Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Be slow in promise

I have always had the habit of making promises to get over piquant situations or to please the others at the current moment or pep up the conversations like “will call you in a day, will drop in at your place before weekend, will explore the net for the link you wanted or will have tea at your place tomorrow.” I will forget it is a promise made as far as the other person is concerned even though I was not certain of keeping them up when I made them. I had the intention of doing them if possible but was never a commitment. Still when I make such promises I do not indicate that it is merely a wish but allow it to be misconstrued as a promise.
My wife would ask me to post a letter to her mom in the postbox en route to my office saying it is urgent and I would promise that I would do. But I would forget when in the car talking on mobile to a colleague and realize my lapse only in the evening when she sees the letter in my shirt pocket. I would see the hurt in her eyes and promise to do that first thing in the morning. But she would not give the letter to me again. We are generally quick in making small promises but lack the determination to keep them. No doubt, they are no big contracts or deals entered into in formal written documents with legal consequences for failure. They may be casual in nature but nevertheless a promise. When we do not keep such promises they would lose trust in our words and not take us seriously when we make such statements. Our trustworthiness would have taken a dip in their estimation of us.
It is not always possible to keep promises made for a variety of extraneous reasons or circumstances beyond control. In many cases we tend to forget. But these failures to keep the words should be few and far between. The best course would be not to make any promise unless we are doubly sure of performing it. As Abe Lincoln put it “We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to perform what we cannot.” Be slow in making promises as you will tend to keep them better. The one spin off would be your relationships with others would become rich in quality and people would perceive you a man of word and not a politician on an election rostrum. Your children would unconsciously learn the virtue of keeping the word and action conform to each other.


  1. Way to go @KP! All set to follow...

  2. True indeed. Keeping promises makes us build on trust.

  3. I hate people who cannot keep their word. I feel if they have no intention of keeping their word why say that they will surely do, this callous attitude on their part can neither be forgiven nor forgotten.
    We have been brought up to keep our word at any cost, always to be on time, and never commit to something which we have no intention to keep.
    At least you are realizing it now, and I hope you would follow your own advise seriously.

  4. KP I am completely with you on this. We make so many promises but rarely keep them. These small disappointments sometimes make people lose their trust in us. Sometimes I find that our near and dear ones also get hurt when we forget to do what t hey want.