My inaugural attempt at Thoughtful Tuesdays morphed into Deep Thought Thursdays when I laid out my official blogging map last week, but the premise remains the same. I have randomly selected a question from Gregory Stock, PhD’s The Book of Questions, available online.
Would you be willing to commit perjury for a close friend? For example, might you testify that he was driving carefully when he hit a pedestrian even though he had been joking around and not paying attention?
Short answer: no. I would not commit perjury for a close friend, or even a family member.
I have lots of friendly acquaintances, but by choice, I have very few close friends simply because I believe true friendships require energy, attention, and maintenance. That makes it sound like friendship is a job, and that’s not at all what I mean. But I don’t think it’s fair to call someone my friend if I am not willing to invest in the relationship to make it strong and lasting. I never really stopped to think about it before, but in my mind, I guess I take my friendships as seriously as my marriage vows. My close friends are like blood relatives to me, and can count on my love, devotion, and loyalty in good times and bad. But I will not sacrifice my values for anyone, and if I’ve chosen my friends as wisely as I think I have, they would never ask me to do so. I like to think that my honesty and integrity are integral qualities of my character that make others amenable to claiming me as a friend in the first place. If I were willing to surrender them so easily, I would not be able to respect myself, much less ask anyone else to respect me. Lying in such a serious situation might save one friend initially, but as it would cost me my self-worth and potentially ruin other friendships and relationships if word of my dishonesty got out, resentment would build and the friendship would die anyway. The price of perjury would be too dear, one I am not willing to pay.
So, fair warning my friends (and family members). If you hit a pedestrian, I will not lie for you. You can, however, count on me to visit you in jail, to make sure your family is okay while you’re incarcerated, and to bring you a nice outfit to wear home on your release day. I expect you’d do exactly the same for me.