I was fourteen years old the first time a friend “no-showed” and left me stranded on a weekend night. I was stunned and wounded. My expectations had been high and nothing had prepared me for the possibility of disappointment. As dysfunctional as my family was, I had been taught to keep my word and that others kept their word when the stakes were high. A sibling maybe, but a friend would never no-show and act as if nothing had happened.
Later I would be disappointed when…
- clients, bosses, and coworkers told me they would advocate for me and didn’t
- employers failed to follow through
- employees no called no showed
- romantic interests betrayed
- and…I succumbed to being a no-show myself
But, at least I became wise to the why.
We over-promise because…
- originally, we had good intentions
- we were afraid to tell you the truth
- we didn’t know how to say no
- something better came up
- the cost of fulfillment was too high
- we were embarrassed, or didn’t know how to tell you our plans had changed
- we hoped you would forget about it
- it was always about us, not you
- we wanted to avoid an argument, conflict, or tears
None of us are strangers to the “no show” pain. That’s why I am amazed that we can still rationalize doing it to each other.
Not so long ago, I had to choose between keeping a commitment vs. fulfilling a major bucket-list item. I struggled with it for a day or so and decided I couldn’t let the opportunity pass. I became a no show for people who were counting on me (even though I called and cancelled the commitment before flying off to Alaska). I wish I hadn’t.
The trip, although beautiful, turned into a debacle, complete with painful misunderstandings and disappointments.
No-shows never win.