Few things hurt more than broken promises. The ability to keep a promise versus break a promise are linked to our ability to trust someone. When promises are not fulfilled, it tends to be very hard to feel secure in a relationship. When we don’t feel secure, we start to doubt. When we doubt, we start to feel a bit resentment. It leads to a downward spiral.
But what if… we changed our view (and understanding) of what is actually a promise versus what is simply possibility.
A common misunderstanding, and disconnect, for men and woman is what actually is considered a promise.
One incredibly important thing to understand is that men often (very often) (almost all the time) speak in possibility. Unless he says. “I absolutely 100% promise with a my entire soul”, then it’s likely a just a possibility of something that may happen.
On the flipside, women listen (and speak) in promise. Hence the common phrase we’ve all asked ourselves, “Why would he say that, if he didn’t mean it.” Ladies want promises.
One of my favorite examples, that Jairek uses to demonstrate this topic, is when a couple has been on a few dates and this happens:
Guy SAYS: You like Apple Pie? My mom makes the best apple pie, you’ll have to try it!
Girl HEARS: I want you to meet my mom. You’re going to get along so well. I’m going to bring you to my parent’s place for dinner and my mom’s apple pie.
Guy MEANS: If we ever happen to be in the same city, on the same day, at the same time, and my mom happens to be there… with apple pie. You would like the apple pie. Or, if I ever have apple pie in my fridge from my mom’s, I’ll share it with you. If you come over before I eat it all.
Do you see the difference? Guys speak in possibility, girls listen in promise. This creates VERY interesting situations, which often leaves women feeling very upset because what a man said sounded like a promise, when in actuality it was very much a possibility.
Personally, understanding men in terms of promise versus possibility has created a huge peace of mind for me. (Especially because I am the queen of getting overly excited about anything and everything… I easily get my hopes up.) Now, when I hear my man (or any man for that matter) sharing an idea, I remind myself “this is a possibility”. This way if it happens, I’m OVER the moon. If it doesn’t, it’s okay. Regardless, it is a beautiful idea. Stressing, worrying, crying over it, serves us no good.
See Also: How Men & Women Decide
While that scenario about apple pie and meeting the parents is definitely exaggerated, the important part is this:
Men: When you are about to say something that might or could happen, STOP. Think. Proceed with caution. What you are about to say, is likely going to be foreseen as a promise. Therefore, the next words out of your mouth should only be those which you can: 100% as a man can and will back up 2000% with every ounce of a man that you are. If what you are about to say is just an idea, or possibility, do yourself a favor and warn your lady. “I’m not completely sure if this will happen, but here’s what I’m thinking…” You will save many women from much heartbreak.
Women: When you are listening to a man, do yourself a favor and listen with a ‘possibility filter’. For example, “I’ll call you after work.” This means he MAY call you, or he may NOT call you. So rather than telling yourself that he’s definitely going to call/wait by the phone. Tell yourself “He MIGHT call me after work, but it’s not definite.” Do not get your hopes and expectations set so high that you only set yourself up for failure. At the end of the day, it was NOT a promise, even if it sounded like it. It was a possibility.
For women, we get VERY upset and disappointed and even ask ourselves “Why did he even bother saying that he would call me, if he wasn’t interested…” The thing is he was interested, he meant what he said, when he said it. However, things change and life happens. At the end of the day, what we should focus on are not the small ‘promises’ we hear, but rather a man’s overall reliability.
On a positive note, here’s a little research I found on breaking and keeping promises in relationships. Hopefully this provides, both men and women, a piece of mind knowing that when promises are broken, it doesn’t mean they don’t care about their needs. If fact, it may truly be a result of not having the ability to fulfill ALL the promises they made:
“They found no relationship between responsiveness motivation and promise keeping. Those who were very concerned with their partner’s needs were just as likely to break promises as those who reported being less concerned with their partner’s needs.” – Read more here on the study here.
Try out that tip and let me know how it goes! I’d love to hear!