Loyalty: Choosing Between Competing Allegiances
Loyalty is a funny thing. I always kind of thought loyalty was a cut and dry concept; either you are loyal or you are not. Of course everything is situational and I think in certain instances it is ok to break an established sense of loyalty. It's always a tough judgement call taking a step back to weigh the consequences knowing someone or something will ultimately be effected for the worse by your decision.
Recently, I was placed in a situation that forced me to establish my loyalty in regards to an agreement made out of necessity. Long story short, my roommate and I agreed to room with one of our five current suite mates but had to withdraw our agreement after a series of events that lead us to believe we had a potential better option. Based on lack of communication, from all parties involved, it came down to a decision from my roommate and myself to settle our rooming situation next year.
When the ball was left in our court we laid all the facts on the table eventually determining that our second option was the most financially pleasing and would make us happiest. The conflict continued as that required us to sacrifice our principles and values in regards to having already made an agreement. My roommate continued to seek options that would please everyone while I was much more determined to sacrifice the principle of the agreement for my own happiness. (Call me selfish, but I have been that person to sacrifice my absolute happiness one too many times to waste a full year of tuition in a situation I knew I wouldn't be pleased with. Also, withholding the fact that we preferred the second option would elicit a dishonest behavior that I wanted to dispel.) So, after calling outside sources - our parents - I agreed to break the news, with a heavy heart, that we would have to abandon the initial agreement and go with another option.
Despite the emotional decision and risk of losing a friend, the situation resolved itself as best it could. She understood and decided it was for the best. Not to mention, she appreciated the honest apology.
I think what made this so tough is that we truly care about her. Also, having been that friend that gets sort of screwed over made the situation that much harder from my perspective. Setting certain values and principles aside was a dagger knowing how it would effect her. Having to define my loyalties really tested my ability to be truthful, but I am happy that the truth surfaced instead of a false sense of complacency that could have ultimately been the downfall of a really good friendship.