As part of my Day Zero Project, I will be answering the 50 Questions That Free Your Mind. For each of these, I will blog an answer and then it will be linked here as well. Some of these will have longer responses, some will be extremely short. But by the end of the Day Zero Project, I will have answered all of these.
No. 11: You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?
Talk about a moral situation, eh?
This question is interesting in that is could be looked at in several ways. Are these people co-workers? Random people you know and respect? People above you in the corporate world.
I realize that it should matter, but this is 2011. A lot of things matter these days. Maybe you are a new employee at lunch with these people. And the said person is a former employee. I’m not saying it’s right — not by any means — but a lot of things must be taken into account.
In the perfect world, I would probably let them ramble. After all, at that point, you are gathering information. Remember — I’m a news person. So I don’t want to cut people off. Who knows what they’ll say. It’s worth listening to. And, honestly, it might not be your place to interrupt.
My first instinct would be to defend said friend, without — at first — noting that said person is a friend. I’d look at it in regard to showing them that I think they should stop. But… then again, it might be more fun to let them know said person is a friend.
The thing here is morality.
And in this day and age — I don’t care what anyone says — is there’s not a lot of it. People talk about people all the time. Everybody does it. And if someone says they don’t, they are either as pure as they come or they are full of it.
The key to this is distasteful and unjustified criticism. And in that case, I’d say something. Whether or not I’d identify myself as a close friend or just somebody who thinks its wrong — I’d say something.
And the odds are I’d go back to said close friend and let them know that these people obviously don’t think too highly of that person. That is the biggest moral point here, I think.
Now, if it’s normal trash talk and it might be, in some way, justified and not too bad? I probably note that I am a friend of the person so they stop and then file it away. I don’t think you always need to tell the person that people were talking about him or her. So I would just try and end it so I didn’t have to listen to it anymore.
And truthfully, it’s probably a case-by-case situation. I hate to say it, but that’s humanity. That’s how life is. I hope I’d rise above that and be able to say something, but until you are in this situation, do you really know how you’d react? I’m sure we all would like to think we know how’d we react, but who knows. It’s all based on the situation, where you are, who the people are and what it’s all about. It really is.
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