Why Don’t People Keep Their Word Anymore?

If someone I know repeatedly lets me down – they have three chances unless they are family! – I cannot trust them anymore. It’s that simple at least for me.

I do not want to be walked over by anyone, certainly not someone whose word is no longer good. And I don’t want my clients to be walked on either. Some are able to handle this; others become very upset that they were let down. We have to act like grownups, on both sides, the giving and receiving. To thine own self be true.

What is it with people who do not keep their word? Is it an epidemic or what?

Where I grew up, on the East coast, when you made a promise, you kept it, no matter what. If someone said they would meet you at a specific place at a chosen time, they would be there, even if it was months or more in the future. You never even thought of confirming this appointment – it was a done deal.

They gave their word and you could count on it at all times.

Now, not so much.

I have had people tell me they were going to do something, and it never happened. I have had podcast guests not show up. A recent client was promised that a certain connected guy would review her resume. He did not. He volunteered for this as well. Should she have reminded them or not?

It is disrespectful to say you are going to do something and not do it. If you do not have the time, don’t make the commitment.


Joanne Victoria
Joanne Victoria
JOANNE VICTORIA is the author of 7 books including Lighting Your Path - How To Create the Life You Want and Vision With a Capital V - Create the Business of Your Dreams. Joanne lives in the Greater Seattle, WA area. After professions such as Real Estate Broker/Owner, CFO of an investment company, CFO and Sales & Marketing Director of a home-building company, owner of New Directions, a business development firm as well as Gemma & Bixley, a coaching and consulting company, Joanne was ready for her next adventure, helping Leaders & Entrepreneurs live the life they want. Joanne took her business and personal development expertise, added in several ounces of intuition and humor, along with studies in philosophy, Buddhism, and leadership, all to be the best-qualified Life Coach ever. Joanne Victoria is the host of the "The Sanity Project Podcast", and helps frustrated and almost burned out Leaders & Entrepreneurs discover their True Calling to unleash the power of their minds to make a greater impact on the world, benefit humanity, and be more successful

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  1. Thanks for this refreshment post on a topic that seems to fade. Integrity goes with Character and so often the Character of a person will let you know of their Integrity before hand. Its such a simple act to keep the promise and do what you say you will do, but hard to act upon.

    • Thanks so much Lynn Forrester. Character is so important and I can see yours shine! And you are so right, keeping a promise is a simple act, yet many cannot do this. So sad.

  2. Absolutely 100%, Joanne!

    And I ran into that here in my little village with a guy who’s actually a good-hearted man, admittedly with a few screws loose (he’s the first one to admit to that), who told me … wait for it … five days in a row he’d be at my house to fix something for me as a way of thanking me for finding him a new client.

    Five days in a row. Separate days. Same words: I’ll be there this morning, honest!

    And because I knew he was seriously busy, I forgave him the first couple of days. Then we talked, and I told him NOT to tell me he’d be here while he was so busy. “I’m never too busy for you,” he proclaimed.

    Days 3, 4, 5. No show.

    It took three weeks before I’d even talk to him, and the friendship remains strained. And due to our physical proximity here (cottages are as close as 10′ apart), it’s impossible to avoid him totally. And the fact that he’s working on my new neighbors’ house across our narrow street doesn’t help.

    And it’s a shame, because he means well … he just chases the first thing that comes along without realizing the harm.

    I grew up knowing my word had to be my bond; without that, I had nothing to offer that was of value.

    Great article and reminder, Joanne, so thanks!

    • Much appreciation for your kind words towards this post Susan Rooks! I have a similar story re your loose running handy man. When I first moved to Washington state, I paid someone to perform specific tasks, and he would not show up. When I eventually found him working on someone else’s house!, he said he had many people to take care of. At some point, with money in mind and cupboards needing replacing, I had to just live with it and of course, never hire him again.

    • Yeah, I hear you, Joanne! This guy’s actually excellent when he’s working / focusing, but a squirrel runs across his path and he’s gone.

      I used to refer him to clients, but that’s stopped. Haven’t told him that directly, but I will not be suggesting him anymore. Can’t afford to. And it’s a shame, because he’s really, really good … when he’s there.

      Luckily I have another guy who lives about 40 minutes away, and when he comes here, I book him for an entire half day; my girlfriend books him for the other half, so we make the most of his travel and work time.

      You did finally get your cabinets done, right? And done well?

    • The cabinets were done and really well after all that. Glad to read that you were able to solve the problem and use someone else in a big way. I appreciate your thoughts Susan Rooks!

  3. I could not agree with you more! Thank you for this post. I believe and trust in the integrity of other’s word and I try to treat people the way I would like to be treated – that meaning doing what I say I am gong to do.

    • You know I agree with you Maureen Y. Nowicki! Yet is does not always work that way and I am still wondering why they don’t show up!

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