Keeping Your Word Is Counter-Cultural

James Walpole/ September 20, 2019

I was talking the other day with some friends about the phenomenon of flaking and non-committal answers out about in the culture today. I fully admit that I was engaging in some unnecessary cane-shaking.

But I’ve heard the complaint and seen the cause often enough to know that something is going on: many of us have stopped caring about following through.

If we have any vague idea of keeping our word, it’s an idea we keep up on the shelf, far from the mundane and actual commitments of our day to day lives. For those, we don’t seem to really care all that much when we don’t come through.

That sucks, right?

Don’t you wish you could host and plan and prepare that dinner party without worrying that your guests will decide not to come?

Don’t you wish that you could get a more solid answer than “maybe” when you plan that ski trip for your friends?

Don’t you wish you could believe it when friends or family say they want to get together?

We all do. I’ve been guilty of failing to follow through myself, and I’ve been on the receiving end of broken promises. And I don’t like it. It’s like there’s something in the air that’s keeping us all from doing what we say we’re going to do.

Of course, there isn’t. We could change all of this. But it will require going beyond what our peers and what our culture expect of us. It’s counter-cultural to keep your word now, but maybe that’s a good thing. It may take a good chip on our shoulders for us to rise above our impulses to break faith and commitments.

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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