As a guy, there is a stereotype perception that guys don’t like commitment. Well, when it comes to requests (not relationships), I would far too easily commit to something before I’d even thought through whether I want to, should do, or can do it.
Firstly, I had a habit of saying yes to a request even though I was never really that keen to do it in the first place. Why on earth was I saying yes even though as I was saying it I was thinking I would not go through with it?
I guess it had to do with me wanting to tell the person what they wanted to hear, to not let them down, to please them and be on their side. It’s hard wired into human nature to want to conform, to be accepted in a group, to belong. So maybe that was it.
But the irony is that if I ended up not going through with that thing I had committed to, I’ve let that person down even more than if I had said no and not committed to that request when they first asked.
Having awareness of my really bad habit, I now recognise when someone asks me for a commitment, and I now pause to give that request serious thought, rather than an instant “yes sure, let’s do it!”, or “ yep, I’ll be there!”.
Simple examples such as “Hey Ben, we’re going to the races, you keen to come?”, and my instant reply without even thinking about it is “yeah sounds great!” Even though I probably have something else I’ve also committed to, not to mention horse racing doesn’t interest me in the slightest.
I would also make unrealistic promises that would be really difficult for me to keep.
I would say to a client, “I’ll call you this afternoon” or “I’ll get that proposal to you later today”, even though I knew I had so much on my plate that the reality of me actually finding the time to get the proposal completed and sent to them later that day was next to nil. And yet I still said it knowing all that.
I put myself in that situation, nobody else. But it shows up to the other person as me not keeping my word.
I’ve heard a good rule is to think how long it will take you to do something, then add 3 days to that, and give the commitment to that timeframe. This gives you breathing room for unforeseen circumstances or complications, yet still be able to keep your word.
It’s a constant challenge to be honest and considered with my answer, giving my truth and not just telling them what I think they want to hear.