Does It Pay to Be Loyal?

“YOU are paying far too much for health insurance,” said Karl, an insurance representative. * “If you switch to my company, you will save 15 euros a month, which is a lot.”

“That might be true,” replied Jens. “But I have had my health insurance with the same company for several years. They were very helpful in the past, and I want to stay loyal to them.”

“Loyalty is a fine quality,” answered Karl. “Still, being loyal is costing you money!”

Karl was right. Often, being loyal, or faithful, to someone else may cost money. * It also demands time, energy, and emotional commitment. Is loyalty worth it?

More Widely Praised Than Practiced

In a survey carried out in Germany by the Allensbach Opinion Research Institute, 96 percent of those who responded viewed faithfulness as a desirable quality. A second Allensbach survey carried out among 18- to 24-year-olds showed that 2 out of 3 respondents regarded faithfulness as being “in,” that is, they viewed it favorably.

Although loyalty, or faithfulness, is widely praised, things are different when it comes to actually being loyal, or being faithful. In several European lands, for example, married couples or family members frequently show little loyalty to one another. Friends are often disloyal to one another. And the loyalty that in times past bonded employer and employee or a business and its customers has basically disappeared. Why?

Sometimes the hectic pace of life leaves little time or emotional stamina for commitments that demand loyalty. People who have been disappointed and let down in human relationships perhaps now shy away from being faithful to anyone. Others may prefer a here-today-and-gone-tomorrow kind of life that does not demand loyalty.

Whatever the reason, loyalty is a virtue more often praised than practiced. Hence, the questions: Does it pay to be loyal? If so, to whom do we owe loyalty, and in what ways? What are the benefits of being loyal?

[Footnotes]

^ par. 2 Some names have been changed in this and in the next article.

^ par. 5 While “loyalty” and “faithfulness” are not always used in the same context, they are sometimes used interchangeably in these articles.

[Blurb on page 3]

Loyalty is a virtue more often praised than practiced