It is normal to feel ashamed if someone thinks that we are doing something disgraceful. Virtuous people tend to protect their honor and dignity (Shame), and not caring about this is a vice (Shamelessness). In this scenario, Emma is not doing anything wrong, but her friends may think otherwise after getting a glimpse of the website she is studying. She shouldn’t neglect the way they may feel about it (Circumspection), and she should feel responsible to not give them a bad example (Do Not Give Scandal).
The awkwardness of the situation may incline her not to do or say anything, but she should remember that usually remaining quiet or pretending that nothing happened is a sign of guilt (Good Deliberation). People who are caught red-handed tend to let it go without saying anything. If Emma cares about her friends’ opinion about her, she should overcome the embarrassment (Fortitude) and speak to them candidly (Truthfulness). Avoiding a direct approach—for example by asking their opinion about the website and about the article—is a form of Hypocrisy, and it may involve a useless waste of (Respect) Emma’s time (who doesn’t need/want to share her work with them) and her friends’ time (who may have other more important things to do).
Special Circumstances to Consider:
- If the content of the website involved crimes: for example, with children.
- If you have special moral and professional duties to be exemplary with those friends (for example, as a minister in their community or as the company’s manager in charge of disciplinary actions related to the proper use of the Internet).
Read Fulvio Di Blasi’s full bio here.