I recently posted about keeping the commitments we make. I’ve been thinking a bit about this lately, because I tend to take things personally. Failure to keep commitments bothers me for that reason. Somehow, if someone has told me they will be available on a certain day at a certain time, I often believe I have failed somehow if the other person doesn’t deliver on their word. I know it doesn’t really reflect on me, but it can feel as though it’s my fault. One reason I feel that way is what my husband refers to as “getting a better offer.”
I have a dear person close to me who does this often. The person makes plans with me, but then something comes up that, to her, is more appealing in the moment. In fairness to her, she expects others to live like this too–she is never upset when someone breaks a date at the last minute. I have known this person for many, many years, and I still really don’t know what drives this behavior. I am pretty introverted, so maybe this is something an extrovert can relate to a little better. But I really don’t think that’s it.
In my previous post, I postulated that overcommitment drives breaking our word. That isn’t what motivates someone who lives from one offer to a better one. I think it may be sparked by insecurity. Maybe some people change their plans before the other person can back out, a mutilated attempt at saving face. Others may feel that their best chance of getting ahead in relationships relies on taking the best deal, in hopes it will lead to better social standing. It might be a choice of which person to disappoint, and some people try to take the lesser of two evils.
I have to confess, I have gotten a better offer. I have plans (interestingly, with the same person who stands me up) to do something fun with our kids. We’ve had this tentatively planned for months, firmly decided for a few weeks. I recently found out there is something going on the very same day that I would like to attend. I admit, I turned it over in my mind. I pondered the ways in which I could make it work, keeping my promise to my son while backing out of the date myself. In the end, though, I realized that I had already made plans and I need to stick to them. Yes, it’s at cost to me. However, in the end, I will miss out on one event now, but I will have my integrity and the respect of my family for far longer. I am doing the right thing.
I’m not telling this story to brag about how noble or righteous I am. I am telling the story so that I can make it clear that I struggle with this too. It’s not always easy to do the right things. But part of caring for others is honoring our commitments to our friends. I want to be a person my friends can trust.