The psychology behind promises

The psychology behind promises


The foundation of civil society is the belief that, for the most part, people will keep their word and fulfill their implicit or explicit obligations. Though a lot of research has already been done on children’s moral development, none of it addresses the capacity for making and keeping promises. Promises seem to be simple words that are whispered into the air, but they brim with psychological weight.

They keep us bonded with each other, help in building bridges based on trust, and give a proper shape to the landscapes of our relationships and self-perception. From simple grand vows of eternal love to the casual “I’ll get that report done by tomorrow,” promises tend to weave a complex tapestry of human interaction. Deep psychological insights and delving into it reveal a beyond imaginative story that belongs to cooperation, commitment, and a different and delicate dance between expectation and reality.

Also Read: Why Do People Make Resolutions?

What is promise?

To make a promise it takes more than just words. It is an intention statement, a social compact that is said to be a modified interpersonal relationship. According to studies done by psychologists, promises are essential to social cohesiveness. By making a commitment; we demonstrate cooperation and reliability, which are essential traits for establishing and preserving solid bonds with others. As a result, a feeling of mutual reliance and common objectives strengthens communities, which is what holds them together.

Our sense of self is significantly impacted by promises as well. Integrity and self-worth are fundamentally based on our ability to keep our word. According to research keeping your word opens up reward regions in the brain, which elevates your mood and sense of value. On the other hand, breaking a promise can result in uncomfortable thoughts caused by conflicting beliefs, as well as thoughts of shame, remorse, guilt, and cognitive dissonance. This inner struggle drives us to make the necessary corrections and bring peace back into our own lives.

Motivational Impact and Strategic Significance:

Promises have a strong motivating effect that goes beyond self-gratification. Committing to a future action increases its sense of realism and tangibleness, which sets off a series of cognitive processes that improve our likelihood of carrying it out. According to a study individuals who made explicit implementation intentions—that is, “I will do X at Y time in Z place”—were substantially more likely to succeed in their endeavors than those who merely expressed their desires.

Also Read: The Psychology Behind Manipulation

Additionally useful as strategic tools for persuasion and bargaining are promises. We encourage cooperation and agreement by giving something in return. Picture yourself and a colleague engaged in a furious argument over a project deadline. Desperate to find a way out, one suggests they remain late and assist with completing the report in exchange for the other’s consent to present it. This straightforward pledge has the ability to change the balance of power and create a win-win situation.

Is it really important for someone to keep their word?

Nothing in life requires you to keep your word to people. The superior who looks us in our eyes and makes a commitment to something they can’t or won’t do is someone we can’t stand. Don’t be that individual! It’s okay to just set reasonable expectations if you’re unsure about your ability to deliver. Inform your neighbor that although you would love to assist with the block party planning, your busy schedule prevents you from being able to do so. You will check with her the following week. Even when they receive an answer that may not be precisely what they ought to want to hear, people still value honesty.

Keeping Your Words: The Significance of Dedication

When we’re trying to meet the needs of others, we can all be tempted to make kind but impractical promises. If we find ourselves overextending ourselves and rushing to recover from uncomfortable complications, our plans can backfire very quickly.

Luckily, there are tried-and-true methods for creating realistic plans that work for both us and other people. In uncertain times, it is comforting to keep even a single small promise. When we consider the trustworthy individuals in our lives, we can see how they don’t over-promise by only delivering what they can truly deliver. They are familiar with how to use words to express clearly what they can accomplish, so they honor their word.

Also Read: 10 Ways to Build Self-Confidence

We can honor our commitments if we don’t use ambiguous language. It’s true that ambiguous promises result in broken promises and disappointments. Choosing words that lead us instead of leaving us hanging is the foundation of a strong commitment’s language. The way we express our beliefs can make a huge difference between a friendly, straightforward step and a terrifying, intimidating task. Furthermore, and this is even better, speaking clearly makes it simpler for people to understand us.

Importance of promises

Maintaining a promise is as similar to investing in a banking, institution of trust. It is not merely the fulfillment of a duty. According to research trust serves as a social lubricant that helps in lowering the conflict and promoting cooperation among individuals. Maintaining ones importance of words strengthens the bond of the relationships with others. This could be either by demonstrating one’s dependability and dedication. As a result, relationships also flourish by fostering an environment of security and predictability.

Still, things rarely go as planned in life where, despite the best of intentions, it can be impossible to stick to a promise due to unforeseen circumstances. Honest explanations and open communication are essential in these kinds of unfavorable circumstances and situations. According to a study people are surprisingly forgiving when promises are broken, but as long as there is a genuine apology and a detailed justification given. Maintaining trust and minimizing harm can be achieved through demonstrating empathy and transparency.

Also Read: Importance of Trust in Relationships

Impact of Broken Promises

Many times, even with our best intentions, promises aren’t always kept. There may be serious repercussions if this happens. When the promises are broken, its impact can be seen on relationships, which can be weakened, When it comes, to trust, it can be lost, and disappointment and resentment can be left deep down, which makes it nearly impossible to tend the bonds. The nature of a commitment and the motivations behind breaking it, along with the dynamics of the relationships that get involved, all affect how severe the consequences will be.

A possible presence of betrayal of confidence regarding a birthday celebration is not at the same level as missing a deadline on a work assignment. Nevertheless, cheating or breaking someone’s trust may result in long-lasting consequences regardless of the situation. According to research, broken promises can cause rise in emotions such as rage, grief, and even physical discomfort. The recipient of the betrayal may feel exposed and begin to doubt their own judgment, leading to PTSD.

Refrain from over-promising by making your offer clear and precise. Sure bets—certain, observable actions that one can rely on—are valued by people in uncertain circumstances. Offer what is manageable, and attainable in manageable steps, and avoid getting ahead of yourself.Make an honest assessment of your abilities and limitations, taking into account any practical obstacles to your job, health, finances, or other obligations. Even if you really want to help and care deeply, you might have to say no.


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