Stand By Me: Why It's Right To Support Your Friends

17/03/2011 12:18 | Updated 22 May 2015

Friendship has been under fire of late. First came the news that Prince Andrew is mates with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, then Kate Moss announced that she still wants pal John Galliano to design her wedding dress despite the allegations of anti-Semitism and that video.

Both situations have prompted a torrent of vitriol and denouncement, but why? As far as we know, His Royal Highness isn't a paedophile, and Kate hasn't said a single word against Jewish people. In fact, all this pair is guilty of is having friends with flaws.

And who isn't? If everyone got rid of their chums as a result of bad behaviour, we'd all be very lonely indeed. We, however, have the benefit of living outside of the public glare. When someone close to us does something we don't agree with, no matter how heinous, we can weigh up the situation and decide what's right for ourselves - and our relationship with the person – without massacring our image or, in Prince Andrew's case, causing a diplomatic incident.

Perhaps we would be better served by looking at the circumstances from a different angle? One that is more about compassion, understanding and forgiveness? After all, choosing to remain friends with someone after such behaviour could also be seen as admirable and courageous.

I realise I may be on flimsy ground when it comes to Prince Andrew, particularly when I'm faced with a photo of him pictured with his arm around a minor, but we don't know the whole story. And what about Kate? She knows all too well the importance of foul weather friends following the scandal that erupted after she was pictured snorting cocaine back in 2005. It seems only right somehow that she stand by Galliano in his hour of need while he works on sorting out his obvious problems.

Maybe the real issue here is that both circumstances are tainted with the last of our taboos - racism and paedophilia. In the past people were persecuted and shunned for adultery and promiscuity, but these days Paris Hilton seems to have more friends than ever despite the release of her sex tape. Don't get me wrong, I'm in no way condoning Epstein's or Galliano's behaviour, but we don't have all the information nor are we privy to the way Kate and Prince Andrew have dealt with the issue within their respective friendships. And it's wrong to think of them as complicit in the behaviour of their buddies just because they've refused to cut them off.

These days friendships are often as or more important than the bonds that you have with your family, and good ones are hard to come by and can be heartbreaking to end. So, I can understand why these relationships have endured despite the extreme circumstances. I hope, if ever I'm faced with a similar situation, I have the courage to be as supportive and forgiving - depending on the situation, of course.


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