There are too many “Sorry I missed your birthday” cards. This bodes poorly for society.
Since when did breaking commitments become acceptable social practice? The market for witty proxy apologies is booming.* Diligent and timely communication, thanks in part to cellphones and text messages, gives way to half-assed correspondence and lackadaisical relationship management.
For the sake of brevity, let’s get to it:
Gruen’s Rules of Integrity.
- Rule: If you say you’re going to do something, do it… even if at great cost to you.
- Rule: If you must break Rule 1 for whatever reason, notify any relevant parties immediately.
The broken commitment may be due to unforeseen circumstances or prohibitive cost– the reason is less important than the effort. People can sense insincerity.
- Rule: Make up broken commitments as soon as possible.
Be extra sure not to break that one.
- Rule: Number 2 is the exception, not the rule.
If you find yourself breaking commitments often, stop making commitments that you will likely break. Learn why you do this, and fix it.
- Rule: Being “flighty” is not an excuse.
However, pragmatically, it is OK to break commitments with flighty people after they have personally demonstrated their flightiness to you. With these individuals, it’s OK to make other commitments provided you inform the third party of the situation.
- Rule: Don’t overcommit. Say No.
Committing to everyone means committing to no one. It’s OK to say ‘no’, or ‘no for now’.
- Rule: Be Honest.
Don’t lie. Though, there’s no obligation to speak the entire truth or offer information.
Succinctly: Be Considerate.
More on this later. (And you can count on that.)
*Don’t believe me? Visit your local card store or pharmacy and take notice of “regret” cards.