People who make and break promises are generally motivated to please other people. Ironically, by pleasing them in the moment without desiring to follow through they cause disappointment.
So how do you respond to someone who wants to get together when you might have other things you would prefer to do?
“I like to keep my weekends unplanned and play things by ear.”
“I have to see what else I have going on.”
“I’m just going to hang out at home and catch up on reading and chores.”
“I don’t have any free time this weekend.”
“I keep my weekends open so I can go windsurfing/play golf when the weather’s good.”
Rather than raise expectations, be honest about not wanting to plan ahead. This allows the other person to make other plans. You don’t have to disappoint them and you won’t dread it when they call.
Buy yourself some time. Interrupt the ‘yes’ cycle, using phrases like “I’ll get back to you,” then consider your options.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD