Men don’t honor their word anymore

April 20, 2024
Being a man of your word is the most important thing you can ever do. Giving your word is everything. Your word is you and who you are. Your word is how you represent yourself to the world, talk to yourself, and communicate. A man who isn’t good for his word is nothing. If you break your word, you waste an irreparable part of yourself. Even if no one else finds out, you will always know you weren’t worth your word.

I have been thinking about what it means to give your word – and what it means today as opposed to my grandfather’s generation. I really feel that giving your word has lost something. Back in the day, it was a matter of fact if you gave your word. It was about character and integrity. You could take it to the bank when someone gave you their word. Come hell or high water, they would do what they said, mean what they said, and execute.

Today, you hear people give their word and then don’t follow through. If you give someone your word, you should mean it. Execute and not go back on it. If you say you’d keep a secret, state you’re not going to do something, or declare you will do something, be a man of character and integrity. So many men lack character and integrity these days, and it’s mind-boggling.

But being a man of your word means not saying ‘yes’ when you should be saying ‘no.’ Do not say ‘yes’ out of a bad habit of people-pleasing or out of impulse. Saying ‘yes’ this way could end up causing you to avoid confrontation in the future because you didn’t or couldn’t say ‘no.’ Reciprocally, if you say ‘no,’ don’t feel guilty. Practice saying ‘no’ because people will be okay with it at the end of the day. Be truthful and only commit to situations you can FULLY commit to – not because you feel guilty.

Now, one step you can take before you say ‘yes ‘is to think about what you are responding to. Ask yourself if you can commit and if you have the energy and time. Don’t give your word unless you’re 100% sure you can commit—even if that person seems helpless (but not in an emergency). Make sure you don’t commit, then flake or quit halfway.

Another point is if you agreed to help but then realize after initially engaging that they need more than simply help (they need you to actually do it for them), be honest. Suggest how they can proceed without you entirely doing it for them. Give pointers and suggest other resources, but don’t continue to do the work for them. You have your own things to expend your time and energy on.

If you give your word, don’t contradict what you promised. Value your word and take the steps necessary to make good on your word. Set calendar reminders, for example, and ensure you have the time to do what you promised. Don’t advertise that you would do something for someone and then make excuses after the deadline.

Occasionally, I forget to follow up with a client, friend, or family member. I hate it if they do it to me, so I hate it when I do it to them. A sincere apology goes a long way! But make sure instances like this don’t become a habit. Letting it happen once and having your apology accepted is not an excuse for doing it again.

Conversely, limit your exposure to flakey people and learn to roll with the punches. Some people will never get it and never will. Flaky people who are always late, making excuses, or forgetful are the ones who get passed over in life. One of the most aggravating circumstances occurs when you plan around a commitment and then have them flake without informing you, wasting your time and effort.

The solution is a reevaluation of your own expectations and the ability to be clear about what’s important to you. Ensure they know the value of your time and commitment so they appreciate the value of their word. So, understand and accept yourself so that you can overcome the shortcomings of others. Life can be frustrating enough that tripping over someone else’s shit makes it that much more frustrating.

The bottom line is that you want the people to be good on their word so you can trust they’ll do what they say. Be that person, just as you’d expect the other person to be. Be a man of your word and find personal harmony. Your word is yours alone—no one but you can give it away. Your word can be valuable or worthless; that choice is entirely up to you. Just know that if you break your word, you choose worthless.

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