The way things are

Who's got your back?

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I’ve been thinking a lot about loyalty lately.

Not just the last few days or weeks or so, but for a few years now it’s been a consistent topic on my consciousness.

I’m what I’ve noticed is a bit atypical on this topic. Now, I understand that there’s a reason that the “survival of the fittest” theory exists (thank you, Charles Darwin). After all, there is some logic in play there. But, at the same time, there’s gotta be a line where you still feel a loyalty to your friends and loved ones, and act on it.

Doesn’t there?

For me, I think it’s pretty logical… If someone does something detrimental or negative to a friend of loved one of mine, I think ill of that and also think ill of the person who engaged in that behavior. And I take that approach regardless of whether the person committing the infraction, so to speak, is a friend of mine or someone close to me.

After all, wrong is wrong. Just because I’m close to someone and we have a relationship of whatever sort, that doesn’t magically make the behavior acceptable.

And OF COURSE, the same concept applies to me. Logically, I’d expect my friends and loved ones to hold me to the same standards. I’m no different so…

Now, of course there are lines and limits here. Naturally, the degree that I look negatively on a detrimental action and the person who commits it differs based on what it is and how legitimately bad it is. There’s a difference between bumping into someone and not saying “excuse me” and simply not showing up for a close friend’s birthday without a word… Between forgetting to call someone back and constantly bad mouthing someone behind his back with facetious comments… Between being a few minutes late to pick someone up, and treating a former boyfriend or girlfriend like crap.

You get the idea…

To me, this is all just very logical. It’s how I’m wired.

I’ve noticed, however, that this is something of an atypical viewpoint to hold. Much of the time, even in respect to behaviors and perpetrators that people ought to take issue with, that’s just not how it rolls. Friends of mine have experienced this when they’ve been on the short end of the stick in those situations, as at times I certainly have as well.

Unfortunately, most of us have been in this circumstance…

To me though, this really just doesn’t make sense. I mean, if someone does something that hurts a person you care about — more than something that’s a small, ticky tack kind of thing — doesn’t logic suggest that you should be aggravated with that person and take issue with them? Since you do, in fact, care about the victim? Otherwise, doesn’t it send a message to the offender that what they did is OK and it’s all right to continue behaving that way?

Strangely, my experiences and observations over the last several years have taught me that I’m clearly in the minority with that perspective.

So, am I wrong?…

I mean, I do understand the other side of it. Many people, while they will agree that the behavior was wrong, simply want to keep their noses clean and don’t want to interject themselves into the circumstance, and therefore stay out of it and don’t make waves, and will continue to be nice to the person who screwed with their friend or loved one. They don’t want to get involved in something that’s not directly their business or that they’re not truly a part of. And to a certain extent, that’s a perfectly valid viewpoint, and I get that.

But what about the person you care about who you didn’t step up for? How will they view it when you stay out of it? Even if they aren’t pleased with you, they’ll surely get past it and not make a long-term issue out of it, even if it happens a few times. After all, we’ve all got some of that “survival of the fittest” instinct in us.

What happens though, when it’s you who wants loyalty from your friends?

Hmmmm… Maybe Darwin screwed us all a bit with that one after all.

“An ounce of loyalty is worth more than a pound of cleverness.”– Elbert Green Hubbard

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