Annie Fox's Blog...

Thoughts about teens, tweens, parenting and this adventure of living on Earth in the 21st century.

Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Loyalty Oath

July 14, 2010

When I ask t(w)eens what makes a real friend vs. the Other Kind, the word “loyal” usually tops the list, along with respectful, trustworthy and fun to be with. When I ask how a friend shows loyalty I usually hear stuff like:

“They are there for you even if other people ditch you.”

“They’d never flirt with your crush or go out with your ex!”

“They don’t talk about you behind your back.”

“They always have your back.”

“They stick up for you even when you’re not around.”

After reading today’s Zits, I wonder if loyalty also requires you to hate the people your friends hate. And if you don’t hate your  friends’ enemies or demonstrate a “sufficient level of distain,” by teasing, bullying and otherwise harassing said “enemy”, does that make you a bad friend? Put you at risk for landing on your friend’s Enemies List?


Hmmm. Sounds like this might be a conversation worth having with your friends (or with your kids.). Your thoughts?



  1. I do think that a lot of people would say that “loyalty” means that your friends – and enemies – are my friends and enemies. But I’ve come to think that true friends respect boundaries. If I feel someone injured me in some way, I wouldn’t expect my friends to stop dealing with that person. I would hope they would tread carefully, now that they’ve seen how that person operates more closely. But I also recognize that they might have their own reasons to keep interacting with him or her. I should add that a few years ago, someone did a hurtful thing to me, for reasons I didn’t understand. When I told friends and they responded by saying nasty things about him, hoping that would make me feel better, I asked them to stop. I didn’t want them to take my side. I was just hurt, not angry, so why should they be angry, or engage in any kind of negative emotions, on my behalf? Interestingly, my asking them to stop did help keep me from being angry, feeling sorry for myself, or otherwise staying stuck in unpleasant emotions. I recovered faster because I *didn’t* ask for this kind of loyalty.

    Comment by Rachel Simon — July 14, 2010 @ 5:41 pm

  2. This sort of blind loyalty is something that I saw a lot in middle school. If two people had a fight then their friends would have to choose sides. The ones that didn’t weren’t “real” friends. The word poser would be thrown around a lot. But then in high school, people didn’t usually ask for the blind loyalty, but they would put the mutual friend in an awkward position. The two that had a fight would talk bad about the other to that mutual friend, usually starting with, “I know you’re with friends with her and everything, but….” I don’t think that’s any better. I think that if two people have a fight, then that’s the problem of those two. They shouldn’t bring other people into it, especially if they know that they are mutual friends.

    Comment by Gema — July 15, 2010 @ 11:55 am

  3. I’m in my forties, and have learned along the way that some people I love dearly think very differently from me. If we focus on our differences, we are probably too far apart to be friends, but if we agree to disagree, we can overlook our differences. (Ironically, usually they’re really fundamental political differences–seemingly insurmountable if we focus on them. Yet we have to co-exist.)

    Comment by Lucy — July 16, 2010 @ 10:59 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment


Find Annie Fox: Find Annie on Facebook Find Annie on Twitter Find Annie on Pinterest Find Annie on YouTube Find Annie on Google+ Find Annie on LinkedIn Find Annie on Goodreads Find Annie on Quora