In relationships, careers, loyalty is always going to be something brought up. It is very important but just like anything it can be used for bad, and often times it’s a reason to swallow whatever conflict you’re dealing with and stick it out.

Loyalty and trust should go hand and hand and should go both ways. It isn’t always a 50/50 split but it should not go just one way. The problem is both of those words can be used as a way to keep sticking through a bad situation. ‘Trust us.’ ‘We’re about loyalty and family.’ but it just doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t matter what type of relationship you have that doesn’t qualify it for extra leeway in a bad situation.

I remember being told as a kid that ‘Friends are temporary but family is forever.’ as a reason why I couldn’t see my friends when a family event was going on. However, ‘You can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family.’ is one that always stood truer to me. Just because I’m blood related to someone doesn’t mean they can’t do me wrong, that they should get special treatment for slip ups. In fact I’ve often revolted to that blind loyalty to family because it has been something that has been taken advantage of.

The work place can be the place that they misuse of loyalty can be most egregious. You should work hard and do your best but, again, it shouldn’t be one sided. If you work at a smaller place you’ve probably heard the same speech about how it’s more a family and is extremely loyal because you aren’t just a faceless employee in this company. However, that can also very much overlap with ‘your loyalty’ being used against you.

You have to keep your loyalty and trust as you work through frustrations, and not every situation is going to be perfect, but what about when it’s your turn to have it reciprocated? You’ve worked hard, busted your butt and been a quality employee so it should be returned when you go in looking for a promotion or pay raise. However, that seems like the time you’ll hear about loyalty a lot, that you need to keep yours and understand the short comings of the situation.

As a Millennial one of the criticisms for that generation is the lack of loyalty. We are the most mobile group, we as questions and want to understand what we’re getting involved in. How is that a bad thing? In a lot of industries the way you get a raise is by moving somewhere else. Who doesn’t want more money? Who doesn’t want to be appreciated for the work that they do? And I don’t mean a participation trophy or the need to just be applauded, in fact it has more to do with an old school belief. If you work hard, exceed expectations the other end of that trust is that you should be rewarded for such.

As someone who keeps a very small inner circle, loyalty and trust are very important to me. I’ve been burned enough times that I don’t expand the circle too much. Loyalty and trust have been proven time and time again and it takes quite some time to get to that level. I think everyone thinks that way…except when they need the benefit of the doubt.

Last week I wrote about the importance of words, focusing on ones like love and hate. However, trust and loyalty are big pillars in everyone’s life and they should be very powerful words. Words are given power by actions and knowledge is gained by asking questions. Not everyone situation is perfect, and much of life is about how you dust yourself off, but don’t let blind loyalty and trust be the reason you stick out a knowingly bad situation.