Have you ever had a friend question your loyalty, question your friendship simply because they didn’t feel wholeheartedly accepted by you? I recently had a friend put me in this very position, after I had tried for months to be there for them and be as supportive as possible, no matter what the situation. But we came to a moment in time where my loyalty was put under a very powerful microscope and questioned from every single angle.
I’ve always been someone that prides themselves on being an open individual, being non-judgmental, and accepting people at their face value rather than listening to gossip or opinions of other people. My best friend has even supported this, often telling people that I have a knack for making friends with people that would be rude or snippy to me. I have a very magnetic personality, and I feel very strongly it is because I have such an open spirit to most people that I meet.
Granted, this does not make me perfect. I have questioned friendships. I have questioned relationships where I saw red flags pop up. There are few people that know my full history, and I try to keep that number easily countable on my fingers. And this has come back to bite me before, with people telling me that I judged too easily or I wasn’t open enough with them. But I have to disagree.
A little over a year ago, I had a friend tell me that they had entered into the sex industry. Now, a little backstory for me. I was raised in a very conservative and religious family, but as a child, I had been molested which continued to play a role well into my adult life. And in my past, in moments of desperation, I had traded my body for financial gain. So, when my friend opened up to me, even though the work they were doing was completely legal, for a few moments I was worried. A million questions went through my head.
Were they in dire financial straits that could be addressed another way BESIDES through the sex industry?
Was this a choice they were making that may negatively impact them or their family in the future?
Was this a choice that may negatively impact me or my family in the future?
If they got into trouble, would my skill set be enough to help them?
And for at least an hour that night, I closed myself off from my friend while I evaluated my own spirit and character, essentially my own loyalty to my friend. But after my mini-evaluation, I decided that it was in both of our best interest to stay, no matter what the circumstances or future would bring. I spoke with my friend, shared my concerns, a few tears, and a very heartfelt hug goodbye at the end of the night, and that was it.
We have stayed good friends, and I have supported them in every transition, in every change, and I could not be happier about it. Recently, we were having a discussion about that pivotal moment in our friendship, and I shared with them how insecure I had been during that initial conversation and a bit about my inner conversation and how for a moment I had even questioned whether we could stay friends through such a big change in their life. Now, my friend has told me that I wasn’t so eloquent during that conversation and I wounded them greatly with the words that I had chosen. They felt betrayed that I had even questioned our friendship for any amount of time. And since time travel is still only a work of fiction, there’s no way that I’m able to go back to that conversation and pay attention to my chosen words.
Now here are a few questions I shall pose to you, my dear audience.
Is loyalty something that should be given freely, no matter the circumstances? Is it possible that by working through my own insecurities, my own misconceptions and stigmas, and bringing them to my friend, I helped created a stronger bond, a deeper loyalty between us, in the long run?
Personally, I like to think that I came out a better person from having my friend share their life with me. By being forced to confront my own stigmas about an industry that is characterized in our society as negative, I learned something about myself, and the value in still loving people and accepting them no matter what. And that can never have a price tag attached to it.
Photo by Aleksandra Mazur via Unsplash