A couple of days ago, my little sister pinged me and said “hey dear, I want to show you something secret but please it’s for your eyes only.” My default response was you have my word… And then she went on to share what it was with me, having been assured that it would never get out.
Deception is as old as man. We have all lied at some point. In fact a while ago, a friend said “lies make the world go round”. I guess it’s not love anymore. But before we begin to argue that statement out, let’s get back on track.
It’s easy to tell someone “trust me, I’ll do this” or “trust me, I’ll take care of it, it’s nothing.” But how often do we come through on our word? Like I said, it’s easy to say. If people around you cannot trust that you will do what you say you will do, then you’re really looking at a difficult life ahead of you.
I know sometimes, we say things and then circumstances out of our control make it difficult for us to do them, but that’s not really what I’m talking about today. My point today is telling someone you’ll do something when you really have no intentions of getting it done, or making promises you know you will never be able to keep. My point is letting yourself get sworn to secrecy and carelessly yapping it all away… As always, I’m not writing as one who is perfect but as one who has learned and is merely coming to share. A few months ago, I shared critical information about a friend with a third party. I did not think it would be an issue given that the third party was a trusted confidant but the truth was I broke the trust of someone really close to me and that very action of mine threatened to rupture the very foundations of our friendship. But thankfully, we were able to work past that occurrence and forge ahead. There you go, I’m not flawless.
But here’s a quick truth. Not everyone would be as lucky as I was to get off lightly. When you give someone your word, you should make a conscious effort to stick to it. Mistakes are common, yes but there are certain mistakes that are too costly and once made can never be corrected. So let’s start with the basics. How about you don’t say things you do not mean? Or how about you don’t make promises you cannot keep? “Ah, don’t worry, I’ll send you the document first thing tomorrow morning” and yet you haven’t even commenced work on it and you know for a certainty that it will not be ready tomorrow.
I keep telling people, it’s the little things that count. If you’re meeting up with someone, don’t tell “I’m almost there” when you haven’t even left your house. If you’re given an assignment and the deadline is upon you, when the client calls, don’t say “I’m almost done” when you’re not even halfway through. Don’t tell that person you owe money to come to your office tomorrow when you know you’ll be out of town. Don’t tell them to go check their account balance when you have no intentions of going to the bank. Don’t tell the customer “your dress is almost ready” when you haven’t even cut the material. Don’t tell that friend “I’ll make it up to you” when you don’t even plan on doing so. Don’t say “I’ll call you back in 5 minutes” when 5 hours later they’ll still be waiting for your call… It’s the little things that count. You think it’s nothing or you think they would not mind much but I tell you, you’re definitely making an impression. And as much as these things might seem little, they eventually becoming major issues. It’s why our senators will promise to make our lives better when they’re campaigning but end up collecting hardship allowance while making our lives harder once they’re in. It’s why they’ll promise us free education but vote to legalize child marriage. Like I said, little things that grow into bigger things… But let’s not digress too much.
Sometime last year, I met a lady I was supposed to be working with. We talked at length that first day and I told her I would give her a call at 10:00am the following day. I just said it! To me, it wasn’t some huge deal. The following day, I was pretty busy but as soon as it was almost 10:00am, I rushed to a payphone to call her. My call to her went through on the dot of 10:00 and here’s what she said to me. “I was waiting patiently by my phone to see if you would actually call by 10:00am like you said and you did. I’m really impressed and I know I can trust you!” We became really good friends afterwards; now, we’re more like sisters.
You know my point by now. As much as possible, never say things you do not mean especially if you’re not joking. You really do not know who is observing. Like I said, sometimes we’re unable to come through on our word as a result of circumstances we could not control but outside of that, you must try to build a solid reputation for yourself. People will mostly remember you for what you did and not what you said you would do. So here’s how it works. When you say you’re going to do one thing and you end up doing another, I’ll remember what you did and when next you say to me that you’ll do one thing, I’ll invariably expect you to do the other.
As much as is humanly possible, let your word be your bond. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you say you’ll be somewhere, be there! And if for any reason you do otherwise, let the people you have disappointed know that disappointing them was not intentional. Apologize genuinely and make very serious efforts to not disappoint again. And also try as much as possible to make it up to them. Go out of your way if you have to. It’s one way to earn respect for yourself. Trust is pretty fragile. Once it’s broken, you mostly would have a hard time mending it and if you’re unlucky, it’ll be impossible to mend.
So here’s where I wrap it up. Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you’re going to have amazing relationships with people are home, at work or in the society in general, you must be able to earn their trust and do all in your power to never break it. Like I said, it’s never really in the saying but mostly in the doing. Let your word be your bond… Have a lovely time ahead. I look forward to hearing from you.