Honoring promises is high on my list of requirements in being a person of integrity. Basically, whenever someone fails to follow through on a promise (with the exception of giving a reasonable excuse for backing out on their word) it registers as a betrayal. Whenever I’ve had a promise made to me broken it has affected me adversely. If you’ve ever been stood up then you understand where I’m coming from. No one likes to be forgotten or dumped upon. Frankly, it hurts!
How Good Are You At Your Word?
My first memory of being the recipient of a broken promise was as a child. My older brother wanted to play hid and seek and I wanted to play football. We made a brother pact. He promised he would play “football” with me if I would play “hid and seek” with him first. As niave as I was, I played along with him. Afterwards he refused to play my interest with me. WHAT??? I felt betrayed. I yelled at my brother that he was a LIAR. He merely shrugged his shoulders and said he had changed his mind. In my opinion he was both a LIAR and a BARGAIN BREAKER and I wasn’t about to let him get away with it. The ruckus I was making got my mother involved in stopping our argument. This was good I thought as I was certain that mom would make my brother? honor his word. But, I was wrong. Mom simply told us to stop fighting with each other and to try to get along better. Well… that just wasn’t fair! I eventually stopped holding a grudge against my brother, but I did learn not to be so trusting. The second one just happened when a whole MCE stood in the mist of almost 500 people and promised me heaven and earth that, he was going to see me through my education and re-launch my book after an election I help him to win only for him to drop my disappointment right on my face with a text message.
Is it Ever Okay to Break a Promise?
Granted, people do have a right to “change their minds” from time to time. It is understandable that occasionally circumstances can arise after the fact that can make following through on commitments unfeasible. But, if you routinely renege on your promises or if on the flip side you are often the recipient of broken promises it is time to evaluate this pattern.
Don’t Paint Yourself into a Corner – Just Say No!
I had a frank discussion with a friend of mine who broke a couple of her promises to me a few years ago. She told me that it is difficult for her to say no to requests. Not being able to say no was how she would paint herself into corners. Since she couldn’t say no she’d either be stuck doing things she’d rather not do, or she would have to devise creative excuses to get herself out of unhappy commitments.
Personally I would rather be told no in the first place. I would respect that honest response. It is worse to have someone back out on you at the last minute with some lame excuse which
If you identify with the individuals who “Can’t Say NO” then please try to understand that you are not doing anyone any favor by forever bending backward to please others. All those “Yes Promises” are eventually going to cause you to back out of a commitment. And when this happens you will lose the trust of the very person you were trying to please.
Are You Too Demanding of Others?
Many of us have experienced the intimidating demands from the bully in the school yard or from the overbearing boss at work. We agree to outrageous terms from these individuals to secure our bodily safety and financial security. We soon learn to skip recess to avoid the bully and shirk our duties whenever the boss’ head is turned away.
If you are wondering whether or not you make too high of demands on the people in you life…
- Is your personality overtly forceful in dealing with others?
- Do you take advantage of the people in your life who have difficulty saying no?
- Do you feel your priorities should always come first?
- Is it important for you to always have your way?
If you identify with the “Bullies and Overbearing Boss” it is time for you to realize that forced promises are likely to fall short. Who is at fault really?
Please Keep Your Promises
In my final remarks I wish to stress that keeping promises is very important. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Broken promises hurt individuals and can erode relationships. Trustworthiness is too valuable of a characteristic to own… don’t give it away.
Author of ?step up father?
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