Pet peeves. We all have them. No matter how big or small they are, these personal aggravations can often bring out our inner “Mommy Dearest” reactions the moment they’re triggered. Leaving the offender thankful that there are no wire hangers, or weapons of choice, in sight.
Anyone who has ever lived with me knows that I have a no-tolerance-policy for dirty microwaves. I’m sure that most of my chef friends would call foul on the fact that I sometimes heat my food through electromagnetic radiation. But cooking choices aside, I find it completely grotesque when I open a microwave door and find food splattered everywhere! Who wants to heat up their meal in a space that looks like the food was sick on its own stomach? Not me. I’m not naming any names (Dad and brother-in-law Angelo), but over the holidays, I found it necessary to leave a friendly post-it reminder for all microwave users. It simply read: Don’t even think about heating up your food without covering it with a paper towel first! My dad laughed when he saw my note. It worked for the first couple of days. And then, it appeared that old habits starting taunting my pet peeve again. And so, without my wire hanger, I started cleaning up after the mystery microwave offenders. I know that while these infrared explosions of messiness caused a small annoyance for me, there are certainly worse things in this world than a dirty microwave. (Yes Michael Symon, I know that the worse thing is the microwave itself).
Some pet peeves, you learn to live with. Like a husband who blurts out the ending of a movie when you’re only 30 minutes into watching it. And a wife who drives too slow in the fast lane while constantly critiquing your automotive skills. Or a partner who, God forbid, uses wire hangers! (Insert sarcasm). But as I was sitting down to write this blog, I thought about a more serious pet peeve of mine that recently presented itself. And it’s one that bothers me every time it happens. It drives me crazy when people don’t keep their word. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. It’s a simple concept to understand. Yet, so many people struggle to follow through on their commitments.
Some people overcommit. They want to say yes to everything. And I’m sure they’re well intentioned. But science has yet to find a way for one person to be in two places at the same time. So, when you look at your schedule and see that you made a promise to be in one place, don’t say yes to the second request that is asking for the same date and time. Sometimes the RSVP should clearly be “no.”
Which leads me to the next reason why someone might not follow through on a commitment: Because something better comes along. I used to be one of the worst offenders of this fact. I would say yes to one event, like dinner with a friend. And then I would get a better invitation, like last-minute tickets to the Justin Timberlake concert in the 5th row. Who wouldn’t want to see JT croon “Suit and Tie” while bringing his “Sexy Back” when he tells the sold out arena of screaming fans to “Rock Your Body”? It was one of the best concerts I’ve been to, and I don’t regret my choice. But still, I didn’t keep my word to my dinner date because I thought something better came along. And I needed to be honest with myself that I committed my own pet peeve crime.
Let’s move on to the group of people who say “yes” even though they know that they will eventually change their minds and say “no.” These are the “NO-staller’s.” The people who want to say no, but they’re afraid to say no. So, they say “yes” upon first request knowing that eventually they will back out of their commitment with an excuse. Excuses like, “Something unexpected came up,” “I’m just too busy and overwhelmed,” or “I’m not feeling good” (even though it’s a lie). In other words, they stall the “no” by giving a false “yes” or “maybe.” Trust me, for those of us on the receiving end of this, we would much rather have you say “no” right away than have you back out at the last minute or the day before. It’s ok to say no. It won’t hurt our feelings. (Unless we’re asking you out on a date. Then it might hurt our feelings. But hey, you win some, and some just say no.)
Sometimes people need to break commitments. I’m not talking about the psychology of relationship commitments (that another blog for another day). But there are times when we have every intention of following through on our word and then life happens and our plans are derailed. One of the kids gets sick (for real)... There’s a crisis at the office (and you’re not making it up)... You have a family member in need of your attention (and while you would rather go to the cookout with friends, your family comes first). Life doesn’t always go as planned. And sometimes you can’t follow through on a commitment. But be sure that you have a good reason for backing out (or be up front and honest when you cancel).
Try your hardest to be a person of your word. After all, don’t you want the same from others?
Don’t treat your word as a multiple choice test that makes you second guess your answer. When you commit to something, make it your final answer. Otherwise, say “no” before you say “yes.”