Why do People Say One Thing and do Another?

It can be confusing and make you wonder, why do people say one thing and do another? You’re a reasonable person and you go through great lengths to keep your word with other people, and you would think that other people would offer you the same courtesy.

Before we delve into the psychology of it all, let’s remember that we’re all basically good people with good intentions. The problem with good intentions is that the road to hell is paved with them (so they say).

Generally, when someone tells you they’re going to do something, their intent is to actually do it, because they want to please you, to support you, and to feel they are a part of your team. Often, they are so eager to please that they agree to things they may not have thought through fully.

Life is hectic and our desire to “be there” for the people we care about often overrides the realization that things come up in life that may make it difficult to follow through with the commitments we make to our friends. Because of this, we often overextend our ability to do the things we commit to.

So, try not to take it personally when someone says one thing then doesn’t follow through. Keep in mind that their intent was to be there for you because they do care about you.

If you’re the kind of person that does whatever it takes to keep your word and maintain a high level of integrity with those who you make promises to, you know how hard it can be sometimes with the commitments you make to others. While you are to be commended for having such high standards, your expectations of even yourself may be so high that you’re impeding your own quality of life.

Maybe it’s time that you started to lighten up a bit on your own expectations of yourself. When you’re feeling overwhelmed or even panicked about fulfilling your obligations, maybe its time for you to cut yourself a little slack. Sometimes we can get so obsessed about keeping our word that it can lead to destroying your quality of life.

It’s okay to have things come up, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed, this is that greater part of you saying this might be too much for you to bear. So, cut yourself some slack, and be polite about it. Call or text the person you’ve over-committed yourself to and let them know that you might not be able to perform in the manner that you thought you could have when you told them you would do the thing you said you would do.

Once you’ve done that, you can instantly feel the sense of relief that comes from honoring yourself while still letting your friend know that your intention was to keep your word.

It is not the end of the world, just because you failed to follow through on what you said you would do on someone else’s behalf. Forgive yourself and keep moving forward, enjoying honoring yourself.

Keep that in mind the next time someone tells you that they will do something for you, and they fail to follow through. Tell yourself, “I know that things come up,” knowing that you do that, too. Forgive and bless them, because you know that you’re being flexible will be a great source of relief for the person who made you a promise that was just too stressful for them to keep.

Life is not just black and white. There are so many shades of gray in our experience and being flexible actually opens the door for new opportunities that you may have missed along the way when you’re more adaptive to change and allowing the flow of life to progress naturally.

This can be particularly difficult for you if you’ve been trained in a manner to think that life is just black-and-white. For instance, for people who have spent years in the military or a paramilitary organization, they have been trained to see things as this or that without any shades of gray.

This is an effective way to manage large groups of individuals with little or no leeway for life to flow when resources are limited, and chief objectives must be maintained with high levels of performance, but this is unnatural.

Life is flowing, not militaristic.

Of course, there are also toxic people who make it a habit to tell you they will do one thing but do another just to wreak havoc with your life. This is another thing entirely.
These are the people you need to keep at a safer distance, moving them further from your circle of friends. If they are showing you that they are unwilling or unable to do the things they say they will, then it’s on you to stop expecting them to do anything they say. Problem solved.

Release your attachment to expectation, and learn to lighten up on yourself and others.
You got this.

Keep moving and going with the flow.

Broken Promises

Ever wonder what to do when someone doesn’t keep their word? And what if this person is in a regular habit of making promises he or she does not keep?

Do you take it personally, and feel like this is a personal attack on you when someone says they will do something, then doesn’t do it?

Do you put your faith in someone, because they’ve given you their word, then feel slighted when they do not perform, and offer up excuses, that “something came up,” and they were unable to keep their promise?

In terms of promise keepers, there are only two kinds; those who do, and those who don’t.

If you’re not a promise keeper, then it would be reasonable to have lower expectations when it comes to someone’s keeping their promises, but if you’re a promise keeper and you’ve made considerable sacrifices throughout your life to keep your word and have a high degree of integrity, then you’re likely to have higher expectations from others.

The most important thing to remember is that it takes all kinds of people to make the world go ‘round. The world is full of both promise keepers and promise breakers, and sometimes even promise keepers can break promises, due to unforeseen circumstances, or acts of God.

If you’re a promise keeper, you can easily align yourself with Don Miguel Ruiz’s primary tenet of the “Four Agreements” which is to

Be impeccable with your word

This holds the bar very high, for yourself. You strive to be impeccable with your word and go to great lengths to do so. It communicates to others in our social circle, and the world that surrounds us, that you are dependable and trustworthy when you are impeccable with your word.

While you have opted to be the integrous, dependable and honorable promise keeper, you cannot impose the importance of this concept on anyone else. Of course, you could opt to take a self-righteous and judgmental stand and eject all the promise breakers from your life; but where is the joy in that?

Although, you can manage the sacred space around you, and keep promise-breakers at arm’s length, in tolerance, accept them for who they are. They are not broken, sick, or have malicious intentions to hurt your feelings. They are only being who they are. Their inability to keep their word is not good, it’s not bad, it just is the way they are. So, treat them accordingly.

Don’t place them in positions to make agreements or promises they are unlikely to adhere to. If you want someone to be an active participant who is supportive, dependable, integrous and has the ability to keep their world, do not even think of inviting this person to participate at that level. They are not hooked up that way, and you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment, and probably building a stockpile of resentment against this person. Don’t do it. Instead, accept this person for who they are, and love them and all their idiosyncrasies. People like that bring color to your life. Love them, bless them, and let them be who they are.

And when someone hurts your feeling because they broke a promise, think about Don Miguel Ruiz’s second tenet,

Don’t take it personally

Their inability to keep their word has nothing to do with you. They are not seeking out to destroy you, harm you, hurt your feelings, or make you look bad. They are just being who they are, just as you are being who you are.

You must allow people to be who they are, to accept them as different and unbroken.

Although, you do not have to set yourself up for disappointment. If you want someone dependable, trustworthy, reliable, (someone who has the ability to keep their word) then look elsewhere.

You cannot expect a cat to be a dog. If you want a dog, find yourself a dog. Do not expect a cat to act like a dog. A cat is a cat, and a dog is a dog.

Love the cat for being a cat, and love the dog for being a dog, but be smart about it. You should treat each of them, the cat and the dog like they should be treated based on who they are.

Should I forgive them for not keeping their word?

If they are not the kind of person to keep their word, then there is nothing to forgive. You cannot forgive someone who is only being who they are (especially if you knew in advance that they were not a promise keeper). You knew better.

If a promise keeper, someone you know who is impeccable with their word, has not followed through, then by all means, forgiveness is in order, for none of us are perfect, and you might even be able to recall a time when you made a promise that you were unable to keep due to circumstances outside your control.

So, yes, forgiveness should be the first order of business when you know you’re dealing with someone who is otherwise impeccable with their word.

If a promise keeper is in the habit of not keeping their promises, you may want to re-evaluate who this person really is. You might be dealing with a cat, who wants you to think of him or her like a dog.

Be aware this happens when someone is trying to please you, know you want a dog and desires to be a dog for you, even though they are a cat. Where is the harm in that? Just let them know there’s nothing wrong with being a cat, and readjust to treat them like a cat.

In most cases when a cat is masquerading as a dog, the intent is not nefarious, unless you’re dealing with a psychopath or sociopath.