Moral Dilemma

Okay, so I will be the first to admit I am not a natural at relationships, aside from Mommy-Daughter relationships, at which I excel. Put me in a room with a group of people I don’t know and a good book I’ve been dying to read, and you’ll likely come back 20 minutes later to find me with the book clutched in my grasp, making awkward conversation, trying to find a way to just sit there and read without anyone else thinking I’m weird. In case you didn’t know, I’m also not that outgoing. Oh, and I have very strong opinions (which I choose to keep to myself in most cases, because I don’t like offending anyone). Whew. Now that you know that about me, please consider the following dilemma and vote on what you’d do.

Hypothetical situation (bear with me, it’s long):

It’s your best friend’s birthday(let’s call her Indigo), and another friend (not a mutual one, but a good friend of your best friend, let’s call her Scarlett) has invited you to a party thrown in your best friend’s honor!

Even though you don’t really hang out with any of Indigo”s other friends, you decide you really ought to go to honor Indigo, and besides, it’s her birthday, for Pete’s sake, and you don’t want to miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate!

So you tell Scarlett that you’ll attend and that you’ll bring a snack that goes with the theme. Next, you ask what the activities are. Scarlett tells you they’ve planned to go waterskiing. You, who have never waterskied in your entire life, inform Scarlett and ask what the dress code is, because you’ll have to go purchase a whole new waterskiing-appropriate outfit. She tells you, and after much deliberation, and spending far more than you could really afford, you purchase the outfit.

The day of the party, Scarlett calls you and informs you that due to a random blizzard, the lake has frozen over and you will not be able to go waterskiing after all. You tell her that’s ok, and then agree to go along with a different plan she comes up with.

Scarlett then sends out a mass email to all the people attending the party asking everyone to bring $50 to cover the new, exciting fun event that she has planned. “What’s the event?” someone else replies. Scarlett never answers.

As chance would have it, you end up not being able to attend the party after all. A British rock band has invaded the interstate, and by the time you could get to the party, the “fun event” would be over. You call ahead to Indigo, to apologize for not being able to make it, and wish her the very best of birthdays.

After the party, you find out that Scarlett’s “big event” was a paint-your-own-pottery class, to which you are morally, ethically, and religiously opposed (since this is a hypothetical situation, let’s say you’re opposed because you believe that only God is the potter, and that humans should not make pots, let alone paint them!) Since you would not have attended that class anyway, and would have refused to pay $50 toward anyone’s participation (the birthday girl included), you feel relieved that you have dodged the proverbial bullet. You got to skip out on something you were opposed to, without having to get up on your soapbox and make everyone else feel bad for participating, and without having to make yourself feel like an idiot for refusing to be part of the “in crowd.” (Middle school flashback?)

Okay, so a few days go by, and Scarlett starts sending emails and messages asking you and the other non-participant, who was also not able to make it, to send her the $50 you would have had if you had attended the party. After all, she did pay for the entire thing, and she was counting on that money from you.

Thanks for your input. Feel free to email me or leave a comment if you have any other ideas. By the way, this hypothetical situation is loosely based on a real situation in my life. I’ve been praying about it and asking lots of wise friends, but I still have not received clarity. I figure it’s good to use my resources!



  1. Kirbi said,

    June 3, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Hi Kim!

    Hmm I kind of have a hunch as to what your situation is. I first of all would never give someone $50 in the first place if I didnt know 1)what is was providing 2)if i agreed on all it provided. I am very opinionated and a slight control freak when it comes to helping out with BEST friend’s events, ya know? lol Your money = partly your say, and upfront overview of the plans should be a given.

    I know you might struggle with wondering if you should pay because it’s your ‘duty’ to throw this party for your BF, but you couldnt attend nor did you know what was happening at it.

    Lastly, since Scarlett decided to use email as her mature plan of action….you might as well first return the email with your response but I think the bigger, maturer person would eventually pick up the phone and call to clear the waters as respectfully as possible.

    How does Indigo feel about the event that you consider unethical and immoral? Did she enjoy it, did she suggest it, did she want it to happen?

    Hope that helps! 🙂


    • June 3, 2011 at 3:05 pm

      Kirbi- it appears that she did, in fact, have fun. It would definitely not have been something she requested, but she’s always up for “whatever.”

      Thanks for your input!

  2. June 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    And here’s my husband’s take:

    You could always pull the “Mom-Card.” You know, like, “If I stopped and asked myself if I would be ashamed if my daughter saw me doing this right now, and the answer would be yes, I probably shouldn’t be doing it. I have much more responsibility now that I’m a Mom.”

    Like this. I think I’ll use it in conjunction with the aforementioned reasons.

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