Rachel Pomerance, the health editor of U.S. News and World Report, just did a great piece about Ethical Wisdom for Friends for the magazine. We were on the phone for over an hour, exchanging stories about complicated friends (and friendships), jealousy, competition, betrayal, and romantic attraction between friends, and how to deal with friends that sap your energy, mooch, or don’t come through for us in times of need. Continue reading
I just recorded a podcast titled “Ethical Wisdom for Friends” for this month’s Seeker’s Forum. I talk about a handful of common friendship dilemmas through the lens of the five-part “moral organ” in our brains. This moral organ evolved to sensitize humans to five particular areas of ethical concern: Harm and Care, Justice and Fairness, Loyalty to the In-Group, Authority and Respect, Sacredness and Purity.
My new book, Ethical Wisdom For Friends, came out on June 4. I’ve been fascinated by friendship ever since I was young boy. When you don’t have a family that – uh – embraces you, a person can tend to look for those familial bonds outside the nuclear cave, especially in your friendships. This is what happened to me, anyway, and many of my best friends have been people who felt like orphans (or invisible, at least) in their home of origin. So I know that I am not alone!
I decided to do this book after Ethical Wisdom came out and readers wondered why I hadn’t been more prescriptive – more how-to or boots-on-the-ground practical about the information in Ethical Wisdom. They asked what they were supposed to DO with all of this research about ethics and morality; how to apply it? That’s when the light bulb went off about doing a series of EW books that apply to specific populations and situations. I could think of no richer or more complex place to start than in the realm of friendship. Next will be Ethical Wisdom for Lovers … which is more complicated still.
Ethical Wisdom for Friends asks a lot provocative questions. When is it OK to lie to a friend? What to do when friends are sexually attracted to each other? When do we interfere with our friends’ lives and when do we simply keep our mouths shut? What about gossip in friendship, or frenemies, or bromance? I explore these questions using real life stories (my own and those of people I interviewed), and the result is – I hope – juicy and fun to read.
I’d love to know what you think!