Do we hold our friends accountable? | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 16, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, January 16, 2020

Do we hold our friends accountable?

As we get older, our friendships tend to become more complex and multi-faceted. While new developments can provide more fulfilling connections, they can also give rise to serious issues. For example, consider that your old friend has been revealed to have severely mistreated their significant other. Now, their partner has come to you for help. This puts you in a tough spot, but it’s still a situation you can’t simply sweep under the rug. This leads us to the sensitive area of holding our friends accountable for their wrongdoings.

Seeing how this is such a sensitive issue, it is often overlooked. However, this important issue could even extend to #MeToo movements and other similar situations. A loved one exhibiting hurtful behavior puts us in a very delicate area. One which must be navigated carefully.

It’s important to look at why we may tend to avoid these situations. Many people consider bringing these issues up to be confrontational and have negative connotations related to that. Another reason could be that it could potentially strain or ruin valuable friendships. Additionally, friendships generally entail people opening up about their troubles in life to trustworthy individuals. This however can affect our judgement and decision-making, as there might be an added pressure to evade talking to friends about their faults or wrongdoings in fear of piling on their load of troubles.

Nevertheless, in spite of the discomfort and issues that might arise afterwards, we still have to encourage our friends towards self-improvement (and expect the same in return). Our friends are a reflection of ourselves, which means that they can affect or influence us and vice versa. Thus, a good system of mutual support, respect, vigilance, honesty, and encouragement is crucial.

The fact that our friends may not want to be accountable is also a very real problem. While we do want our friends to be their best selves, our efforts may not always be fruitful. In that case, it’s our responsibility to not become apologists or enforce justifications, otherwise we will become complicit in their actions.

Ultimately, we might be faced with difficult choices. One might involve helping the friend on their road to improvement, which comes with its own set of troubles. The other might concern cutting off some who is very dear to us. Regardless of the choices, it’s our responsibility to put biases aside and break the silence.


Fatima Jahan Ena likes complaining about capitalism and her forehead. Find her at

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