by Ron Kurtus
Readers have sent in a total of 173 comments and questions on Character issues. They are listed according to date.
You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.
|My friend cannot tell the truth||Trustworthy||USA|
|Worried about getting another job||Stealing||USA|
|Feel worthless after getting caught stealing||Stealing||Canada|
|Should I see a psychologist at work about stealing?||Stealing||Canada|
|Have been stealing and now want to repent||Stealing||Canada|
|Manager lied to her and gave bad report||Stealing||USA|
|Love how you handle the topics||Trustworthy||Nigeria|
|Power of My Way movie/song||If I Were Brave||USA|
|Stole something at Burger King||Stealing||USA|
|Friend's boyfriend may want to break up||Newberger Book||Germany|
|Trust can mean a lot of different things||Trustworthy||Ireland|
|Read D.H. Lawrence's essay about Franklin||Franklin's Virtues||USA|
|Sister-in-law steals from them||Stealing||USA|
|Foreign student caught stealing at K-Mart||Stealing||USA|
|Keeps his privacy by lying to others||Honesty||USA|
My friend cannot tell the truth
February 24, 2006
I have a friend. I know that she is a person who just can not tell the truth. I need a way to help her. Should I tell her to help herself first?
Cristiana - USA (10212)
You may try to figure out why she lies so often.
People who do that may feel insecure and want to exaggerate their importance or how good they are. If that is the case, you might start by telling her that she doesn't need to worry about what you think, since you like her for what she is. Give her some compliments to try to build up esteem.
Others lie because they don't want people to know their business. They are secretive. Also, some may tell others what they think they want to hear. I'm not sure what you can do about this type of behavior.
But really, you can't help your friend unless she wants to change. Advice is best when it is asked for. If she does want to stop, the best way to start is for her to do some good soul-searching and try to figure out why she is doing this in the first place. If she knows why she is doing it, she will be on the road to changing herself.
In the meanwhile, if she is a friend and you know how she acts, you can still be friends.
Worried about getting another job
February 22, 2006
Hello from Las Vegas. I am so thankful to run into your site. I have been stressed out since I have caught stealing from the company I have worked for 2 years and eight months. In my two year and sixth month, I stole about 800 dollars from the company. I had access in the cash office and i was tempted to steal to pay for the part of my rent and utility bills. At that time, I was just worried about my bills and did not really think about the consequences of my action. I have never done such an evil thing before, I even surprised myself. I was just trying to make ends meet. The Loss Prevention people have the evidences of my wrongdoing ( video and paperwork ). I wrote a confession letter and promised to pay the amounts misappropriated by me. They did not call the police. They said the company will not bring charges. The company terminated me for the reason of dishonesty. My questions are: Is this event going to be in my criminal record for background check. Am I able to find anoher job? My major is accounting, is it gonna ruin my future career? Should I change major? Should I put this company as a employment reference? This was my only job in the U.S. Please help me, no else can. Thank you.
R. - USA (10183)
You should consider yourself lucky that they did not report you to the police. But also, it may be a blessing, because hopefully you have learned your lesson and will be extra honest from now on.
Since they did not press charges, this incident should not be on your criminal record. But you really should not put this company down as an employment reference, since they may tell why you were terminated.
Since you are relatively new to the U.S., you probably can start over, as if you had just entered the country. You should be able to find work in accounting and continue with your career. It might be a good idea to move to a different location, when you start anew.
While you are looking for a job in accounting, you might get another lower-level job as a filler, even if it is part-time. It is always easier to get a job when you have a job.
Seek out some good character references, both here and in your home country. Also, try to get good references from anywhere you worked before this recent job.
Although, it is possible to rebound after getting caught stealing, such an act can also ruin a person's life. I am sure they were very disappointed with you.
Best wishes in starting over with a positive attitude.
Feel worthless after getting caught stealing
February 15, 2006
I am thankful to discover your site. It is helping me to cope with my state of worthlessness, despair and self-loath.
I was caught today shoplifting in a clothing store. I don't know if I have an illness, but I have made a desperate call to see a psychologist. When I was in the store, I saw a person looking at me who could be a security person, yet, I ignored him and continued. I even took a top that matched with a skirt and hid it in a corner with the plan to put it under my coat. I bought one outfit, and put two thin blouses under my coat. When I left he store, even before security came for me, I was feeling awful about what I did. It was as if I wanted to throw myself to the wind and have this feeling disappear.
I gave them the two blouses.
When security took me inside, I was feeling as if my life was over. I felt I was finished. I cannot explain all of my thoughts, but I feel I have some mental illness to do what I did. When the security finished taking down all the notes and then called the Police, he left me sitting in the office area that had a clothes-hanger with closes, perhaps to be put on display later.
While i was sitting there alone, I took my lipstick and marked a blouse as if in anger about my life. Why would I do such a hateful thing? Why would I allow myself to do this? What is wrong with me?
Then the police came and I explained what I thought caused me to behave in this illegal, wrong, immoral and foolish way. I was hospitalized with Alergic shock in the emergency; my son dropped out of college and I am a single mother. Perhaps these added up to my state of illness. I admitted to my wrong doing, including having done it before and realize that I needed a 'wake up' call to stop me from doing this wrongful and illegal act. I am humiliating myself by this behaviour.
I don't have any criminal record and the police gave me a second chance and warned me that if I am ever caught again, I will be put away. I cannot tell you how much I thanked God for this break; how much my life has been prevented from being ruined by my behaviour; how much I feel grateful for this second change. I want so much to redeem myself, to clean up my life and get out of this feeling that tempted me in the past to do a wrong like this.
I am now afraid that if they discover the blouse with the lipstick that they may come to my home and arrest me. Please give me your advice.
Elizabeth - Canada (10090)
Although it certainly isn't good to be stealing, getting caught can be a blessing and as you said, "a wake-up call." You are fortunate that the police are giving you a second chance.
You may want to try to find out why you would want to steal stuff in the first place? You have a good job, so it isn't the need for money. In fact, stealing something is such a losing proposition. You can steal something for $50, but if you are caught, the punishment can be losses of thousands of dollars in income and in suffering.
Some people will steal if they feel down on themselves and perhaps blame themselves for some problems. It is a form of self-punishment, where they actually hope to get caught.
But now that you have been caught, perhaps it will be a purifying experience. Take a look at your problems and realize they aren't all that bad. The expression goes: "Don't sweat the small stuff. And it is all small stuff."
The philosophy of our website is to seek to be your best and be a champion in what you do. But then you should give back and champion a worthy cause. In other words, it is important to give back and help others get over their problems. When you do that, your problems don't seem so bad. But also, it sort of makes up for any things you have done for which you are sorry.
Move in a new direction in your life. Obviously, don't steal again. Instead be honest. Be extremely honest. You feel much better about yourself then.
Best wishes and I am sure you will get on the right track again.
Should I see a psychologist at work about stealing?
February 15, 2006
I sent you an email earlier that I will be seeing a psychologist tomorrow about my problem.
Since the psychologist is covered by my company's Employee Helpful Program for staff members, do you think it is wize for me to confide this illegal act of stealing to the psychologist? I need to talk to someone who will not disclose this illegal activity to my employer. I have not stolen from my employer. But I am worried that if the psychologist discloses this, I could get into trouble, i.e. lose my job.
I need your help badly.
Elizabeth - Canada (10091)
Although the psychologist is legally not allowed to disclose what is said in private, I still would be hesitant to talk about it to a person at your work. You never know if the psychologist is ethical or might accidentally mention something that could cause you to lose your job.
If you want to see a psychologist or counselor, it probably would be best to pay for it yourself and see someone not related to your job or other people that know you. Or maybe your health insurance would cover it.
Have been stealing and now want to repent
February 15, 2006
I would really like your help. When I came home after the Police let me go, I had two jackets I had stolen before (and wasn't caught) in my closet. I decided to put them in a bag and gave them to the Salvation Army drop off.
Since the police know that I am most likely an offender who had done it before, can they come to my house for a search?
I realize what a great injustice I have done and I got a second chance when I wasn't charged today. I am repenting and now want to lock myself in my house for a few days to do a strong introspection about myself, my charater, personality and why I would take something that does not belong to me. Would seeing a psychologist help me?
- Canada (10092)
It would be wise for you to give the jackets to the Salvation Army as soon as possible. Since you apparently were involved in petty theft, the police probably would not get a search warrant to search your house. But still, it is possible.
Certainly you understand that it is wrong to take things that belong to someone else. Do you think that the jackets you took were worth the possibility of being put in jail, being humiliated and perhaps causing many problems in your life? And also, what about the hardship on the people who lost their goods.
I am glad that you are feeling remorse for stealing. It is a good idea to sit by yourself and think about these things and where your life is going. Look around you at all the things you have and how fortunate you are. Give thanks and appreciate your blessings.
I have mixed feelings about seeing a psychologist right now. If you really take a look at your life and what you want to do with yourself, perhaps this urge to steal will just seem stupid. I know you are sorry for doing it. Maybe wait a little while before you decide whether to see a psychologist.
One important thing I suggest to wash off the dirt from stealing is to try to get involved in some volunteer work in your community, helping some people who are in need. In that way, you can make amends for what you have done, and perhaps it will give you a new perspective on things.
Best wishes in turning your life around to becoming an honest and caring person. I know you have it in you.
Manager lied to her and gave bad report
February 9, 2006
I hope you answer this! Ok, so here is my dilemma. When I was 17 I began working at my second job that I loved! I was only there for four months. I had short-rang someone up and the manager found out. She told the general manager and the next day I went in to work, but was called into the office. I felt horrible for what I had done and I know it was stupid...I am a good person. I was just trying to help a friend in a stupid way. Anyways, when I was called into the office, I knew what was going to happen. I started crying thinking that I would never have another job. I appologized so many times for what I had done. I asked my manager what should I put on my application for reason for leaving? Short on hours? She told me that would work. She told me she wouldn't tell what happened. I went to apply for a new job and put that job down. I put that I quit for not enough hours. I was at my new job for only a month and they fired me because I lied on my app. ((Ooooh great)) My new mangaer told me why I was fired and it was because my former manager had told him why. (This business is now out of business) I called her ASAP really mad and asked her why she did that?! She had no answers for me. I loved that manager...She was a good manager, but she sort of lied to me. I am now 20 years old. This still haunts me. I have had 3 other jobs since then. On two of the job apps, I did not tell them I worked where I was fired. I go to fill out applications and I do not put either of those jobs on my apps because I am scared. I know what I did was wrong and I have learned my lesson. I am scared because of this. What should I do on future apps....or even when I start my career? Please help me...I cannot find anyone else!
Ashley - USA (10012)
The thing to do on any future applications is not to mention the jobs where you were fired. At age 17, no one expects a person to have steady employment, so it is easily acceptable to have 5 months without working.
Although it was wrong for what you did, you have learned your lesson. It certainly was wrong for that first manager to tell why you were let go, when she had promised not to tell. In fact, most companies will not tell why a person left the job because of fear of a lawsuit. They are only supposed to confirm that the person worked there.
I'm glad you called that manager to let her know that she had hurt you. But it is in the past, so move on with your life.
Forget the two jobs where you were fired. Don't mention them on your applications. Soon these early jobs will all be trivial as you find a career path to follow. Certainly, when you become a manager, you will know how to handle things better than those two that you had a few years ago.
Best wishes for your future.
Love how you handle the topics
February 7, 2006
I love thw way and manner in which you handle your school of champion topics. I wish to say that you should keep it up. You should also do the same thing for all words that qualifies characters such as honesty, accountability, efficiency, etc.
I will be glad if I can be registered as one of your regular customer.
ibisagba - Nigeria (9973)
Thank you for your feedback. We plan to add more lessons on the various character traits in the near future. Your use of our material and this email makes you a regular customer. We don't have any registration required.
Best wishes in your success.
Power of My Way movie/song
January 17, 2006
You may want to check out a new "movie" with a song written by myself and my husband Brent. It was released last wednesday and as of last night at midnight over 66,000 people had viewed it - more than 4,000 joined our ezine community. Keep up the great work!
Anita - USA (9707)
I checked out your Power of My Way movie/song. It looks and sounds great.
Stole something at Burger King
January 6, 2006
I am 16 and I work at Burger king. I recently helped in the steal of a box of ciniminis. Which yes was a stupid thing to even steal but i am caught. I dont know what to do i returned the ciniminis with 10$ for what was missing and also i am going in towmorrow to talk to my manager about the matter. But i dont know what will happen if i will get fired or the cops called. I dont want eather to happen but i just need some advice on how to cope with what i feel and also if i should tell my parents.
Nick - USA (9581)
First of all, prepare for the worst. If you were caught doing this, you can apologize to the manager and say that you gave everything back. If necessary, you can tell your parents and expect to be grounded or punished. Of course, they will be disappointed with you.
But if you have not been caught and simply have a guilty conscience, and you have given everything back, then the best thing to do is to keep things quiet and never do something like that again.
If you've been caught and you apologize to the manager, he may or may not fire you, especially if you show you are sorry. I doubt if he would bring in the police on such a matter.
I hope things work out for you with this and that it is a lesson learned. Since you helped in the stealing, it is best not to associate with the other person. Such a person can only bring you down.
Friend's boyfriend may want to break up
January 1, 2006
I have a friend who has a boyfriend but when they kissed he decided he didnt like her anymore. Now he likes someone else but the girl he likes has a boyfriend, so he is just using her for now until the girl he likes is single. Somehow my friend found out and is asking me why I said that but I don't want to hurt her feelings by telling her the truth. What should I do? Should I tell her the truth or go with a lie and let this unfold itself? I really need to know ASAP! Thank you for your help!
P.S. she is also very sensative!
Yohanna - Germany (9518)
Although you hate to see someone taking advantage of another person, I've found that the best philosophy to take in affairs of the heart is not to get involved.
You don't want to lie, so one tact to take is to say you're really not sure what the real truth is. Say that you don't want to spread rumors or tell about things that you aren't 100% sure of. And that is the truth too.
It is a situation where you really can't win one way or the other. So try to use diplomacy to say you really aren't sure of things.
I hope things work out for your situation and for hers.
Trust can mean a lot of different things
December 5, 2005
It's funny though, trust can mean a lot of different things to different people. There are many taboos around the subject of "trust". I've always found that the same people who harp on about trust are the most treacherous, perverse, conniving shower of mofos you'll ever hope to meet.
Funny that, how opinions differ.
Hugh - Ireland (9267)
Thanks for your observations.
I agree that trust can be a vague term. Trust is really your opinion of the other person. Unfortunately, people who are concerned about whether they trust another person may not be very trustworthy themselves.
I think that people who harp on anything often need to take a good look at themselves before they tell others what to do.
Read D.H. Lawrence's essay about Franklin
December 4, 2005
Please read D.H. Lawrence's essay about Franklin in "Studies in Classic American Literature, it is available online.
aaron - USA (9254)
Good golly! Lawrence certainly was cynical in his essay on Franklin. I guess it can be summed up in his statement, "I don't like Franklin." Unfortunately, when someone expresses such dislike about an historical figure (and just about everyone else including Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie and most Americans), I tend to discount what he says as valid or worthwhile.
Somebody should have told Lawrence to lighten up.
Sister-in-law steals from them
November 27, 2005
I had Thanksgiving dinner this year for my husband's family. Sometime after dinner my sister-in-law got into my purse and stole $50.00 from me. This is not her first time stealing from me. Three years ago I started to notice a pattern that when she was around I would start missing money. I have never noticed anything else missing. It has been two years since she has stolen from me. I have never said anything to her about it because I don't want to cause a problem in the family. Two years ago her husband called my husband about a credit card situation she got them in. She had spent almost 60 thousand dollars on cards without his knowledge. She had the bills sent to a post office box but eventually could not pay that either. Her husband found the bills when he got the mail one day. My husband helped them get out of that financial situation by negotiating with credit card companies and paying off their debt. They owe us about $25,000. I forgave her of her past wrong doings because I rationalized her stealing as a way to hide her mistakes. But why is she doing it again after we have helped her so much? I feel betrayed and hurt by her actions. My husband wants to set a trap for her and get her on film. We can not say anything about it to her husband because the credit card situation almost destoyed him. He went into a severe depression. What should we do? Could she have more credit card debt again after we fixed her last problem? Is there a way to find out? I would appreciate any information you could offer on this situation.
- USA (9122)
Your sister-in-law has a serious problem. I assume it is a gambling problem. The worse thing in the world that you could have done was to help her and her family get out of debt. This just allowed her to cover up her problem and to continue with her addiction. She needs to either go to therapy or to jail. Or both.
Stealing from family, like she has done is not uncommon. There have been stories of people who have even robbed their own church and sent it into bankruptcy in order to feed their addiction to throwing away money.
Your husband loves his sister and the best way to help her is to force the issue and hope she can get some help. Your sister-in-law is not only ruining her life, but she is also affecting her husband's life, as well as yours.
I suggest that you both decide to contact her and her husband and tell them that they are no longer welcome at your house. Tell her husband that they should seek some professional help for your sister-in-law. Don't mince words are try to help anymore. Her husband needs to stand on his own two feet and realize his wife is a sick woman. If she refuses any help, then he will have to deal with it himself.
Do not compromise and let her into your house again until she is well on the road to recovery.
As far as setting a trap for her and trying to film her goes, what would that solve? You're not going to turn her into the police. Even if she denies taking the $50, her track record is enough for you to close her out until she gets help on her own.
This is a very difficult situation for you and your husband. Hopefully, your sister-in-law will see the light and change her ways.
Best wishes to you and your sister-in-law on her recovery.
Foreign student caught stealing at K-Mart
November 26, 2005
I am in a very difficult mental state and need your advice urgently. I really need help to become a better person again.
today i got caught for stealing some clothes at K-mart in Los Angeles. I had 3 sweaters in my back pack and two t-shirts worn under my clothes. The lady stopped me at the entry gte and asked me to open my backpack. They took me to the back store security room and took the photocopy of my student id (i am an international student here and dont have any other picture id except student id) and made me sign 2-3 forms, with my address on them. One of which said that K-mart attorneys may contact me. They did not charge me anything at this time and let me go. I have given the right address but the thing is i am shifting from this address in a month and if they try to send any letter on that after i move i wont be able to get it.
Do you think they will prosecute me?
Will it go anywhere on my record (they did not take my social security no.) or in immigration record?
Since they have my student id copy, will they try to contact my school if i am not contactable on my apt address that i gave? it will be really bad if school comes to know because i am a phd student here and my future will be ruined as a result.
i am on student visa right now. My husband is on dependent visa (not in US right now) and planning to come to US next year. I feel terrible sorry for doing such a thing and worst thing is what i was stealing was something i wanted to give to my husband. I really dont know how to tell this to him, because he thinks i am a good person. I do wish to tell him sometime in life because otherwise it will bother me always. I feel like i am a really bad person, i want to change and this incident is more than enough for me to realise what i was doing was wrong and should never do it again. But if i am contacted for any legal process in future it will be really bad because i am from other country and i may not get greencard or residency in future as a consequence. and i will lose trust of everyone in my family too. The goods i stole was about $50 value. Please advice me, because i dont know what to do and whom to ask and came across your site on the web.
need your help,
- USA (9114)
Although it is bad enough to get caught stealing in your own country, it is extremely bad to get caught stealing when you are an international student. Such an action could jeopardize you education in the US and could prevent your husband from coming here. Also, to simply take a single item as a shoplifter is not as bad as taking several items, including wearing some under your clothes. I am surprised they did not call the police and have you arrested on the spot.
What were you thinking of? Was $50 worth taking such a risk that could cause so much harm to your life, your education and the welfare of your family?
It is difficult to say as to whether K-Mart will attempt to prosecute you. Since they did not call the police, there is a good chance they will just keep your name in their files in case you get caught stealing from them again.
When you move, you normally provide your new address to the post office, so that you continue to get your mail. If they do not contact you very soon, they probably not try to prosecute you. But it is uncertain whether they will contact your school to tell about your misdeed.
Besides feeling bad about this, you need to take a good look at yourself and your values. A PhD candidate should not have to steal or cheat. Never, EVER do something dishonest again. In fact, go out of your way to be honest. That is a much better way to live.
Hopefully for you, they will drop the matter and just give you a scare. If you are contacted by K-Mart or the school, be prepared to sincerely apologize. If this is a first offense, you may get off. But being a non-resident, you may suffer the consequences.
Best wishes in leading a very honest life.
PS: I removed your name from this letter.
Keeps his privacy by lying to others
November 12, 2005
I've noticed two things about myself. First, I'm just like my father: I am an extremely private person who loathes to disclose private thoughts and emotions. I will lie so as to deceive others about what I'm really thinking/feeling. This is something about myself that I've tried to change - a disastrous failure.
Secondly, I lie because I want to stop lying. My life thus far has been a collection of lies - both to friends and family (see above). I feel that I can become a new person after I finish college (a fresh start). But until then, I tell myself, it's ok to lie (so as to tie up the loose ends of other lies I've made). There is something wrong with me thinking this, but that line of thinking just holds such emotional appeal for me.
There are two questions that relate: (1) Does being a private person mean that honesty/disclosure is not always the best policy, assuming that there's nothing wrong with being a private person? (2) To start habits, one should start small. Should I wait to be honest until the lies I have already told will not have drastic consequences?
- USA (8921)
It is not uncommon to have a similar personality as one of your parents or even other relatives. But also, you learn the way your parents deal with issues from living with them during your youth. Sometimes their lessons may not be good to follow.
Being a private person means that you keep your thoughts and emotions to yourself. But that does not mean you need to fabricate stories and tell lies to others. In fact, telling lies about yourself is perhaps creating the person you would really like to be in the eyes of others. One would think a private person would want others to respect his privacy, and he would respect the thoughts and feelings of others. Being dishonest, fabricating stories and lying to others is the epitome of disrepect to those people.
A major problem with telling lies is that once people find out, they can be hurt and angry for trusting you. The assumption is that a person who lies is also dishonest in other areas.
There is also a question on what degree of privacy you want to have and what value it has for you. Does it really improve your life? Are you better off being very private about things or would you gain from letting people find out more about you?
A person who keeps too much to himself, who never lets others know his feeling or emotions can be a very uninteresting person. Consider your friends. Would you want a friend who would never tell you what he truly felt or thought about things? You may want your privacy, but it shouldn't be to the extreme where you lie to others.
I wouldn't start any disclosure, because that might not achieve much. Instead, try to trickle out some of your feelings. If the situation comes up where a lie is exposed, you can simply say that there was a misunderstanding concerning the issue. (The misunderstanding was that you told the wrong thing.)
Being a little more open in your life should work better for you. Lies that you told can be rectified in most cases. Often people don;t remember the details on issues.
I hope these ideas help in answering your questions.
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