Bailing Out at the Last Minute

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Click here for her website:

CHITCHAT:  My above memoir was just included in the Pretty Progressive website as part of a list under the title, “Women’s Book Club Made Awesome Thanks to These 28 Discussion-Worthy Books.”  To view mine, scroll down to #19 at this link:

Now, on to my blog:

handshake 2How important is it to stick to your word? I mean, what’s the big deal if you back out of a promise or commitment?  I’ve addressed this subject before (see blog of May 14, 2018: “Keep Your Promises”), but this is a different slant.

To most people, it can be irritating, upsetting, or even painful when someone reneges on plans with very little notice.  The one depending upon your acting toward a specific end may have staked a lot on that promise.  They may have switched around other obligations, refused new invitations, or generally rearranged things in their life with your agreement as the catalyst.

We all have to change our arrangements from time to time; we’re human. However, try to give lots of advance notice. Backing out of a commitment at the last minute is fraught with all types of fallout.

The practitioners of short notice bailing-out may do so for acceptable reasons.  Something seriously urgent may have come up, they may legitimately have been delayed, or they may have had an accident. But often, it’s something as simple as: they don’t feel like it, they expended their energy on other activities that day, or they got a better deal.  I’ve been at the receiving end of such behavior from time to time.  What I’d like to ask those actors is, “How do you feel when someone backs out on you late-term?”

I remember once a friend who was divorced telling me that her young son had waited for hours in front of the house for his father to pick him up for their planned excursion, but the father never arrived. The son was devastated. The father’s subsequent excuse was lame and selfish.

I have been involved in relationships where the other party became angry and spontaneously backed out of a promise or commitment as a means of control or to inflict hurt. Of course, I learned never to trust their promises, and I proceeded accordingly.

Here’s a variation on a theme:  Years ago, I had a friend who, when I’d suggest a particular date to meet, would check her calendar and tell me, “I don’t have any plans for that day, yet.” I couldn’t figure out if that was a yes or a no. What exactly does “yet” mean in that context? It became clear that her pattern was to hold me off to see if she got a more exciting opportunity.  She probably practiced that technique with most in her sphere, placing herself in a position to wiggle out if she desired.  Needless to say, she is now a former friend.

When others rely on your word, and it soon becomes clear that said word is unreliable or of a waffling nature, the blow back to you will be a loss of trust and a rift in the relationship. Go ahead, take the plunge–commit. Then, do your utmost to follow through, even if you’re pissed off or get a better, last-minute offer.  If you can’t seem to do that, don’t be surprised as one friendship after another melts away


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Photo credit: chez_sugi on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

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Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizens, successful aging

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