Once upon a time… That is how loyalty is becoming now – fictional. Do you believe in this? Read on…
We all have these storytelling sessions for our children and we ourselves have had with our grandparents during childhood. Right? Yes, most of us will have these stories in our memories about friendship, love, loyalty, and relationships.
As children, loyalty had special definitions. We would share the deepest secrets with our best friends and be so sure they would not be exposed. None of them would tell out these secrets. If loyalty were to be given a colour, then I would describe it as black and white. There are no grey areas in it. There is no half loyalty. And as children, loyalty mattered a lot to us. We stood by each other no matter what. Never gave away secrets.
This remains till date for all childhood friends even after entering adulthood. We all share such bonhomie that even at 40, they still check in to see if someone’s messing around with us or if our secrets were being given out. Until we reached our teens, this loyalty was still there among friends.
After entering adult aka work life and social networking friendships, while making new friends, I realized this loyalty was missing among them. Loyalty got diluted with ego. If one stopped talking to you, there was no conversation for days together until I initiated the conversation or chose to do the icebreaker myself. It became easy for misunderstandings to brew and before you even realize it, the “friend” would have cross-talked about you to another friend. But yes, I did manage to get lifelong friends with my colleagues too. Having worked across the country, I can vouch for amazing, loyal friends to cherish for life.
Loyalty is sticking by our loved ones through highs and lows. No matter what the situation is; happy or sad, we stand by them and support them unconditionally. This means accepting them for what and how they are.
Every relationship in life has different shades of loyalty. For instance, friendship demands we stay by our buddies and defend them against all odds and be with them in all adverse situations. It doesn’t mean that we can’t be with them when they are happy. Sharing all kinds of moments with them is a part of the loyalty code as well.
Apart from human loyalty, we have brand loyalty too. Those who are brand conscious stick to the same brand just like “till death do us apart”. I know you must try hard not to smirk reading this but you will anyway! We are all loyal to some product or the other. And some aren’t brand loyal too. If a better product comes in, won’t we switch? The context here is human loyalty though. Are we all loyal? to others? to ourselves? The answer is everywhere. Look around and the proof is crumbling relationships. The root cause of most crumbling relationships (family/friendships/marriages) today is the lack of loyalty and honesty. Both these go hand-in-hand.
So, can we build loyalty? Is it measurable? The first answer is yes, we can. The second answer is that we cannot measure it. It is completely subjective. Subjectivity means it differs with every individual. One cannot generalise it to everyone. But loyalty is something that can be built over some time through growing bonds in any relationship.
How can we build loyalty then? I know most childhood gangs have loyalty or a “bro” code.
These codes have the following basic tenets –
1. One friend mustn’t talk behind the other’s back. 2. Honesty and transparency are extremely important. 3. Clear communication. Avoid shadow boxing (indirect statements/confrontations or avoiding important topics) 4. No unhealthy competition among friends. 5. Be as real and honest as friends – be your purest self! 6. It is okay to be a critic. 7. Accept your friend’s ties unconditionally unless you see that they are harming your friend. 8. Play the DJ not only at the party but after party too. Hanging out with friends after the party to make sure they are fine. Help clear all mess! 9. Giving space to your friends and letting them be themselves when they want to be left alone. 10. Empathy is important. 11. Be a listener instead of doling out advice. Sometimes all they need is a good ear and a shoulder to lean on. 12. Taking a back seat is good at times – Quit being a hero and let your friend take the limelight. 13. Lastly, the most important code of friendship is to keep secrets safe and intact with you – no matter what.
A true friend will never let you down even if the world is out there to pull you down! So, make friends carefully. The above-mentioned codes aren’t meant to be written in stone. They are good to strengthen your friendship and all bonds. But these can change with time. A friendship that began in childhood may change flavours as you grow older. Be prepared for those changes. Loyalty codes can change as well but do not change yourself! It is important to be yourself while being there for your friends without changing your true self. And that is the key to being loyal to your friends!!
Hence, do not despair if you find loyalty codes changing. People may change but bonds and emotions won’t! So, relax and be calm as you observe friends “changing”. These changes may be just temporary and they may just be going through some transitions or milestones.
I love to believe in this – “Friendship and loyalty are like good ol’ wine. They mature as years go by!”
Follow Priya Rajendran