Never Promise Anything

We Promised Mom We’d Never Do That Again, Didn’t We?

And the next day, we were at it again. After all, it was she who taught us to use the term in our own defense. All we had to do to avoid a spanking was to promise not to do “it” again, whatever it was.

So gullible, our moms.

Things aren’t too much different in adulthood, although we still make the same mistake of gifting promises we almost never keep.

But why?

It’s so easy to hand over a few precious words to someone, where they’re simply taken on faith that “something” will or will not happen in the future. But we all know those gifts almost never materialize. Yet we still give them away. And our loved ones, friends and colleagues accept them like gold, never once recalling the last time when. . . .

The Trouble With Promises

The trouble with making a promise lies in our personal feelings and senses at that very moment we made, plus some celestiophysical assistance I won’t get into here. As time passes, things change: our hearts and minds and souls are in a different space-time. So why should we be held accountable for words we spoke days, months or years ago? I never promised to marry her for a lifetime, because that is ludicrous. Just look at the statistics on marriage. And divorce. Too bad so few acknowledge this fact.

A promise is simply a feel-good concept that eases our anxiety, kinda like having some god to worship as your imaginary friend who is always watching out for you, regardless of your peril, but is never actually there to pick you up when you fall on your face. You dismiss this fact the next minute and get right back to praying to that god who is never there. But it sure feels good to think “he” is, huh?

What’s The Solution?

The solution is to see the concept of the promise for what it isn’t: a binding contract. And then stop using it altogether unless we know definitively we can deliver on it. How many people can do that? The US government hands out disability checks each month to millions of Americans. On time. Never miss a beat. But the government never promises those checks.

It knows sometime we clearly do not: there is no reason to promise anything; just do it. And if something goes wrong, fix it.

Personally, I never make a promise because I know how the world turns.

There are just too many hidden variables I could never account for, let alone manipulate in my favor. I tell my people that I will shoot for a certain date to produce or deliver something. If I add some days onto my delivery date, it allows the Universe to throw in a few catastrophes and calamities that inevitably mess up my schedule, so I miraculously end up delivering on time. So impressive.

Honestly, it’s best not to promise anything to anyone. Just get it done, people. And if something happens to throw you off the path, let it pass so you can get back on and deliver what you were smart enough not to promise.


Tripsy South is the author of the novel WTF, Dorkus! Schoolin’ My Shrink On Teen Suicide. Trained in physics at a cool surfer university, she lives and plays in Los Angeles where she’s a freelance writer and editor.