Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pledge of allegiance

I've been thinking a lot about loyalty lately and how it relates to our relationships, romantic or otherwise.

When we make lists of what we "expect" from friends or lovers they usually revolve around hopes for "companionship and kindness."

But almost always we utter one truly important word...


It goes without saying that people expect their boyfriends/girlfriends/husbands/wives to be loyal and because of this cheating seems to be one of the most common "deal breakers" among couples.

But what do we make of friends who fall shy of the loyalty standard?

For them, the line between what is acceptable and what isn't doesn't seem so black and white.

Looking back, I think it's easier to hope for loyalty in a friendship than to actually find it. Maintaining a friendship seems to be a group effort, with many opinions and feelings to consider. Those of each other, but also those of others you meet along the way...

If your friend is betrayed by someone, are you supposed to hate that person along with them?
If your friend is hurt... do you always take their side?

We spend our lives making lists of our expectations for our lovers, but rarely do we hold our friends to the same standards.

And while the people in our experiences will sometimes disappoint us, unlike our family, we choose our friends.

We invite them into our lives because we desire their companionship, their kindness.

But while that may curb our loneliness from time to time...

Does it mean we're entitled to their loyalty?


Chrissie said...

Do you have any "deal breakers" when it comes to friendship?

Sten said...

Lies. Why lie? No one likes a liar.
I have been forgiven for and forgiven quite a few horrible things, but only because we were honest and talked it out.

Breaking my Rock Band drums would kill a friendship too.

Wraith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wraith said...

personally i value friendship above nearly everything. i will acknowledge that there are gray areas. however if someone has hurt your friend in a profound way it's all black and white. i can think of several people i have severed ties with because of this.
my motivations stem from personal experience. i have been hurt and friends continued to socialize with and in one very special case start a business with the offending party. it hurt me deeply every time it was brought up or when i thought about it.
so loyalty, in my opinion, needs to be absolute and unwavering.

Jamie said...

Selfishness. I think everyone has a different concept of what it means to be disloyal; selfishness is a little bit easier to identify. For me it’s the most glaring form of friend-mistreatment. If you’re always forced to be the designated driver, your friends are being selfish. If your friends are only willing to go places they like and never go places you like, they’re being selfish.

This is a great topic, because those lines are drawn much more faintly with friends than with significant others. On the subject of loyalty, post breakup “same crowd” associations are always going to be awkward—there’s no way to avoid that. It’s ugly to get into the whole “so-and-so was my friend first” battle. But strong friendships do form through our friends’ relationships, and that’s just the way it is. There’s no telling when two people are going to click and it’s not necessarily disloyal to remain friends with a friend’s ex. (Note that I said “not necessarily”—every circumstance is different.) But it’s like Sten said—just don’t lie about it; be straight up.

Our friends have the ability to hurt us more deeply than our sig o’s. That’s why it’s so important to be able to trust them. They’re our foundation.

Sten said...

I'm still carrying a 10 year grudge over an ex-best friend.

When you get involved romantically you know you're taking a risk. This person can hurt you if things don't work out.

It's not supposed to be like that with friends.