UNITED STATES—Loyalty is a word that gets thrown around quite a bit with the people in my inner circle. I see it quite often in the workplace, and it constantly raises a question for me: do these people truly understand what the word loyalty means or why it’s important? I will be honest this analysis of mine was a direct result of watching a few recent episodes of the CBS reality hit “Big Brother 19.”

For reasons I cannot fathom, a group of houseguests have undying loyalty to a contestant, who previously played the game and they have only known for like a month. Things feel like a fault, and I’m baffled that so many houseguests are literally giving up $500,000 for this guy to win the game with their stupid gameplay and undying loyalty at any cost. With that being said, I decided I should reflect a bit on the issue of loyalty in my life.

So where does one start? Of course family people! I honestly believe that you should have loyalty to your family in most situations; its blood we’re talking about, and while family can betray and screw you over, for most people it rarely happens.  So we turn our attention to our social circles and work. Now, this is where I honestly believe we can place our pulse on the discussion of loyalty because it can be used against you.

A true friend will be by your side through thick and thin; rather you are on the verge of jumping off the cliff, or when you are at your highest. However, be aware perception matters in these situations, especially when you’re on cloud nine. Is your friend being loyal because that’s what friends do, or is some angle being manipulated to get what they want? I see this way too often with those who have money.

They have friends who claim to be ‘friends,’ but in actuality they are simply looking for a paycheck or freebies. These are the people who annoy me the most; they smile in your face, while attempting to stab you in the back. It sucks, but there are people out there where I see it happen time and time again, but they never see what is standing right in front of their face.

Now let’s talk about work. This is the place where I think loyalty really comes into question for the employee and for the employer. Sometimes you have those employees that have an undying loyalty to their employer; so much to the point that they don’t even see it, until things have gotten to a point where a confrontation is certain to transpire. Employees use this to their advantage. If they know a quality employee is loyal to them they will manifest a ruse to keep that employee somewhat comfortable to use them to their advantage.

This is where the employee has to see the bigger picture. Am I too loyal to a company that fails to provide me what I need from a job? Am I making enough money? Do I get ample amount of time off? Do I have benefits? Am I constantly placed in positions that I don’t want to be in? These are questions one has to ask in order to see if they have a blind loyalty that is hurting them more than helping them.

People toss the word loyalty around as if it really matters, or has an element of importance to their character. Loyalty is a small word, but at the same time it can have big impacts on one’s life. Not only when it comes to family, but friends, love and work. If you’re questioning a person’s loyalty or why you are so loyal to someone who doesn’t reciprocate what you’re giving that is a clear sign in my opinion that maybe you’re giving a bit more than you’re receiving. Loyalty only has power if you allow it to have power. Remember the impact should be balanced; you give only what is given to you and nothing more or it works against you.