The Importance of Loyalty

Expert Author Susan Leigh
Being loyal is a characteristic that many of us value highly in others. I wonder how many of us are less than loyal in return. How much do we take pride in our own loyalty to others?
- Brand loyalty. Many of us are loyal to a particular shop, supplier, or service provider. We have built up a relationship of trust over the years and feel confident that they provide what we want and need. Children often insist on a particular brand of baked beans or make of cola drink. Logos and makes of clothes often make the difference between being cool and uncool, so loyalty can become associated with fitting in. As we get older brands can become a guarantee of quality and reliability. But the supplier has to be loyal too. If they keep putting up their prices or altering their terms of service customers can feel their loyalty being tested and they may start to vote with their feet and shop elsewhere.
- Keeping secrets. Loyalty can be tested when it comes to keeping secrets. It is not up to us to decide whether or not to pass on someone else's confidences. We may be tempted to discuss the rights and wrongs of their situation or behaviour and knowing something that others don't can be very seductive to reveal. But being a good and loyal friend and ally means at times keeping their business to ourselves and letting them decide if they want to reveal it.
- Keeping arrangements. I'm sure many of us have had friends who have cancelled on the last-minute. Something unavoidable has come up and they can't keep the arrangement. It is disappointing, especially if we later discover that they went instead to a party or had a special night out. Loyalty means making an arrangement and keeping it, not hedging bets to see if a better offer comes along.
- Keeping our integrity. If we have an opinion, a point of view that others find difficult to appreciate it may be tempting to modify it in order to fit in. However, this can be a valuable opportunity to remain loyal to our opinion whilst learning about different outlooks and views. Calmly explaining our reasons for feeling and thinking that way can be useful for everyone involved. It can be enlightening to share viewpoints and discuss them in a respectful way.
- Standing by our friend. If a friend is going through a bad time, is perhaps accused of something, but protests their innocence a loyal friend will stand by them, supporting them. Supporters groups feature in the press from time to time, collecting petitions, raising funds, standing by their man. They display the true definition of loyalty. However, even if our friend has done wrong we can still be supportive and loyal if we feel that we can trust their reasons for their mistake. Loyalty and trust often go together.
- Breakup situations. If a friend is left by their partner it is often a difficult time. As a consequence they may become stressed and offhand with us. They may shut off emotionally as they come to terms with the situation. Being a good loyal friend means understanding and simply being there for them when they need us. Breakups can cause friends to become divided in their loyalties. It can be tough and sometimes impossible to stay friends with both parties in these situations. Being caring, sensitive, discrete and supportive is what is needed at these times.
- Standing by our employer. Work situations are often areas where people forget that they are an overhead on the business. We all have to earn enough money to pay our wages and more. Money has to change hands in order for us to be paid. Appreciating that our boss has to manage the budgets and ensure that the business runs smoothly can result in us becoming more loyal and understanding of the situation.
Loyalty is an important part of our commitment to each other. It oils the wheels of daily life and enables us to respect those close to us and trust that we will treat each other with regard.

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