It’s a very sad reflection that we live in a world where our default position is distrust. The awful prediction of no good deed going unpunished is realised more often than is healthy for our collective psyche. And yet, each of us yearn for people we can rely on, situations where the outcome is always win-win, thus enabling us to live lives that are secure, productive and fulfilled.
Are all these pipe dreams then? How can we protect ourselves from the hopelessness of expected failure time and time again?
The topic of this post came to me from a recent conversation with a friend. We were talking about other friends that we no longer see because their actions, which were highly erratic, belied their spoken willingness to meet. We could never guarantee that a planned social event would actually take place because despite lengthy arrangements and several reconfirmations, they would either change plans at the last minute or just not show up.
The upshot of this behaviour was that planning to meet with them became less and less frequent and at the time that we had our conversation had stopped altogether. Two completely different sets of friends, but the same result.
A very good and true result
At the root of it, unreliable relationships are dishonest. It is unfortunate that it has become so rife these days that we are mildly surprised at people who keep their word, who follow through. But nonetheless, it is dishonest – a schism between what is said and what is done, that leaves the recipient bewildered at best and furious at worst. And for what reason?
It is the simplest thing in the world,to say what you mean and mean what you say. So why is it so rare to find?
When I was younger (much younger) I used to try to see the other person’s point of view, try to find some rationale as to why they might behave in sup-par ways that I did not understand. In fact, could not understand, no matter how hard I tried. With advancing years, I have simply stopped trying to see anything but the grim reality of it. People who are unreliable cannot be trusted with my friendship or affection. In the long run, their lack of trustworthiness translates into a lot of irritation and wasted time on my part, neither of which I wish to include in my life.
So from this vantage point, unreliable = disposable
For any kind of relationship to be viable, a foundation of trust in non-negotiable. When someone repeatedly excuses themselves from being accountable by ducking and diving, that erases trust, sooner or later. Sooner if you are really plugged into reality and care anything for your own well-being. Ultimately, whatever the initial impetus was to start the relationship, whether commercial, friendship or romantic, being reliably unreliable will ensure that the recipient of this behaviour will replace it with apathy and an equal uncaring whether it survives or not.
This is manifested in refund requests, lawsuits, divorce filings and broken friendships. As mentioned earlier, all of these are good and true. Because without trust, without reliability, there is no viable relationship.
I only wish more people would come to this realisation sooner and save themselves a great deal of sorrow, anger and confusion over people and companies that do not care enough to make themselves reliable and therefore, indispensable.