A wise man I once knew, said he would never discuss nebulous plans in front of his children, lest they be disappointed. “People,” he said, “don’t hear what you say. They hear what they think you mean.”
A famous man once said, “A man is only as good as his word.” Based on this philosophy, we must be very careful what we say we’ll do, or might do, or might like to do, lest we be thought of as promise-breakers.
My sensible husband applies this when dealing with customers. If he thinks he can finish a job by ten o’clock, he will tell the customer eleven.
I’ve discovered it is not only children who infer things and feel betrayed by plans we don’t keep. “We’ll have to have you over for dinner sometime,” is a sort of grownup promise, so often unfulfilled that it doesn’t mean much.
“Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain” (Proverbs 25:14).
A promise, whether implied or implicit, must be kept. A person who breaks promises hazards being put in the same category as a Texas dust storm!
Life is full of disappointments without me adding to them so I try my best to:
1) be a woman of my word and
2) not say things I don’t intend to accomplish, whatever the cost.
Consequently, I get myself in some real pickles. I remember telling a woman I would copy a recipe for her, thinking I’d simply bring it to our next meeting. She wasn’t there, had moved away, and I was compelled to search out her relatives to obtain her address and mail it to her.
Also as a consequence of my determination to not say what I don’t know I can fulfill, I might come across as non-committal.
Will I be at your wedding? “I certainly intend to,” or “I truly want to and I’ll do my best,” is about all you can get out of me. And that is while I’m penciling it in on my calendar and programming it into my phone.
Some promises are simply inferred or implied. I started a blog, for instance, and when I write once a week, there is an unstated expectation I will continue. It’s really tempting to write a disclaimer on the first page.
Plans change, emergencies happen, and I believe in addition to being faithful to our word, we ought to also be flexible. I try.
(Don’t stand me up for a special dinner I’ve cooked, though. I get really testy when I have to throw away food!)