How to Treat People Who Break Their Promises

A disappointing happening is one of having a promise made only for it to be broken once the person who made it reevaluates their stance.

Promises made on a whim, or in the heat of the moment, are perhaps the most susceptible to disappointing us. You’ve likely experienced a friend or family member promise you something in the heat of the moment. Perhaps they were negotiating for something that they wanted you to do, and in an effort to garner your agreement, they excitedly promised things they couldn’t deliver.

You may have friends who over-promise and under-deliver; who are susceptible to continuously disappointing you by raising your hopes. These people don’t entice the best version of ourselves to show, as to them, being in the heat of the moment is reason enough to make important promises. Upon reevaluation, they find themselves to have been too enthusiastic and regret not thinking through their presentation of a certain promise.

As they wake up the morning after, and the morning after that, they bank on the act of you forgiving them for not delivering on their boastful promises. They place you in a position to be upset at their lack of delivery on a promise, but expect you to understand their sloppy communicative methods. In their minds, they weren’t serious, but in yours, expectations were set and not met.

This article is written to remind you to take promises people make in the heat of the moment with a grain of salt.

If possible, simply don’t trust the promises people make in an excited state when things are looking rosy and when future happenings are polished with today’s perspective. The overall goal is to save face in the midst of situations such as these. The preservation of your relationship with the individual who’s made a – perhaps uneducated – promise is a guiding principle behind this article.


The Traps of a Promise Made in the Heat of the Moment

Though you may view a broken promise made by an excited individual to be malicious in nature, it’s healthier to perceive it as someone attempting to provide value whilst being in an unrealistically excited state. The excited state they’re in whilst in the heat of the moment lowers their inhibition to making promises they can’t keep. Whilst sharing positive relations, they may have promised to buy you dinner next week, or to hand down a computer they aren’t using. As soon as they’ve voiced their ambitious promise, they’ve laid down a couple of social traps.

The first trap is the one they’ve laid down for themselves.

They’ve now promised something they can’t deliver on. Reeling back a promise is difficult to do. In an effort to save face after evaluating their rosy promise, they may begin to avoid you, or to let the time-frame they’ve set for themselves pass, with the hope that you’ve forgotten about their promise. Now, they either face the music, or they hide far enough to not hear it. Both choices don’t bode too well for their reputation.

The second trap is the one they’ve placed under your feet.

They’ve locked you into an expectation. Depending on how vehement they were whilst making their initial promise, they may have persuaded you to legitimately believe their excited rhetoric. You’d be expecting the fruitful result based on the promises they’ve made, not understanding the fact that those promises were made in an unrealistic state of mind, and with an uneducated perspective. They laid the trap for you to feel disappointed, and to perhaps look bad by pressing them on the fact that they’ve not delivered on their promise. They place you at risk of seeming petty by inquiring into their broken promises, and do well to put you in an uncomfortable social situation.

The effects of a promise made in the heat of the moment are detrimental to all sides of the dealing. Understand that, in the moment, the promise was made out of kindness. This article does not advocate the breaking of promises. It does however, advocate for you to protect yourself from potential disappointment by analyzing whether others’ promises are being made in the heat of the moment, and in an excited state.

By legitimately ignoring the promises others make in an excited state, you’d do well to rid both parties of the traps that have been set by the irresponsible promises made. You’d rid yourself of the potential to be disappointed, and you’d rid the person making sizable promises from having to carry the burden of yesterday’s excited dialogue.

The most important aspect of ignoring the promises others make in an excited state is the one of maintaining a stable mindset in your social dealings. You’d be less likely to be irritable, emotional, or vengeful toward a friend who doesn’t deliver on a promise they simply couldn’t keep. You’d view the gesture as a kind one, even though the broken promises would leave a bad taste in your mouth. The relationship evaluation you have with that individual would be unlikely to suffer due to their overexcited promising of good things to come.


If Their Behavior Keeps Repeating

The next question which demands an answer, is how we should act when our friends keep making promises that they can’t keep. Our willful ignorance toward their exuberant promises can do well to encourage them to keep making them. They may find some use in getting people’s hopes up only to shatter them every time, as they won’t be punished for doing so.

Analyze their behavior with an unemotional perspective. Broken promises are unlikely to damage your relationship if you choose to ignore them and perceive them as being similar to a boy crying wolf. You’d see just another defect in the personality of a friend of yours, and would then need to make a decision on whether you should remove yourself from participating in that friendship.

By ignoring the excited promises that they make, you allow yourself to witness their specific defect without riding the roller-coaster of emotion yourself.

You’d ensure that you don’t assume any blame in the dealings with that individual if you decide to slowly remove yourself from that friendship. You’d limit the emotionally charged dialogue that you partake in, and you’d save yourself from the stresses of believing every promise that they make.

The act of ignoring the promises those around you make in an excited state frees you from the act of being affected by them. You’d be free to decide on the next steps you should take in regards to your relationship with those people, if you wish. You’d also leave yourself the option of continuing a relationship which serves to benefit you in other ways.

View promises being made in an excited frame of mind as just another defect that a person carries with them. In the same fashion that you don’t try to fix all their other defects, it seems to pay off to not try and overhaul their habit of making false promises in heated moments. Simply ignore those promises, save yourself from the emotional ride, and analyze the effects of their bad habit on your relationship with a tranquil state of mind.

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Disclaimer of Opinion: This article is presented only as opinion. It does not make any scientific, factual, or legal claims. Please critically analyze all claims made and independently decide on its validity.