Thursday, November 4, 2010

Promises: Being a Woman of Your Word

From the more casual, "I promise I'll drive the next time"  to bigger things like "I'll pay you back next month", I'm continually amazed at how easy it is for people to forget about a commitment or promise as soon as the words have left their lips.

Promises, Promises.

The truth is that there is a lot of lip service in this world. We know this to be true when it comes to politicians, companies and governmental agencies. However, when it comes to friends and close relationships with others we expect and hope for something more. At the end of the day, we are only as good as our word.

It's so easy to downplay even the most simple of promises by saying, "I really meant to call you but I just lost track of time", but I think our nearest and dearest in particular deserve so much more than these simple off-the-cuff replies.

For some people it's about a lack of organization. The day slips away and then the realization comes that something or someone got overlooked. Like valuing other people's time, it too comes down to respect and following through. It's important to write down the commitments we make, with iPhones, blackberries and regular agenda books, it's easy to capture the info but there must be consistency in doing so for it to work.

If you cannot follow through with a promise, be sure to let someone know well in advance but try to avoid breaking promises altogether. In every instance, try to see how you're lack of commitment could affect the other person and those around them.  One of the greatest blessings in life are loving and responsible friends that we trust, can count on and who follow through with what they say they'll do, even if it's an inconvenience to them after they've promised it.

There have certainly been times where I've been excited about an idea and promised to go somewhere or do something for/with someone and then other events fall into place and the timing just seems bad but I force myself to do what I said I'd do because that is the promise I made and I try my best to do it with a smile and a grateful heart. In both business and pleasure, integrity is very important to me. We all have 'off' days where things couldn't be avoided, nobody is perfect, but I believe your word is so important in the makeup of your character. If people cannot trust you, count on you or believe that you'll be a woman of your word and follow through, you don't have much of a relationship with them at all.

Sometimes it's necessary to confront someone when something has gone on too long and promises are continually made and being broken. In the case of the workplace, there is no way that an employer could tolerate an employee continually making promises on sales numbers or reports that they couldn't deliver upon. Likewise, friendships can only last so long when one feels taken advantage of, let down, disrespected and lied to, because that it what promising and then not following up essentially is.

I recently had to confront a friend who started to create a pattern of not keeping her promises, and letting me down. While it would have been easier to brush it under the rug and not rock the boat and potentially upset a friend I enjoy spending time with, I chose to honor myself and not be disrespected by this person.

How about you? Have you ever had to confront someone who couldn't keep their word? How did it go?


  1. Yes. All the time. But I am used to it. Nonetheless I always try to keep my word otherwise I make no promises. It's much much wiser not to.

  2. What a great post to come through across.It is usual about the people to behave in that way but never thought-out that much as one should.Thanks for sharing.

  3. I like what you said about honoring yourself. It is important that when you make a promise that you either keep it or have enough respect for the other person to let them know why you aren't able to do so.

  4. Well written and timely post in a generation of fast talkers, excessive media stimulation and little thoughtfulness to fulfill our commitments.


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