I am a man of many faults. Though I'd like to think I see most of them myself, I readily accept that there are many others that I don't see that could only too easily be pointed out by even the most casual observer.
One fault I know I have is that I hate to be let down by someone. But really hate it. The dreadful feeling of disappointment when someone or something that I expected or trusted just isn't there for me. It is really quite gutting. I'm big on loyalty, you see. It means a lot to me. For me disloyalty can be forgiven but never forgotten.
But what do I mean by 'loyalty'? That surely is the crux of it. Well, for me loyalty is a matter of respect. It's something that needs to be earned (and sometimes hard won) but can be all to easily spent. Loyalty requires an ability to know when someone needs your unconditional support - being there for them when that time arises. Knowing when to say, "that was good" when you perhaps would give a more qualified answer to another person who had done something similar. That's not to say that loyalty prevents you from being honest, of course. Loyalty, like trust, shouldn't be blind. You would expect a true friend to be honest. But a true friend would also know when to bite there lip and say the right thing. Loyalty means that you stand by someone even if you believe they have done something wrong.
So for me loyalty is right up there with the biggies like 'devotion', 'trust' and 'love'.
So where does my problem lie? Why is this 'loyalty thing' a fault you may ask? Well, life is full of people who you think you can trust but who let you down. It's full of missed appointments, missed opportunities, people not wanting to listen when they know you need to talk, friends talking about you behind your back, not being supportive when you have done something wrong, criticizing you or being rude about you. Why beat yourself up about it? Why take it so personally?
Well, if I judge (I hate that word, but frankly I judge people a lot) that someone is 'a friend' I expect certain things of them. And one of those things is loyalty. And when that loyalty is demonstrably not there I lose a little bit of faith in them and in the adult world. I wish I didn't, but I do. It just supports my deep held theory that on the whole people are arse-holes underneath and can't be trusted.
So maybe I've been lucky so far. Perhaps if I'd met nastier people or been let down by friends more often when I was younger I'd be more used to it by now (at the grand old age of 40). Maybe I've been lucky or skillful and chosen my friends wisely up until this point. Perhaps life really IS full of shitty and mean-spirited people and I just haven't come across many of them. Or maybe I've done nothing to deserve loyalty from anyone anyway. Maybe I deserve what I get. Who knows?
But at the end of the day I'm still left with my view on life. My way of looking at things. And part of that view is to expect loyalty from friends.
And if it's not there I have to reappraise that person as 'my friend'.