The Purpose of Promises

I remember as a child, a promise I made to my parents that I would stay innocent forever. We can all agree that’s a joke.

I now realise all the empty promises that were made in my youth were not to make one side happy but instead to keep the relationship between indivduals intact. It was the vows we made to each other that strengthened our connection, whether it was to my first real boyfriend in high school or the friends I had in kindergarten.

It was easier back then, when a relationship was not based on social media presence; calling the person from a landline and setting up a meeting without a guarantee of them being there other than the word they gave. Compared to today, we had more trust in the word because a simple text could mean that plans would be changed.

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I guess where I’m going with this piece is to ask: do promises still hold a purpose in this modern world?

So I asked, and the answers I received were as below:

Depends on the person; their moral compass, their core values. If they are sincere, then so are their promises; but it’s rare. Especially in the younger generations, but even then; the whole argument about nature vs nurture comes in.”

“Promises always have a purpose. It just depends on the intention of the person making the promise. The person being promised (in most cases) assumes the promise is valid, and the promised intends to keep it. A lot of times promises are in the form of an apology, or a stall tactic, instead of a commitment. Texting and its implications is just a method of communication. It’s the same comparison of letters and telegrams, technology just facilitates.  But it never had to do with the method. It’s how serious you are about doing something and whether or not you mean your words.”

With those answers in mind… is it even worth making promises anymore? Too many people today take for granted the trust they are given and bail at the first chance when they don’t think it’s necessary to stay. I guess it’s a matter of how each individual defines a promise.

The dictionary defines the word in thirteen different situations with the purpose of assurance and a ground of expectation included. But with today’s culture being linked around technology, a promise could be on the same grounds of being polite. 

Before you ask what is the correlation of promises and being polite – the simplest example I can give is the mere text of “I’ll talk to you later” followed by the excuse of forgetting accompanied by an apology; or on a less personal note  receiving an event invite on Facebook. Our immediate reaction is to click the maybe button or not responding altogether.

I think the problem with promises in this modern era is the practicality of breaking them; add in the impending fear of commitment that is killing the necessity to be sincere, it’s easier to apologise than it is to tell the truth.

This being said, I am not suprised though it concerns me if the next wedding video or announcement I see on my news feed includes “I shall love you whenever it’s convenient for me” – because why not be honest from the beginning instead of vowing things you can’t guarantee like ’til death do us part’? 

It’s a shame that pinky promises aren’t covenant in the modern day. Maybe if it were, promises we make daily will remain unbroken.

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