(Image from Woody’s Place)
It sounds nice, doesn’t it? And we share it, because we think it’s a wise quote and it will benefit the collective consciousness of the human race if more people know about this quote.
Wrong. It won’t.
Have you stopped to think about whether this quote will actually help? Who you’re really targeting it at? What it does to you? Why it sounds so pleasant?
Let’s take a look at it one by one.
Why does this quote appeal to us so much?
Because it appeals to our ego, both directly and indirectly. The presupposition is that only loyal people will share this quote, so if you share this quote, you’re indirectly saying “I’m a loyal person.” And who in their right mind would go around proclaiming themselves as disloyal?
It’s also the equivalent of “up yours” to all the people whom we think are testing our loyalties. Friends, lovers, schoolmates, colleagues, bosses, subordinates, clients, suppliers, neighbours – they’ve all irritated us at one point. And this irritation makes us like them less – which translates into “testing our loyalties.”
The problem is that this is hugely passive aggressive. By sharing this quote, we are at once saying “I’m so loyal” and “I’m not going to friend you if you are too annoying.” And therein lies the next question.
Will this quote actually help anyone or anything?
Loyalty is not judged by yourself. It’s judged by other people.
Sharing a quote is not going to make an annoying person less annoying.
So what exactly are you doing when you share this quote? You’re feeding the hostility within each person who sees it. You share this quote because you feel your loyalties are being tested (ie, being annoyed) and this is your equivalent of a rude gesture behind the annoyance’s back.
Not only is that cowardice, but it causes other people to want to give a behind-the-back middle finger to the annoying people in their lives as well. Because that’s your intention as well, isn’t it?
The target of your quote is the person or people you have an issue with, isn’t it?
And this passive aggressive way of cursing them isn’t going to help them change, nor help you adapt or negate their behaviour.
We share this quote because we’re secretly trying to tell someone “stop being annoying and testing my loyalties, or else I will stop friending you and not give a damn.”
In our minds we think the other person will go “oh I have been infuriating people with my actions that test their loyalty! I will stop now because this quote has taught my lesson.”
How the target will see this quote is exactly the same way you see it – that it feeds their loyal ego and it will send a message to other irritating people to stop annoying them. And remember, this is feeding their hostility to other people in their life, which isn’t going to stop them from irritating you in the long run – or even the short run.
The quote doesn’t make sense
On the surface, it does because it appeals to our sense of entitlement and self worth. But when you look at the corollaries to this, the logic falls flat on its face.
Does this mean you can push disloyal person infinitely? After all, they no longer give a damn anyway. Of course not.
Because you’re not supposed to push anyone to the point where they no longer give a damn – loyal, disloyal or otherwise.
Stop sharing it
It’s usually accompanied by a nice picture, true. But please, please stop sharing this quote. It’s not helping anyone. Least of all, you.
This is an original article on marcusgohmarcusgoh.com
I’m a Singapore television scriptwriter who’s written for Lion Mums, Crimewatch, Police & Thief, and Incredible Tales. I’m also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. You can find me on social media as Optimarcus and on my site.
Send me an email if you want to get in touch!