I believe in loyalty. Loyalty is one of the most important qualities in a person, and it is one of the most endearing and supreme morals of human society, past and present. I was born with a very strong sense of this quality and it has become one of the main attributes that I look for in people. If someone cannot reciprocate my loyalty towards them as a friend or otherwise, then they can never be more than an acquaintance. Woodrow Wilson once said “Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice.” This was obviously intended to describe loyalty to your country, but it also can and should be applied to friendship. Friendship should never be a singularly beneficial pact.
Many people look for completely different things in friendship, and have perfectly functional and healthy social lives. However, I need my good friends to be dependable. Friends should be able to look to each other in times of need, whether that means lending each other a few dollars, or backing each other up in a fight. You can never really completely define what it means to be loyal- sometimes it’s just an intangible sentiment between people.
At the very least, loyalty is never backstabbing your friend because there is a feeling of mutual respect. Trust is an important part of friendship and loyalty. It is the primary bond which holds together a relationship, and you cannot go past a certain point in friendship if trust is not built.
Loyalty goes farther than the relationship between two people. You can have loyalty towards your family, an organization, and ultimately your country. It seems like patriotism is a hot topic lately in this nation, but in reality nationalism has always been an important part of any society because it binds the society around a commonality.
I know that anything that I’m a part of or have an affiliation to will always rank higher on my list of priorities than something I don’t have a connection to. It’s just instinct for me to support things that I have a relationship with over things that I don’t have a relationship with.
This instinct has the potential to get me into trouble on occasion, as my loyalty is not always matched. It’s far too easy for people to be self centered and not reciprocate in a friendship, and unfortunately some people become successful by manipulating others but in turn do not give back. This risk comes with the territory however, and if you can’t have faith in a friend, then how can you have faith in yourself?
Friendship means a lot of things, and there are varying degrees of it, but to me loyalty is the primary indicator of how strong a friendship is. There are a select few people in the world that I would put my life on the line for, and those are my family and long-time loyal friends who have never betrayed my trust.
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