“Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” George Washington
Former President George W. Bush recently declined to be on the same stage as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at a leadership conference in Denver, Colorado. Whichever side you are on in this debate, I respect someone who stands on their morals and says, “I’m not going to associate with a reputation that is so at odds with my own.”
There’s an Arab proverb which states “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” There’s also the popular starlet slang term, “Frenemy”, which is an enemy disguised as a friend. In contemporary society, it is acceptable to be mixed into one big crowd. If you’re not comfortable with this, you’re labeled intolerant or unable to hold your own in a debate.
The professional reality is, however, that whom you choose to be seen with, associate with, and even share the stage with is critical. And who you can publically discredit or personally disrespect should have nothing to do with it. It has to do with your integrity and your loyalty.
We’re all big kids; I get that. Everyone has a choice to interact or to be associated with whomever they want. But it’s impossible for me to be affiliated with someone who I know has been disrespectful, vengeful, or criminal to someone or something I hold in high esteem.
Don’t just stand up for yourself; stand up for the people and values you hold nearest and dearest to your heart. They are an integral part of your character. And remember, if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.