Our Culture

As Americans we err too much on the side of not intervening, because we worry about things like intruding, or offending, let alone our own liability.

Christine Moutier, chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in “A stranger e-mailed saying he planned to kill himself. What was I supposed to do?” by Cynthia McCabe.

This quote struck me because it applies not just to suicide, but to everyday interactions in America. As a culture, we are frequently too concerned with interfering in others’ business. Undoubtedly my Northeastern upbringing, which expects self-sufficiency, is involved in this assessment. That we as a country have a reputation for litigiousness, which coworkers appreciate, also certainly contributes.