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The Craft of Friendship: The Power of Loyalty

I want to talk about a deeper concept of friendship today and I want to talk a little about my best friend Josh. We have been best friends for ten years now and he was the first guy I got really close to after studying Nathan the summer before college.

Everyone at university knew who Josh was. He was the white kid who wore FUBU all the time. I used to see him around school and think ?What the hell is that guy doing here?? Ironically, this was during my candy kid phase, which I?d rather not discuss in too much detail. Let?s just say I wore a lot of neon and every shirt I owned was either blacklight reflective or glowed in the dark.

My second semester I was at a rave and I ran into Josh. The first words out of my mouth where, ?What the hell are you doing here?? I will try to dance around the many other embarrassing parts of that night, as it?s pretty much his favorite

story to tell to girls about me. We started hanging out after that night and we lived together for the next two years. In our relationship there have been ups and downs. I once tried to replace Josh with another best friend, a guy Josh said he didn?t trust. Turns out Josh was right. And when I came crawling back, he was right there for me. We got tattoos in the same place on the same day shortly after my 20th birthday. He absolutely hates this story because people always think we have matching tattoos. It?s true they are both Japanese characters, but they aren?t the same. And he got his tattoo first. I?ll admit that now.

His tattoo says truth, and that will be next weeks topic, but my tattoo says faithful or loyal. My tattoo is a combination of two Japanese characters. The top character is a rectangle with a line going through the middle that means within. The bottom half is four lines that look like waves. Those four waves represent the four chambers of your heart. So the character reads – within your heart.

I see Josh every two years or so. And when I visit him it?s only for a few days at a time. Most people would say that we are barely friends. But sometimes friendship is about more than just time spent together. Josh saved my life several times during college. Let?s just say I made some bad decisions and when it hit the fan, he was standing right beside me.

And he?s still there today. If Josh called me and said he was in trouble, I would be on a plane within 5 minutes. From anywhere in the world. It doesn?t matter what he needs from me, he is my brother from the womb to the tomb. Josh is my friend. It is something that simply is And it always will be.

It?s our loyalty that binds us together. When one of us meets a new girl, loses a job, goes through family trouble, has success we call each other. We both have blackberries so we can instant message each other twenty four hours a day from around the world. I haven?t seen his face in three years. But we talk every month.

It?s loyalty that binds us. When I make it big, you better believe he?s gonna be number one in my entourage. It?s a given. It?s funny the different things people remember, but there are two things that he has said that really stick with me. When we were young and stupid and making a lot of dumb decisions he once told me that if one of us had to go to jail, it would be him. But I better have money and a job waiting for him when he got out. That?s a real friend.

When I was in love with a girl who was ripping my heart out he told me that I wasn?t allowed to get married until I slept with as many women as him. At the time I thought he was being a complete dick. I will catch up with him by next Christmas, but you know what? He was completely right. I was so inexperienced in matters of the heart, that I fell for the wrong girl.

So how can you become loyal?

Different guys measure loyalty in different ways. It?s time to think about how you measure loyalty and what you think it means to be a man. I haven?t been in a fight in nearly a decade. I find the thought of fighting another guy extremely boring. I have studied martial arts for the majority of my life and that?s how I get out my aggression. If a guy starts in on me in a bar, I just don?t care. But if you hit one of my friends, it?s the end of days.

That?s loyalty. I once had a friend who told me that if I got hit in a bar, he wouldn?t jump in. I stopped trusting him at the end of that sentence. A friend is a guy who stays up with you during a long drive when it?s your turn to drive. A friend is a guy who will pick you up from a bar at three in the morning when you don?t wanna drive drunk.

Loyalty is about sticking to your buddies no matter what. We live in a society that is all about the self. Crush your friends to succeed! I?ll tell you what. When you are sick or old, success isn?t going to hug you and tell you that it?s going to be ok.

I want you guys to start thinking of how you can watch your friend?s backs. I?ll tell you something else that I learned from my two great friends and mentors Jamie Smart and Johnny Tea Bag. These guys taught me the real meaning of bros before hoes. So many guys say that but don?t mean it. If I walk by while either of these guys is talking to a beautiful woman, they will introduce me as their amazing friend and talk about how awesome I am. And then they just walk away. It?s like the girl doesn?t even exist anymore. They don?t? care about who gets the girl, they just want it to be someone on our team.

A final thought.

I have a friend who did three years in jail. Only one person wrote to him in jail. Only one person visited him. All of his friends abandoned him. Who wants to associate with a guy on the inside. I was that friend. I was living in Japan and I wrote him letters. I didn?t know if he would actually get them, but I knew that living vicariously through me might help him get through the night.
When he got out I bought him a new computer and a bunch of web design tools, so that he could start working on his dreams. Now this article is not about how I am the best friend on earth. I mess up a lot. But when it counts, and even when it hurts, I try to be there for my friends. You should strive for the same thing.

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About Paladin Paladin (Jonathan Green) is a professional social dynamics and dating coach. He has traveled the world changing lives and living his dream. To learn more about living your dreams, visit him at

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