I have never been shy about labeling myself a commitmentphobe. People always associate me as a decisive person since I’m generally the leader in a group, but ask me to make a personal decision, and I’ll be vacillating until my next birthday. And it’s not that I don’t know. Yes, I know which shirt I want to buy, but once I buy it, then I’ve decided, and it’s ultimate, permanent, undoable.
Or I may be free, but I just don’t want to lock myself down. For example, my friend once asked me on a Thursday if I could get dinner on Saturday. Six hours later – though I read the message within a minute of receiving – I allowed myself to say yes. My friend then followed up with “6 PM at Ruby’s?” That’s too much; I can’t commit to that. (I just sat here brainstorming a different word than commit because redundancy, but commitment – that’s exactly the problem! No other synonym for it.)
So I said, “Can we decide the day of?” As if I had big plans that Saturday. Meanwhile, my only plans for Saturday, as of that Thursday, were to go for a run and study at Starbucks. Like, I could wake up at noon, do all that, and still fit in 6 PM dinner. BUT NO, I WILL NOT COMMIT. BACK THE EFF OFF.
My friends have adjusted to this fact. Invite me, but don’t expect a definite response. But here’s the qualification: If I give a definite response (which I will do closer to the event because I’m not that flighty) – if I say I’ll be there – then tsunami or terrorist attack, I will be there. Don’t doubt my resolve.
And that is a trait so many people (read: incompetent, irreverent imbeciles) lack. People so freely say they’ll be somewhere or do this and that, and then… “Oh, I forgot,” “Something better became available,” “Don’t hate me.”
I tend to avoid people like that – at least when I can aka my personal life. I expect better from my friends. If you tell me you’re going to come support me at an event I’m planning, I don’t expect, to quote from above, “I forgot and…” Always the “and.” Aka let me justify why I’m rescinding my promise hours before I’m supposed to fulfill it.
Yes, there are circumstances where you have to bow out. I get that. But most excuses are BS, and that isn’t anger writing; that is disappointment. And I’m not trying to give anyone the ol’ maternal guilt trip (because moms are notorious for this: “I’m disappointed you snuck out of the house/cheated on your homework/lied to me”). It’s just, insert exasperated sigh, what else should you feel when your friend says they’re going to do something and/or be there and they don’t? I don’t even know how to respond to your text. My non-response seems petty, but saying “I’m disappointed” sounds hypersensitive.
Sara once wrote about what we value in people, and she listed mine (correctly) as competence, self-awareness and ambition. But you know what, I may need to modify this list and add: Follow through.
Here is my takeaway, and take it to heart: It is better to be a commitmentpobe than to fall through on your commitment.