“The best way to keep one’s word is not to give it.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte.
Napoleon is one of those figures in history that everyone likes to make fun of. From naming your puddle Napoleon because of the psychological complex named after him, to just thinking he was an overall goof ball. Napoleon was a prominent figure during the French revolution as well as a very good war strategist.
The quote above is one that troubles me. The older I get, the truer it sounds.
I grew up believing that everyone was good, or at least had some good inside them. Life has taught me that a greater percentage of people are going to try to take advantage of every situation than those that try to pay it forward.
Before you try to tell me different, think of all the so called friends you have had to call to keep in contact with. Or the people that have done things for you, only to later expect something or a lot more in return. Then count those that have only appeared to want to know you while you help them with something that you are good at or its your profession.
Thankfully I have been able to meet a lot of people that have become true friends, but it still does not make it easier when you find out that some people you trusted were not truly there to be friends.
I try to keep my word every time I give it. In many situations I would have been better off not giving it rather than not keeping it. Last week while in Chicago I wanted to see a lot of my friends, but I ended up not being able to make any concrete plans with many of them… again the fear of giving my word and not keeping it.
It is not just me though, the older I get the harder it is to get confirmation from people on plans. Eric, Travis and I have been trying to get together for the last 5 years. I saw Travis this year, and I saw Eric about 4 ago… They saw each other last year(I was supposed to be there too, but work got in the way of that), but we have not been together as a group since college.
I wonder why it is that as adults, where we should be more secure of what we can and cannot do it becomes harder to give our word out. I miss the days of telling my friends, I will be there and not having anything to stop me from being able to keep my word.