, that the father from next door has stolen money from the organization. You confronted him with your evidence, and he broke down and wept. He said he needed the money for an operation his youngest daughter just underwent and that he planned to put it all back over the next few months. He begs you to give him a chance and not tell anyone what you have discovered. He reminds you of all he and his family have done for you and asks for your trust. "Friends have to help each other in situations like this," he says. For your part, you know that if an audit is ever done of the organization's books, the missing funds will be discovered, and your own competence and credibility may be questioned. How do you feel about being asked to do this favor? What is your response?