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The Big Q

A dialogue on the big questions college students face. Like The Big Q now on Facebook to stay updated on the latest post and winners.

The following postings have been filtered by category Friendship and Loyalty. clear filter
  •  Fast Friends: Rushing Intimate Relationships

    Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014

    We’ve all heard that “your greatest friends come in college”—those lifelong friends that you toast to at the Grand Reunion or dance the night away with at your wedding reception. As freshmen, we envision ourselves surrounded by this core group of loyal companions from the get-go. We’re expected to post pictures of our fabulous new BFFs on Facebook and form an inseparable clique within a matter of weeks.

    When we come to college, we don’t want to wait around. We need friends, and we need them quickly! We rush relationships. We talk about our successes and failures, our home lives and our love lives, our fears and our ambitions.  
     
    The problems arise when we over-share and try to force intimacy.  Relationships don’t need to be physical to be intimate; close friendships are intimate in an emotional way. Premature intimacy of any kind can lead to heartache.
    Imagine that you’ve had a rough day. For comfort, you confide in a new friend, Sam. After a night of venting, you decide to share a troubling secret—you feel safe.
    The next day, however, you’re approached a stranger in the hallway.  The stranger places his hands on your shoulders, and says, “Hey, Sam told me what happened. Feel better!”
    What!? Your new friend spilled. You’re hurt, but you doubt that Sam shared your secret maliciously. Either way, what do you do? There’s an imbalance of trust.
     
    Healthy relationships depend upon a strong foundation of trust, and trust takes time. Think carefully about your closest friends. How long have they been around? Many of our dearest friends have held prominent positions in our lives for one, five, or maybe even ten years. Often, you’ve grown up with one another, from the toddler diaper days to the teenaged braces phase. You’ve seen everything—the good and the bad. You’ve endured catty high school drama or vigorous sports team practices side-by-side. You know each other inside and out.
     
    During the beginning of college anonymity seems devastating, yet friendships with unreciprocated trust may sting just as badly.  What has been your experience with friendship in college?  When do you know you can trust someone?  How do you define true friendship?
     
     
  •  Waitlists and VIPs

    Tuesday, May. 27, 2014

    **DISCLAIMER: All characters and scenarios in this post are fictional.**

    Callie is the Senior Events Coordinator on her student government. She plans senior events throughout the year, but the biggest event is Senior Ball. Hosted each spring, the event includes a night of wine and dancing for 1,000 members of the senior class. Due to chaperone restrictions, venue requirements, and transportation issues, attendance cannot exceed 1,000 students. Each year, about 100 seniors who want to attend Senior Ball must be turned away.

    This year, the number of seniors who could not get tickets is even greater. The event sold out in two hours, and the line to purchase tickets was wrapped around the block. Callie had to turn away many seniors, including a few of her close friends. As she goes through the list of attendees a few days before the event, Callie realizes that there were some errors in data entry and five tickets remain. Since there was no possibility of adding additional spaces, Callie did not create a waiting list. Callie immediately thinks of her friends. She knows that there are other seniors who desperately want tickets, but she could easily fill the spots from only her friend group. Callie wonders if she can just distribute the tickets to her friends. They really want to go, and she wants them to be there. Callie spent the last several months working on the event, and thinks she deserves to have all her friends there to share it with her.

    She knows she could send an email to the senior class and create a waiting list, and draw names from the people who respond, but with only a few days before the event, Callie doesn’t feel that she has the time. She has to visit the venue, establish the set-up, confirm all the contracts and reservations, train volunteers for the event check-in, and make sure each participant has turned in the waivers. She knows that she’ll receive hundreds of responses about the tickets, and creating the waiting list will detract from her ability to prepare for a great event. For just five tickets, it doesn’t seem worth the extra work.

    What would you do in Callie’s situation? Is it fair to give the few extra tickets to friends, without extending the opportunity further? Can you extend the benefits of your student government position to your friends? When does it go too far?

    Useful Resources:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision-Making

    Photo by Joshua Ganderson available under a Creative Commons license.

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  •  Insta-Interruption

    Thursday, May. 9, 2013
    The best student comment on "Insta-Interruption" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, May 19th, 2013. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by e-mail in the right hand column) for updates. 
     
    **DISCLAIMER: All characters and scenarios in this post are fictional.**
     
    Beth and Katie have been friends throughout college, but their busy schedules have kept them from spending a lot of quality time together recently. They finally find a time to meet for lunch, and both girls are excited to catch up.
     
    When their food arrives, Katie exclaims, “Oh, this looks so good—I have to Instagram this!” Beth laughs and checks her Facebook notifications while her friend takes a picture and chooses just the right filter. Together, they deliberate over which hashtags perfectly encapsulate the finished creation, and Beth finally posts it 10 minutes later. They both put their phones down and continue their conversation, but Katie keeps receiving comments and “likes” on the Instagram picture of their lunch, so she keeps checking her phone. Beth gets a text from a classmate about a group project, and she spends about 5 minutes texting back and forth to schedule a meeting time for later in the evening. The dialogue between the two women is, therefore, sprinkled with long pauses as they get distracted by their devices.
     
    At the end of their lunch, Beth and Katie hug each other and promise to see each other again soon. On the way to her car, Beth stops to take a picture of a rose that she sees so that she can Instagram it later, and Katie tags Beth in a Facebook status: “Love catching up with old friends in the sunshine!”
     
    Does this sound familiar to you? Do you interrupt your face-to-face interactions with social media platforms or text messages to people who aren’t there? Do your friends do that to you? Do you think that these kinds of interactions negatively affect friendships, or are they just a natural part of an increasingly technology-dependent society? Do you feel the need to report on everything you’re doing during the day via social media? Do you think this enhances or devalues friendships?
     
     
    Useful Resources
     
     
     
     

      

  •  Caught in the Middle

    Monday, Feb. 4, 2013

    The best student comment on "Caught in the Middle" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be recieved by midnight, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by e-mail in the right hand column) for updates. 
     
    Ben and Tyler have been best friends since day one of college. Now seniors, they’re still inseparable, despite many ups and downs over the years.

     Lately, though, Ben’s been noticing that something’s a bit off with Tyler. He’s been spending a lot of time with this girl Lucy, and less time with his actual girlfriend, Kendra. Ben asked if something was going on between them, but Tyler insisted that he and Lucy just have a lot of classes together and work together on homework, sometimes late at night. Ben knows how much Tyler loves Kendra, and trusts that his friend is telling him the truth. Later, though, Kendra confides in him that she thinks Tyler is cheating on her. He waves away her concern, telling her that Tyler loves her and wouldn’t do anything to hurt her.
      
    However, this shady behavior continues for a few weeks, and Ben is starting to have doubts about his friend’s honesty. These doubts are unfortunately confirmed when, at a party, he sees Tyler flirting with Lucy. Kendra is spending the evening in the library, so Ben realizes that Tyler is taking this opportunity to have a little fling. He watches from across the room as Tyler leads Lucy to his bedroom, shutting the door.
      
    Ben feels a strange mixture of emotions: confusion, betrayal, anger, and still an irrational sense of protectiveness over Tyler’s integrity. “Tyler’s just drunk,” he tells himself. “Everybody makes a mistake every once in a while.” Still, he feels hurt that Tyler lied about being attracted to Lucy, and angry that he would cheat on Kendra. Even though Tyler is his best friend, he still considers Kendra a close friend, too.
      
    What should Ben do? Should he go home and pretend he didn’t see anything? Should he bang on the door and tell Tyler to knock it off? Should he tell Kendra what he saw, so that she doesn’t get hurt? If he does that, where does that leave his friendship with Tyler?
     
     

     **DISCLAIMER: All characters and scenarios in this post are fictional.**

  •  Petty Theft

    Monday, Aug. 6, 2012
    Jackie sees her best friend stealing.. What should she do?
     The best college student comment on "Petty Theft" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be received by midnight, August 19. Finalists are selected by likes, so get your friends to like your comment. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by email in the right hand column) for updates. 
     
    Jackie lives in an apartment with two friends, but lately her housemate Alex has been getting on everyone’s nerves. She always has her boyfriend over, she hasn’t been helping with chores, and she’s been distancing herself from the other two. She also has a nasty habit of leaving all of her belongings strewn everywhere- wallet, keys, file folders for work, you name it! In contrast, Jackie and her other friend, Sarah, have been getting much closer, spending almost every moment together. Jackie’s a little sad that she and Alex aren't as close anymore, but feels that it’s beyond her control. 
     
    One Thursday afternoon, Jackie gets home early from work. Alex is shut in her room as usual, so the only indication that she’s around is her typical trail of belongings. Sarah is in the shower, so she doesn’t hear Jackie come in. Jackie plops down on the couch and turns on her laptop, ready to do some much-deserved Pinterest surfing. Absorbed in the myriad of crafts and wedding decorations, she doesn’t notice that Sarah has turned off the shower and stepped out of the bathroom. Jackie is a bit out of Sarah’s sight, and she watches in surprise as Sarah picks up Alex’s wallet, takes out a $10 bill, and puts it in the pocket of her robe. Jackie almost says something, but then figures that it’s probably for something that Alex owes Sarah. And, even if Sarah is taking money, doesn’t Alex deserve it for irresponsibly leaving her stuff everywhere?  It isn’t even that much; $10 is basically an overpriced latte, right? 
     
    Jackie feels a little put off by the situation, but gives Sarah the benefit of the doubt. They make dinner together and watch a movie, and Jackie forgets all about it. Later that night, Alex emerges from her room and grabs her wallet, about to head out with her boyfriend. Thumbing through the bills with a puzzled look on her face, she asks, “Have you guys seen any money lying around? There’s not as much in here as I remember.” Sarah shakes her head and says, “Maybe it got lost in the laundry or something!” Jackie looks at her, surprised, remembering what she had seen earlier that afternoon.
    What should Jackie do? Should she tell Alex that Sarah took money from her wallet and risk damaging her closest friendship and her living situation for the year? Or should she say she hasn't seen anything, since Alex probably won't know the difference and should learn to keep better track of her things? 
     

     

  •  Down So Long: Helping a Friend With Depression

    Monday, Feb. 6, 2012

    The best student comment on "Down So Long" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, Feb. 19. Finalists are selected by "likes," so click the Facebook icon above to let your friends know about The Big Q contest.

    Megan and Amy have been best friends since high school. Now, roommates for their second year in a row at college, they are still very close. But lately Amy has been pretty down, even depressed. She doesn’t want to socialize with their other friends. She doesn’t want to go out for food. She even struggles to get up for class.

    At first, Megan was very patient with her friend. There was a time after Megan’s boyfriend dumped her, when Amy had been there for her. So Megan, in turn, spent several weekends in the dorms and brought meals back to the room to share with Amy. After a while, however, Megan insisted that Amy speak with a counselor about her troubles, but Amy became insulted and refused to go.

    Megan has grown very worried about her friend, but she's also sick of Amy not doing anything for herself. Now Megan has a chance to go to a great party with a bunch of friends, but Amy seems especially unhappy. What should Megan do?

    Useful Resources

    Depression--from the National Institutes of Health

    How to Help a Depressed Friend (And When to Stop Trying)

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

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    Photo by gogoloopie available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License. 

  •  Facebook Gossip or Cyberbullying?

    Monday, Aug. 15, 2011

    Best student comment wins a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate.  Responses must be received by midnight August 21, 2011.

    Paige, a college freshman, needed to put the finishing touches on a poli sci paper that was due at 11. After her 9 a.m. class, she returned to her room in the residence hall to check the footnotes, but when she unlocked the door, her roommate Cheyenne was in bed with the comforter pulled up above her head.

    Paige flicked on the light. It wasn't her problem that Cheyenne was such a party girl. She hadn't come home the night before, and that was hardly the first time. She decided to ignore Cheyenne and opened her laptop to begin her work. But when she started typing, Cheyenne growled at her to go somewhere else.

    Paige had told some friends to come by her room before class, and now she had to let them know she wouldn't be there. On her way out of the residence hall, she posted a new status to her Facebook: "Cheyenne (AKA the skank) is sleeping it off in the room. I'll be in the library."

    By the time she reopened her laptop, her friend Ivy had commented on her status: "That girl is going to be pregnant before midterms." And Leanne followed with lol.

    Paige was astonished when she got back from dinner that night to be approached by Tara, the Resident Fellow on her floor. Tara said she wanted to talk with Paige about cyberbullying Cheyenne.

    Do you think Paige was engaged in cyberbullying? If so, do you think the university should get involved in the issue?

     

    Some resources you may find useful:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making 

     Destructive Bullying 

    Facebook Crimes on Rise

     

    Photo by Herbstkind available under Attribution- Non Commercial- No Derivs License.