I sometimes wander what people are thinking when they make commitments or promises to people. Whether they intend to keep them or whether they make them simply because it suits them at that particular moment.
I was always brought up with the belief that if I gave my word to someone, I would attempt to honour it to the best of my abilities, and if I couldn’t, I would advise the person before breaking it. This belief applied to not only minor things like “doing coffee” but also to major events. Maybe its because my parents always taught me that “my word is my honour” and if I got in the habit of not keeping my word, then people would come to the conclusion that I was unreliable and untrustworthy.
Don’t get me wrong, circumstances do change which can cause one to not honour their word. But it’s not hard to turn to someone and say “hey, you know that promise I made? I won’t be able to honour it because …” and then provide the reasons. Whether the other person accepts them or not, is really irrelevant but it is the right thing to do.
Take for example a female friend of mine - Maria [not her real name]. She’ll organise a coffee session and then not meet up with her friends. This was not a single occurance, but a regular one, to the point that when she organised a coffee session, no-one bothered going. The sad thing is that on this particular occasion, she actually went, only to find no-one was there. As one would expect, she was annoyed at being let down by her friends. She rung to find out where they were, only to find a common reply “oh. you did come this time?” and “you never show so we didn’t bother as we didn’t expect you to make it”.
In Maria’s case, some serious friendship building was needed to re-establish that trust she had lost with her friends.
Another friend of mine Craig was in a similar situation with a friend of his. His mate would organise drinks after work, but would always arrive 2-3 hours late because “he met some hot chick” earlier. In the end Craig simply turned around and told him to piss off as he had better things to do, and more reliable friends to socialise with. I can sympathise with him as I am like Craig - hate waiting at pubs for friends. A simple call to say “hey, can’t make it at 5pm. Want to meet later?” would have not only given Craig the opportunity to to say “ok” or “we’ll leave it for another time as I have things to do”, but would also have kept the friendship going.
These kind of people only think about themselves, and assume that even if they don’t keep their word, their friends will always be around. It is not the case unfortunately. In both cases, if they had simply told their friends they would be late or couldn’t make it, then the damage to their friendships wouldn’t have been so bad. But both treated their friends as “stop gaps if nothing more important happened in the meantime”.
That kind of attitude is - in my opinion - one which can lead someone to have few, if any, close friends. I, like many others, have “lots of friends”, but the real close friends I can number on two hands. These are the friends that I trust, respect and value. The others are “social acquaintances” who I might catch up once in a blue moon or down the local pub, if they happen to be there.
If you happened to be a “Maria” or a “Craig” who tends to let your friends down, maybe you need to sit back and consider your actions. Friends will only put up with so much before they decide that “enough is enough”. What could have been a good solid lifetime friendship is simply ruined because of one placing their own self interest and lack of consideration of others ahead of their “word” and “honour”.
It’s never too late to try and rebuild a friendship that is dying. Reviving a dead friendship is near impossible.
Originally posted by James BaileyAnd so very true I might add...