How to Be Loyal

Two Parts:Being Loyal to FriendsBeing Loyal to a Significant Other

We live in a world where selfishness seems to be the rule of the day, and personal gain the objective of most relationships and endeavors. One of the most honorable character traits a person can develop is the ability to be loyal. Loyalty is the ability to put others before yourself, to stick with them through thick and thin, and to look out for them. Whether you're struggling to be loyal to someone who's special to you or curious about what exactly it means, read on to find out.

Part 1
Being Loyal to Friends

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    Be supportive, for no other reason than friendship. You're friends with the person for a reason, so remember that. Part of being friends means that you support the other person, not because you think you'll get something back, but because you like seeing the other person happy.
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    Don't talk behind their back. If you have a problem with one of your friends, don't back-stab them by starting a vicious rumor and watch it spread like a virus. If you're going through a rough patch with one of your friends, learn to talk it out, communicate, share your feelings. Your friend will appreciate your honesty and your desire to keep the friendship strong. If they ever need to, they'll come to you with a problem instead of talking behind your back.
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    Give your friend your honest opinion. If your friend has doubts about something, like whether he should go out with a girl, or whether she should take a certain job, give them your honest opinion. Don't just parrot what you think they want you to say; that makes you spineless, not loyal. Give your opinion and back it up with reasons to make it more persuasive. Your friend wants honest advice, remember?
    • At the same time, be careful about being totally honest with difficult subjects. Telling your friend they need to seek help because of an addiction is almost always a good thing; telling your friend they probably shouldn't have that ice cream cone because they're overweight probably isn't. Pick your battles wisely.
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    Don't test your friends' loyalty — it will backfire. Don't set up elaborate games that will test your friends' loyalty. Why not? Because they'll probably find out — or they already have. And when they do, the fact that you don't trust them will really bother them, and they'll start giving you real reasons not to trust them. People live up to the expectations that others set for them. Sad but true.
    • Trust your friends until they give you a reason not to. If that happens, try to fix what's broken. If you can't, slowly distance yourself from the friend. If they try to keep the friendship alive, they probably think the friendship is really worthwhile. If they don't, they probably didn't think it was worth saving.
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    Take time to look at the needs of your friends. Be generous with your time and resources. Fortune shines brightly on those who give out of love and respect. What might you give to your friends that they need?
    • Someone to talk to — especially in trying times
    • Someone to listen
    • Someone to help out — a special project, an important date, a set of extra hands
    • Someone to smile, hug, or cry with
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    Balance your loyalties with one another. Often, you'll find yourself in a really tight spot, because being loyal to one friend means being disloyal to another. If you can, explain to both friends where your coming from and try to act as a kind of judge (except don't issue a ruling, just point out facts). Don't pick sides. Be fair.
    • Know that you can't always win the respect of both parties, and someone may get hurt. The person who holds your thoughtful opinion against you probably wasn't a great friend to begin with.
    • Sometimes your loyalty to one friend clashes with a member of your family, or even an idea or belief. If you are religious, you might find guidance there. In the Judeo-Christian religion, the order of loyalty may be summed up as "God, Family, and Country", putting loyalty to God first, then family, and finally, country. At the end of the day, though, do what you feel strongly in your heart. If your heart compels you to be loyal to a friend over loyal to your country, it's not really something you can help.
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    Balance your loyalties with the day-to-day needs of your own life and your family. Being loyal to a volunteer group or social organization at the expense of taking time for your family may result in feelings of loss or suffering in your personal relationships. Loyalty is a feeling, not an idea; if it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.
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    Practice random acts of loyalty. Even if it's to people you don't know. Pick up the wallet of the person who dropped it on the street as they were getting into a taxi. Let the mother with a baby cut in front of you in the grocery store. Report a crime when you see one. The world is constantly asking for our loyalty. Paying attention to the numerous, small cases when it asks for our help will open our eyes to just how wonderful the benefits of loyalty can be.

Part 2
Being Loyal to a Significant Other

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    Start off with total honesty. It may pain you to hear it, but you gotta start off by telling the truth, the whole, complete truth. Because loyalty is about trust, and if the other person learns you weren't completely honest, that trust is shattered. Living with a lie means closing yourself off; in a relationship, you want to open yourself up.
    • Tell your significant other about times you have cheated. Ask for their forgiveness. If they give it to you, work your hardest to reward them for their loyalty.
    • Tell your significant other about all the big lies you told. The white lies probably don't need to be told, because most of time the other person really doesn't want to hear them. But the big lies are important, because they affect relationships like icebergs sink ships.
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    Don't put yourself in situations where your loyalty could slip. We all know the situations. Maybe your girlfriend is going to be out of town and a friend you've been a little too close to and a little to flirty with invites you to a party. If you're wearing your thinking cap, you'll politely decline, because you know it spells trouble. Be smart about your limitations, not willfully ignorant of them.
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    Start off by showing loyalty in little ways. If you've done something to lose the trust of your lover, and you want to earn it back, well you're going to have to move slowly. Not all will be won back in a day. Here are several small things that can help prove your loyalty:
    • Write the other person an honest letter (it shows vulnerability)
    • Spend time together doing something the other person loves (bonus points if you get over your ego and try your best to have fun)
    • Make an effort to get along with their parents (or your in-laws)
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    Demonstrate loyalty by not making the same mistake twice. If you cheated on your girlfriend, for example, you probably only have one more shot to make it up to her. There's no messing up again and going back to her with your tail between your legs. It's generally okay to make a mistake, but learn from it. If you make the same mistake twice, you're showing your significant other that you haven't learned your lesson — and that perhaps you never will.
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    If you need a little help being loyal, consider the benefits. The benefits of loyalty are almost entirely emotional, but they're strong. What do you get from being loyal? Simply put, you get loyalty back from someone else. Your loyalty inspires their loyalty, which inspires yours, and so on in a virtuous circle. The emotional reward from all this is a feeling of trust, security, affirmation, happiness, and satisfaction. If you need convincing that these feelings are valuable, look at someone who doesn't have them.
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    If you need a lot of help being loyal, reconsider. If the thought of being loyal to someone else is so repulsive or hard that you don't trust yourself, that's a huge clue that you're with the wrong person. The right person will make you want to be loyal so that you can expect the same loyalty from them.
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    Trust in your ability to be loyal. Anyone can be loyal, especially if you care for someone deeply. Don't question your ability to be loyal; question why your loyalty was broken in the first place. Don't underestimate the value of believing in yourself, of positive reinforcement. A lot of people who achieve great things do so because they believe in themselves.


  • Make sure you're being loyal to a true friend.
  • Keep a realistic view of your loyalty, and the costs associated with it.


  • Be aware that it is not unusual to be rewarded for loyalty and dedication with demands for more and more of your time and energy.

Article Info

Categories: Maintaining Relationships