My Amazing Penchant for Letting People Down
I let people down. That should come as no surprise to people who know me. Perhaps more importantly, however, it should come as no surprise to people who know much about people.
We let each other down … a lot:
- I said I’d get it done, but I didn’t.
- You sent me an email 10 minutes ago, and I haven’t responded.
- I told you I’d have the project done by Friday, but I’m not going to get it finished until Monday.
- I do love you. But I also like catfish noodling with the boys on Saturdays.
We human beings, it seems, have a driving need to trust others, and to have them trust us. Social organization depends on it. People can’t live together for very long in community if they can’t trust each other.
All of which has me thinking about our commitments to one another—in particular, my commitments to those who count on me, and my amazing penchant for letting them down.
The predicament of human productivity: It seems that the more I do, the more people count on me to do even more.
Beyond the tautology, and the temptation to hear that as merely whining, I think there’s something important in this recognition of our plight not only about our need to be trustworthy, but also about the kind of expectations people have of us—and just as importantly, about the kinds of expectations we will allow ourselves to be held responsible for.