Social Rules to not making empty promises and to mean what you say

Some great comments from my earlier post about not making empty promises. One reader in particular, Layla, pointed out that they just may be shy.

Shy enough to not know what to say or to see the implications of what they’re saying and they weren’t taught those “rules”.

I never even thought of that, so thanks for bringing it up. πŸ™‚

I should point out that I wrote the post with a specific situation in mind, that in hindsight I should have explained more about.

The Situation

There’s this one guy who keeps making vague promises about meeting up “sometime” and then when we take the initiative to call or to email them and say: Hey how does this weekend work for you?, he does a vague excuse to get out of it, and/or he just plays email or phone tag.

ToΒ  top it off, he only calls when he needs something, like career or job advice, or just to get in touch with our networks.

Not only that, when we FINALLY set a date and a time to meet with him, 100% of the time without fail (I have actually made a note of this each time), he will either email or call our phone to cancel or reschedule.


It’s a pattern so much so that BF and I actually made bets on when he’ll call or email.

Me: Will he email or call this time to cancel?

BF: Call. He knows email is not something we check constantly.

Me: But I never answer the phone. I always have it on vibrate and it goes to voicemail.

BF: I put my bet on call.

Me: Okay, and I’m saying he’ll call… 2 hours before the meet this time.

BF: I say 3 hours before, because he wants us to have time to check the phone.

Me: 3 hours? That’s too much advance notice.

BF: He learned his lesson from the last time. πŸ˜›

In the past, we just ignore both calls and emails, and show up at the spot at the agreed upon time. We don’t give in to this manipulative kind of behaviour.

That kind of attitude is bullshit because it tells us by his actions that he basically found something better to do than to keep his promise and meet up with us.

It’s fake and annoying so we’ve cut off all communication with this person.

He isn’t the only person, and in general, I’m tired of people who say those things but consistently never mean it.


I guess I’m just frustrated with the whole cultural idea of saying nice, white lies you don’t mean, just to be polite to others.

I’m not saying it’s wrong or that it’s stupid.

I understand its purpose, but it’s very difficult for someone like me who is more direct in nature to deal with.

I know in Layla’s case, she clearly pointed out that shy people mean to meet up, they just never learned how to have awesome social skills to realize what they’re saying could be misconstrued.

That, I don’t have a problem with.

I think saying you want to meet up sometime, and then following up within 3 weeks is fantastic!

But it’s those people who say vaguely “hey let’s hang out some time” and then drop off the face of the earth until you are forced to run into them again, that really ruin it for them.


I basically have to learn how to treat others as they treat me. BF tells me I’m too trusting and full of excuses for others’ actions, and upon reflection… he’s absolutely right.

I pretty much let people I care about and love, walk all over me so to speak; but all that does is just make it worse and make me frustrated.

I need to stop trying to be the one to do it all, all the time. I should certainly give them the benefit of the doubt, but that window should close some time, not be open indefinitely.

Here are some of my thoughts, I’d love to hear yours.

If you are the one to say you want to meet up, then it’s on you to call and email.

You said it, you do it. Don’t expect the other person to take the lead.

If you make plans with someone, don’t break them all the time.

There are extenuating circumstances to be sure, but when you break a meeting that someone has spent time scheduling their day around, you are telling them they aren’t worth your time.

Or indirectly saying that you’ve found something better to do and they’re just a backup social plan that you can cancel on your highness’ whim.

Don’t call or talk to a person only when you need something from them.

My one sibling does this a lot to me. I’ve taken to just ignoring his emails/calls as payback.

When you only call when you need something, it tends to be a pretty loud and clear, repetitive message.

It’s disrespectful because it tells us indirectly: Hey you’re only good for when I need your help but not good enough to keep a casual acquaintance with you outside of that.

Don’t say you want to meet up when you really don’t.

Just smile, say hello, how are you and move on. Don’t make empty promises.

I don’t do this any more. I used to, yes. But then I realized how exhausting it is to lie, even a little white lie.

If someone doesn’t genuinely try to contact you, they don’t want to see you.

I know indirectly it might seem like they’re just busy, but we’re all busy.

People generally have enough time to do everything they want, so if they don’t want to do it, they won’t.

So when they don’t contact you, and if you try to make some sort of contact, but get a “sometime” brushoff more than 2-3 times, then take the hint.

Be on time or call if you are running late.

Nothing irks me more than being late. I hate being late, and I’m always stupid enough to believe that other people operate by the same rules.

My mother drilled into me a healthy fear of being late. I’m always 5-10 minutes, sometimes half an hour early for appointments or even interviews.

I always try to text or call if I am running late (or even if I think I MIGHT be even 5 minutes late), because it shows respect for the other person’s time as well.

What are some of your social rules?

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.