What The Sopranos Can Teach us about loyalty and friendship

Next year will mark ten years that the television series “The Sopranos” have been off air. But the merry band of insiders (including Tony Soprano) live on - inspiring TV to become better and maybe even inspiring us to live better as men.

The show, which some critics and ‘yaysayers' credit as the frontrunner for the mass of brilliant TV in the last ten years, is basically about friendship. So whether you’ve watched the show and model yourself on Tony Soprano, or whether you’ve added it to your binge weekend list for the holidays, we can always talk about it as a show that while brilliant, also can teach a lot. About friendship, about loyalty, and about the codes that exist within men in particular. Tony would, of course, approve.

Perhaps we first established this way of being friends in the world as cavemen, when we (not too dissimilar to today) had to hunt and gather. Then it was for meat, now it’s for sushi or a new job or a better bottle of whiskey or even a killer fantasy football score. Somewhere in-between these challenges was your pack of people; egging you on and calling you out when needed. These are your people.

While men who travel in packs can (deservedly and undeservedly) bring negative connotations on themselves, the culture of friendship between men has nothing to do with shaming women or mocking people or disrespecting anyone - it has to do with a camaraderie that inspires men to act like gentlemen. Whether as Jersey hitmen or just us regular guys, The Sopranos taught us that our best friendships is sacred and should be based on a code of high principals.

Ok so yes, Tony Soprano was more New Jersey mafia boss and yes, there are some pretty disturbing parts that go hand in hand here. (No spoilers) But, for a moment, set aside the violence that you associate with the mafia and just consider our main man Tony for his commitment to friendship. Throughout the many seasons of the TV show it was Tony Soprano who reminded us what real relationships should based on - and continues to inspire us to look at our own friendships.

With that in mind, here are a few choice lines from the legendary show that speak to what positive lessons we can learn about friendship and loyalty from the Jersey Boys themselves.

1. Stay loyal and committed to your friends, no matter what.

“That's the guy, Adrianna, my Uncle Tony. That's the guy I'm going to hell for.” - Christopher Moltisanti

2. Know your own territory in the friendship.

“You don't shit where you eat. And you really don't shit where I eat.” - Tony Soprano

3. Respect is everything in a friendship.

“Those who want respect, give respect.” - Tony Soprano

4. Forgive, forget and move on. It’s much better that way.

“There’s an old Italian saying: you fuck up once, you lose two teeth.” - Tony Soprano

5. Don’t be overly nostalgic, look at the bright future.

“'Remember when' is the lowest form of conversation.” - Tony Soprano

6. A friendship is forever. Treat it that way.

“Once you're into this family, there's no getting out.” - Tony Soprano

Friends, the good kind anyway, are loyal and committed and you get back what you give to them. The point of the Sopranos, a show about a seemingly ordinary family in Northern New Jersey is really just about how friendship and loyalty are holy, and that idea will always be relevant to us as men, regardless of what we’re doing. And that’s something Tony would never say “fuggedaboutit” to.