I wrote a piece recently called “I Don’t Want Blind Loyalty.”
In it, I talk about how sometimes there’s this expectation from people that being a good friend means always taking their side. That being loyal means being a “yes man,” no matter the context.
And how I’m just not down for that. Not on either side, really:
“I think there are many ways that a friend can be good,” I answered. “I don’t want people close to me that always take my side, just because they like me. Do I find that my friends and I usually agree on things? Sure. But that’s because we have a lot of shared values and tend to view issues similarly. We’re different people, so eventually we’ll probably disagree on something. And if I’m really out of line, they’re doing me a huge favor by telling me that I am, so that I can correct course.”
“Don’t get me wrong,” I said. “I’m like anyone else. I love it when others support me, when I have friends in my corner. But I want honest support, not blind loyalty. If blind loyalty is the only kind available, I’d rather go it alone.”
“Or reevaluate your position.”
Prioritize Well-Being and Protection Above Staying on Someone Else’s Good Graces
I’ve had an opportunity to think about the issues some more since the piece came out. (I really never stop thinking about loyalty, if I’m being honest. It’s surrounding us, and some of the most intense conflicts are waged due to issues of loyalty.)
Upon further reflection, I think it’s less about whether you’re loyal or not — and more about where you show your loyalty.
Are you loyal to staying on someone’s good graces? This is what you’re doing when you exercise blind loyalty. You prioritize being on good terms above the well-being of others.
Or are you loyal to taking care of them? To protecting them? To advocating for what’s good for them even if they don’t agree with you about what that is? This is what you’re doing when you let a friend know that they have proverbial egg on their face. You prioritize taking care of them and those they might interact with (if they’re about to do something destructive to others).
In spite of what some might think, refusing blind loyalty isn’t about not being loyal. Not at all. Instead, it’s about practicing a different, deeper loyalty. One that prioritizes well-being and protection above staying on someone else’s good graces.
If you’re loyal, make sure you’re loyal in the right place.
Books by Page Turner: