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Loyalty versus fealty

When I became more interested in marketing to customers instead of attracting new customers, I began to study the concept of loyalty. I wanted to understand what motivates people to be loyal and how their behavior can change over time and circumstances. I've come to the conclusion that loyalty can improve our lives, making support easier to find and decisions easier to make. 

Reciprocal benefits for both parties in a loyalty relationship are key. We find it difficult to be loyal to someone who has been disloyal to us. However, simple tit-for-tat behavior is not loyalty. Loyalty implies trust and commitment that enriches a relationship. Family members have a private history that builds loyalty (or not). When people make sacrifices for one another, then loyalty gets stronger. 

Fealty, or guaranteed faithfulness, demands supportive behavior from the follower toward their leader across all circumstances. We don't expect this is business, and we shouldn't in politics, either. Coerced loyalty is a nice name for blackmail, but someone who demands fealty will not hesitate to use it. 

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