Making and breaking promises: “I can’t make it after all.”

"Perfect Swing" -- Paula Creamer by Mimi Stuart © Live the Life you Desire

“Perfect Swing” — Paula Creamer by Mimi Stuart ©
Live the Life you Desire

How many times have you found yourself saying, “Sure, let’s get together this weekend,” without a clear intention of doing so? It’s easy to make such off-the-cuff arrangements. Yet later you often regret feeling obligated to follow through. If, on the other hand, you back out, the other person gets disappointed and starts viewing you as flaky. Either way, it’s not an ideal situation.

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.

~Auliq Ice

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “The courage to say ‘No’: ‘I wish I hadn’t said ‘Yes,’ I just don’t have the time!’”

Read “Disappointment: ‘I’m so disappointed. How could she?’”

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