This dilemma addresses the cost attached to lending something to a friend or acquaintance, which is very common. In this particular situation, Karen receives “several parking tickets that match the license plate of the car” she leant to her dear friend, Nancy. Should she ask Nancy to pay, question her, get angry, or should Karen just pay the parking tickets and forget about it?
It is important to remember that things are not always as they seem. As reasonable as it is to assume that Nancy was inconsiderate and drove around NYC getting parking tickets with Karen’s car, she still deserves the benefit of the doubt (Avoiding Rash Judgment). Karen may have been rushing to important meetings and planned to pay the tickets, but she forgot to tell Karen before leaving. There is no point in overreacting (Good Deliberation), getting upset (Anger), or thinking the worst about Nancy (Despair).
On the contrary, Friendship requires focusing on Nancy instead of the parking tickets (Forgiveness and Meekness) by asking her what happened, giving her a chance to explain, and facing the situation (Truthfulness), even if it means discussing the inconsiderate behavior with her (Giving Good Example). It is reasonable to expect Nancy to pay the parking tickets (Justice), assuming that she is responsible for them (Justice). It is gracious on Karen’s part to pay the parking tickets out of Generosity. However, it is not a good idea to pay the tickets only to avoid speaking to Nancy about them; nor is it appropriate for someone completely disassociated with the situation to pay the parking tickets. Unless there was a glitch with the parking system and Karen’s car was accidentally charged, Nancy is clearly responsible.
It is inappropriate in this situation for Karen to assume that Nancy’s company should pay for parking violations (Intelligence).
Karen has no reason to hide the incident from her husband. Speaking sincerely and openly to one’s spouse about things that affect or upset us is important. Good communication strengthens the intimacy, trust, and love of the relationship (Marital Love). It is important that spouses always be a good example of wise decision making for each other while focusing on good intention and good will (Giving Good Example). Karen should not speak ill of Nancy to her husband without knowing the facts (Avoid Detraction). Instead, she should take this opportunity and try to become a better person, wife, and friend (Personal Development) by being a good example to others.
Special circumstances to consider: If Nancy has helped you so much in the past that raising the issue about paying the parking tickets, (regardless of who is at fault), would be petty and ungrateful.
Read the dilemma How Should You Bring Up the Parking Tickets?
Read Fulvio Di Blasi’s full bio here.