The very best of friends are…
None of us really had a say in whether or not our parents fell in love or how many siblings they ended up giving us. As a result, some of us get stuck with one or two really annoying siblings that we have to deal with for the remainder of our natural lives. It doesn’t require much mental effort to imagine how difficult it must be to live with an irritating sibling absent the power to permanently distance yourself from his or her antics. While it can be an unfortunate reality that none of us get to choose our biological families, we each have total and utter control over who we allow into our inner circle of friends. To some, the idea of carefully selecting your group of close friends may seem a little cocky but if you live long enough, experience will teach you that it is something you must absolutely do. Truth be told… If you allow too many negative people into your life, they’ll eventually harm or destroy you in some way or another. The world is already difficult enough so please take the time to carefully select the highest quality friends that you can find as they will continue to help you grow and prosper throughout your life’s journey.
Assuming you agree that selecting high quality friends is of paramount importance to one’s success and fulfilment in life, you might also be wondering what the most valuable quality in a friend is. In truth, the answer to that question varies from person to person. For some, the quintessential quality of a good friend is generosity… for others, it may be good business connections… and for others still, it may be good humor. All of the above are desirable qualities but is there perhaps one desirable quality in a friend that supercedes all others?
Having had the good fortune to live on three different continents and be exposed to multiple cultures as a result, one particular quality stands out as perhaps the most admirable in a friend. That quality is loyalty. I think most of us will agree that loyalty from friends, spouses, and business partners is proving harder and harder to come by in our modern times. Perhaps our “instant everything” culture has fostered an environment in which an aversion to commitment or loyalty to anything outside oneself is the accepted norm. While these new societal norms have perhaps made loyalty more rare, the truth is that loyalty has always been a rare character quality.
Loyalty is a rare quality to find simply because it is a very difficult quality to possess and/or exhibit. It is easy to be good friends with a person who keeps inviting you to amazing parties every weekend and makes enough money to regularly buy you gifts. It isn’t so easy to remain a good friend to that same person when they fall on tough times and perhaps lose their job. How many wives or husbands can stay with a spouse through a fight with cancer? How many of us can try to help an otherwise industrious person who is currently broke because their job was recently made redundant? How many of us can support another person when they are dealing with a loved one who has developed a mental illness? The answer to all those questions is: “Very few of us can”. It is important to note that falling outside the category of people who can be as selflessly loyal as described in the scenarios above doesn’t make you a bad person. Rather, the relatively high percentage of otherwise good people who cannot be consistently loyal merely serves to highlight the value and rarity of those among us who can.
Experience teaches us that loyalty is usually a startlingly good indicator of someone’s character. Let’s dissect that last statement to see if we can agree on it as truth. It is highly unlikely that a truly loyal friend will talk bad about you when you aren’t there, or try to sabotage your latest piece of work out of jealousy; it isn’t out of the realm of possibility however that a good humored friend might do those deplorable things if there is something significant enough to gain. A loyal friend will be there for you when times are rough, and will actually in all likelihood help you out of your slump whereas a socially well connected friend may or may not.
“Dictionary.com defines loyalty as the sentiment and the feeling of devotion that one holds for an entity or a person such as one’s country, creed, family, friends, etc.”.
In conclusion dear friends, if you are ever fortunate enough to meet a rare loyal gem of a human being, hold them close and love them dearly because the very best of friends are loyal. Go out of your way to show them your appreciation because you can bet that a truly loyal friend will be there for you when no one else wants to touch you with a ten foot pole. They are a truly special breed that you will be eternally thankful to have found. If you already have a few loyal ones in your circle of friends, you should count yourself truly lucky and make sure you are there for them when they need you because loyalty is a two way street. Your loyal friend(s) won’t hang around for very long if you don’t show them any loyalty in return. On the other side of the same coin, it doesn’t make sense to be loyal to folks who aren’t loyal to you (even though there will be people who will try to convince you otherwise). From all of us here at chubaoyolu.org, take care of yourselves and each other.
Oyolu B.C. Ph.D.
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