On Loyalty and "Social Hierarchy"

Since all of my Facebook friends know precisely what I did over the July 4th weekend, I figured I’d go back to a topic that’s been on my mind lately: friendship.

As I have blogged before, I understand the difference between a friend and an acquaintance. Out of all of the social circles I run with, I can only truly depend on less than a dozen people for emotional and other types of support. The limits of my patience regarding friendship has really been tested lately, and I suppose extreme adversity of late has something to do with that.

I first started thinking about this “hierarchy” in a facetious way with one of my best friends. To put it simply, I am fiercely loyal. If you and I have been good friends for at least a year, and another person that I don’t know as well or is just an acquaintance does anything demeaning or awful to that person, I’m no longer their friend either online or offline. Period. No questions asked. This includes breakups romantically and otherwise. I defriend them on Facebook, and I no longer speak to them unless spoken to.

The only time I don’t do this is if they are two friends that are on relatively “equal” standing. That is, I’ve known both of them for a really long time, and I care about both of them on nearly the same level. In that case, I do my best to mediate the situation. If that isn’t possible, I try to remain friends with both parties and never bring up the topic unless they do so first.

There are a couple of problems with this. The main problem is that I care about a lot of people, and I’ve come to realize that these people don’t care about me as much as I care about them. That has been extraordinarily difficult to take, but I’m learning slowly. This leads to my next problem: that I expect this same kind of loyalty from all of my friends, and I don’t always get that. However, everyone’s loyalties work differently than mine. All of you know I have a lot of friends and acquaintances, so I can spare losing a few here or there. It just seems that lately I’ve lost quite a few friends and, honestly, it has been nothing short of devastating.

On a brighter note, when it’s time to let loose or have a little fun I’m much more flexible. Usually, it’s “first come first served.” If several friends ask me out on the same day, 99% of the time I go with whoever asks me first. I only make exceptions for special occasions like birthdays or showers. Those usually trump requests that may come before it.

It seems so simple, really. I wish more folks dealt with relationships this way, but I guess most people don’t float with as many groups as I do. I hope this clears things up!


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