What to do about a friend who doesn’t keep her word?

I have a dear friend who, I am discovering, doesn’t keep her word. She says she will do things, but then, if something better comes along, she changes her mind. I have noticed that she does this with new jobs. She gets all excited about them, says they are perfect for her, then within a few months something happens that she doesn’t like and she quits. With me, most recently she offered to house sit and take care of my cats for a week, then after a couple of nights, she changed her mind and never came back. She got a neighbor to cover for her and didn’t tell me about it until several days afterward. Had she bothered to even send me a quick text, I would have told her I preferred to use my regular cat-caretaker, who I had already paid before my friend offered to stay at my house. I’m noticing a pattern here because I know of another woman who was unhappy with her for the very same reason. She makes sure the cats are okay, but doesn’t stay there as she says she will. I am familiar with the old saying that it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, but is it okay to do so over and over again with no seeming regard of how it affects others? I don’t know whether to call her on this or to just keep my mouth shut about it. Can you offer any advice? … Sandy

Dear Sandy… I learned a very valuable lesson from my father rather early in life. I had signed a three month contract to do piano bars in Sweden one winter. When I got there I hated it. It was dark and cold and I found the people quite unfriendly, and after two weeks I decided I wanted to come home. I called my dad and told him, and he asked me an all-important question: “Did you sign a contract?” I admitted that I had, and he said, “I think you should honor your agreement.” I realized he was right, and, Sandy, by doing that, I changed the course of my entire life! So many wonderful things wouldn’t have happened had I not stuck it out, and the next month they moved me to a different city and I loved it!

There is something profoundly important about keeping one’s word. It not only lets others know our character, it allows us to express ourselves in the highest and best way possible. For that reason, it is of the utmost importance to think things through as much as possible, and to listen to our feelings and guidance before declaring that we will do something. If we give our word that we will do something, I think that unless situations really dictate otherwise, we keep it, even when the going gets rough.

One of Don Miguel Ruiz’ “Four Agreements” that I try hard to live by is, “Be impeccable with your word.” And Conversations With God says that we create on three levels: Thought, Word and Action.  There is great power behind speaking our word. It tells the Universe what our intentions for creation are, and it helps things start falling into place to make that happen. When we continually change our minds, we confuse the Universe about what we choose to call forth. Therefore, being impeccable with our word is not only important in our relationships with each other, it is important in our relationship with God. When we clearly tell God what we intend to do, we consciously co-create with It.

Now, your question of whether or not to say something to your friend is one that, I’m afraid, you are going to have to decide for yourself. I know that confrontations are difficult for many people, including me. You might want to remember the “Five Levels of Truth Telling” from CWG:

1. Tell your truth to yourself about yourself.

2. Tell your truth to yourself about another.

3. Tell your truth about yourself to another.

4. Tell your truth about another to that other.

5. The your truth to everyone about everything.

You have already taken Steps 1 and 2. Now your decision is whether to implement Steps 3 and 4. Remember, what’s going on with your friend is only your truth about the situation. There are always two sides to every story. Do you know why she changed her mind in this particular instance? Were there extenuating circumstances that prevented her from being able to keep her word?

The ultimate goal in truth-telling is to clear the air of any negativity and end up in a better place than you were before. It is never to assign blame or judgment on another. The possibility does exist, however, that in telling your truth to your friend, you will cause her think twice before not following through with her word in the future. This could serve to be a boon to her in future agreements, not unlike my decision to stick it out in Sweden in that dark, cold winter so long ago.

If you find you just don’t have the courage to come right out and talk with her about it, perhaps this Advice column could suffice…

(Annie Sims is the Global Director of CWG Advanced Programs, is a Conversations With God Life Coach and author/instructor of the CWG Online School.To connect with Annie, please email her at Annie@TheGlobalConversation.com

(If you would like a question considered for publication, please submit your request to:  Advice@TheGlobalConversation.com where our team is waiting to hear from you.)

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  • Stephanie

    Hi Sandy
    This might sound harsh but this is your own fault. You judge people by your high (and rightly so) standards. Stop doing that you are only going to be let down. Even if this friend is not true to her word do you like having her in your life? These are questions only you can answer and if the answer is yes look past her faults but learn from them and don’t put her under pressure to do anything important for you. She sounds very sincere at the time but obviously has a grasshopper type memory and I am sure is not malicious but just does not think.

    I am cat crazy so would rather use a trusted source to look after my animals and home than a friend. That is a sure way of ending a friendship. Be firm and kind and just say it is a business arrangement.

    Friends and business DO NOT MIX.

    Most of all be true unto yourself.
    Regards
    Stephanie

  • Annie Sims

    I love the George Zaluki quote, Annie, thank you! And thanks to both you and Sandy for your insight on this subject.