Must I Treat Friends Better than I Treat Strangers?
I expect my friends to help me when I’m in need.
This is not a Q1 violation unless you believe that people can never be morally compelled to help others or you poorly define "friend."
This is a Q2 violation if you do not feel obligated to help your friends when they are in need.
Can you expect more from your friends than you would expect from strangers? Are there some friends you expect more from than you do from other friends? By Q2, if you expect more from a friend than you expect from a stranger, you must be willing to give that friend any assistance that you would demand.
Before demanding assistance, you must also be sure that your friend shares your feelings about the relationship. You cannot reasonably demand that someone sit up all night with you as you sob your heart out if they consider you only an "occasional drinks after work" friend, no matter how highly you value their friendship.
In addition to friends, there may be other individuals or groups to whom you give special consideration. For example, even though you don’t personally know anybody on a particular football team, you might support them because they represent the college you graduated from.
Which of these groups of people do you think deserve special consideration? Are some of the groups morally equivalent? Should some of them be subdivided further?
- Close family members (sibling, parent, spouse, child).
- Non-blood close family members (step-sibling, adopted sibling, half-sibling).
- Near family members (grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin).
- Distant family members (second cousin, distant aunt or uncle).
- Family by virtue of marriage (brother-in-law, mother-in-law).
- Estranged family members (people related by blood or marriage that you have never met).
- Removed family members (ex-spouse, disowned child, no-show father).
- Work friends.
- Other people in your profession.
- Nodding acquaintances (frequent customer, person who drives the bus you commute on, grocery store clerk, neighbor you don’t really know).
- Dear friends (people you love platonically).
- Extremely close friends (best friend, longtime friend, "friend with benefits").
- Friend once removed (the girlfriend, boyfriend, relative, close friend, etc., of someone you give special consideration to).
- People you love who don’t return the sentiment.
- People you admire but don’t know personally (actors, athletes, politicians, scientists).
- Classmates and former classmates.
- People from your town.
- People from the town you grew up in.
- People from your country.
- People who share your ancestry.
You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at LuLu.com and Amazon.com. See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.