Does Someone Have Your Back?: Loyalty and Why It Matters

We recently experienced a disappointment from a close friend who we thought was better. This disappointment, and an episode of Suits, got us thinking about loyalty. Has it disappeared? Does it really matter? To whom do we entrust our loyalty? These are fundamental questions that we want to answer in this post. This post will not rehash things we discussed in our post on trust, but we will allude to some of those thoughts. Now without further ado, let’s get started.

Loyalty: What Does It Really Entail?

Over the last several years, we have heard of sleazy people who do not get what they deserve because lackeys will not surrender their loyalty to them. Turn on any mainstream political news channel or station, and you will hear at least one instance of these occurrences. But this post does not touch on those instances; it touches on the personal relationships people generally have. This post involves the “ride-or-die” friendship or relationship.

Loyalty has many faces. To Harvey Specter in the USA original TV show, Suits, it involves constant communication. In Season 3, Harvey’s associate, Mike Ross, does not something that diminishes Harvey’s role in the firm, constituting a grave betrayal. In a confrontation, Harvey tells Mike that if anyone or anything threatened him at all, he should have come to Harvey, tell Harvey everything. He openly says “that’s what loyalty is.” And for anyone who has watched Suits knows that Harvey Specter values loyalty above all else, calling it a two-way street.

Harvey Specter’s definition of loyalty is spot on for this post’s message. If we give someone our loyalty, we are expecting it from them. Loyalty, like a healthy relationship, is a two-way street and requires open communication. Loyalty might involve pledging an allegiance to someone or something bigger than one’s self, but we believe that loyalty goes further. It entails an unwavering willingness to cooperate, unconditional trust, and undeniable ability to protect the other person.

Loyalty is more than a buzz word. It is a foundation of lasting “ride-or-die” relationships. And Suits is not the only form of media that touches on this topic. Just watch How I Met Your Mother Season 9, the Fast & Furious franchise, or Harry Potter to see loyalty in action. While each entails some allegiance to something bigger than the individual, it highlights the importance of long-term relationships. But why does it matter?


Why Loyalty Matters

Loyalty matters for two reasons. The first reason involves a person’s true colors. We have friends who will go to bat for us and protect us from injustice in any way possible. In fact, we have a friend who just learned that one of their supposedly good friends backed out of a commitment that existed for more than two years. While this instance involves reliability, the response from the aggrieved friend’s partner epitomizes loyalty. Our friend’s partner did two things: they asked her our friend was and then asked how they can get back at the person who backed out of a two-year commitment. Our friend’s partner’s initial reaction was to protect them from injustice. This reaction shows who they really are.

The second reason why loyalty matters is shows what some people expect from others. Let’s go back to Suits for a moment. Harvey expected Mike to protect against any blindsides that others might try to inflict on him. The threat alone should never have eliminated the protective nature of the relationship. For those who have not seen Suits, that single moment becomes highly relevant in later seasons.

Loyalty matters because it shows who is willing to sacrifice for us and who just talks an empty game. But real loyalty does not involve forced commitment. It involves an unwavering selflessness. That selflessness matters despite it looking like empty favor-building. True loyalty comes without strings attached. We will take the blame or the brunt of a punishment from someone else because we believe that the protected person who do the same thing if we were in their position. That reciprocity shows who will be by our side in the tensest moments.

But we learned that the real loyalty is in limited supply. Why? Why are there so many empty promises of “going down with the ship”?


Why Real Loyalty is Not Widely Prominent

Although there are instances of people taking falls for others while the real people at fault go scot-free, these sacrifices arise from empty promises. The quid pro quo underscores those instances, not real loyalty. The reason why real loyalty is not widely prominent is because most people are selfish. As harsh as it sounds, that comment is true. While others will defend the self-preservation as honoring another, stronger relationship, those defenses are just justifications to assuage personal guilt.

Another reason why real loyalty is not widely prominent is that most people don’t deserve it. This reason differs from self-preservation in that some people are not worth taking a fall for. Whether it is a lack of close relationship or an intrinsic shortcoming, most people do not have the trust required built up enough. That trust is hard to build because most people make excuses for why they act in their own problematic way, highlighting their toxicity.

The final reason for the lack of real loyalty is an uncertainty surrounding any particular relationship. We recently heard that some relationships simply dissolve because people do not constantly bump into others they used to see every day. Whether it is leaving a childhood home or going to a different school or workplace, people prioritize the novel over the old. This prioritization makes it hard to cultivate a relationship that will turn into real loyalty. But this is just another excuse because some people are inherently good and committed people who will go to the ends of the earth for others. That loyalty exists, but it is in limited supply. Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner touch us that.

When real loyalty exists, it makes all the difference. Injustices are more easily manageable. Hard decisions are easier to make. Some relationships are easier to maintain. Why? Because one recognizes the difficulties that the world throws at us, which brings us to some final thoughts.


Final Thoughts

Real loyalty is quite valuable. Probably more valuable than trust. Real loyalty matters because it decreases the hardships people face, shows people’s true colors, and relies on real candid communication. Disappointments do not seem so hard to handle because they are people willing to punish injustice whenever it emerges. Lies do not hurt as much because the true friends will always tell you the truth, no matter how disheartening as it might sound. Finally, commitments are taken at face value because real loyalty emerges from showing up and showing out daily. While it is rare, real loyalty assuages uncertainty in life since the real “ride-or-die” relationships solidifies expectations and builds networks for lasting success.

Does real loyalty exist? Let us know in the comments.

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66 thoughts on “Does Someone Have Your Back?: Loyalty and Why It Matters

  1. This is a great post. Thank you for covering this topic. I recently got burned by a couple of friends who I thought were closer to me than I thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I completed watching Suits last week and Harvey Specter was very big on loyalty.
    Loyalty and trust are connected. But even the best connections can break.
    Trusting that someone will be loyal can be difficult. But also, putting someone in the position to break the trust out of loyalty can be just as hard.
    Great article.
    Check out our latest articles at Best Men’s Health and Lifestyle.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are happy to see another Suits fan, and we totally agree. Thank you, and we hope you enjoyed the post and found it valuable. We will definitely check out your latest articles.

      Like

  3. This was such a pleasant read! I like how you use Harvey as an example. Suits is an amazing show and I believe there are many life lessons that we can learn from it. Thanks for sharing x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, and we definitely agree. Suits is a collection of some of the most important life lessons one can learn. You’re welcome, and we are happy enjoyed the post. We also hope you found it valuable and insightful.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely think loyalty exists but I do think it is a lot harder to find with people and brands. But I do have a very loyal family and loved ones, so I am incredibly luckily. I also like to think I am a loyal friend.

      Lauren

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have always been loyal to a fault. It’s something that’s super important in my family and my dad is the exact same way. Considering I got most of my genes from him (so it seems), it’s unsurprising that it’s a character trait that I find incredibly important. However, I definitely don’t see it in many other people. It’s a bit sad, honestly. I wish it was more encouraged! This is a great post. Thank you for touching on the topic in this way!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I really enjoyed reading this! Loyalty is something that I think is becoming harder and harder to come by these days, which is so sad. I think your line about true loyalty coming with no strings attached is so true, and something I deeply agree with – there shouldn’t be any conditions. Thank you so much for sharing such a thought provoking piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Such an insightful post! Loyalty seems outdated in many facets of life e.g. loyalty to employers is no longer rewarded (in fact it’s often detrimental to your career if you don’t keep moving every few years) neither is loyalty to brands (swapping insurance company every year to get the special offer). When I got ill and became severely disabled I lost a lot of so-called friends over the months that followed. It was crushing on top of an already life changing situation. But now, I spend my very limited energy on 3 friends who I know are loyal and it’s so much better.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Loyalty is an important issue between friends and it is a two-way street. Your post reminded me of some personal issues regarding this topic that I’m facing. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s disappointing to hear, and we appreciate your comment. We agree that most interactions today have a transactional piece to it. Thank you for commenting, and we hope you found the post valuable nonetheless.

      Like

  8. It is so important to have people who will be there for you. I’ve been through betrayal and that’s not fun. Loyalty is not only for love, but for friendship too. The real ones stick through the thick and thin. Thanks for sharing your thoughts over this!

    Nancy ✨ Cold Brew Vibes

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Real loyalty is rare. As you have mentioned, people are selfish. This also includes the ones that you maybe loyal to. This one, for selfish reasons, may push the envelope to see how loyal you are. How far can they push before the loyalty string is broken? Selfishness is also a two way street. Great post

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I fell ill back in 2013 at the age of 14 and I soon learnt about loyalty. I lost the majority of my friends. That being said, I had three friends who defiantly stayed loyal to me and I’ll never be able to thank them enough for that. They are the definition of loyal. It’s very important to know someone’s got you back, no matter the circumstances. Thank you so much for sharing this, I learnt a lot! Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

    Like

  11. I value loyalty, so it must have been very difficult for you to find someone in your circle who wasn’t loyal. I appreciate the aspects of loyalty that you raise in this fab post. Well-written, enjoyable read with lots of takeaways to think about.

    Like

    1. It really was. Thank you, and we are happy you enjoyed the post and hope you found it valuable. Also, don’t forget to check out our newest post when it comes out at the top of the hour today.

      Like

  12. I love how you say that “True loyalty comes without strings attached”. This is so true yet so forgotten in today’s society. I find that the most meaningful relationships in life, whether platonic or romantic, have a solid foundation in loyalty, trust, and honesty. At the end of the day, and regardless of where you are in life, you know that person is still there to support you. Lovely post! x

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I love this post, loyalty is such a underestimated thing when it comes to the strength of your social life. We actually even see it in brand that communicate loyalty. When they don’t uphold that, people get extra angry, because they’ll feel betrayed and that’s such a primal emotion.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Very interesting post! It’s true that loyalty is a two way street and that is so hard to find these days where people are taught thar everything is disposable and therefore walk away quite easily and are non-committal

    Liked by 1 person

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