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Watch your mouth

Anneliese Woolford | Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Anyone who knows me also knows the one pet peeve that stands out above all others in my book: When you say you’re going to do something, do it.This past weekend, I got a call from my best friend. At one point she halted the conversation to point out, “If there’s one thing about you, I know that you always keep your word.”I take pride in the fact that I hold to my commitments. Not only do I recognize this trait in myself, but as others get to know me, they start to appreciate it as well.I don’t care if it’s something as simple as making a phone call that you said you’d make, or following through on a favor that you promised to do – chances are, another person is counting on you. Then again, maybe that’s just my own wishful thinking.Perhaps I’m naïve to presume that others take commitments as seriously as I do. After meeting the people I have at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s during my four years here, I’ve finally realized that everyone comes from a different background and, hence, has a varied moral upbringing. Looked at one way, the fact that I’m just now recognizing these circumstances could be seen as pathetic. The light bulb definitely should have turned on a lot sooner.Another approach, however, presents the question of whether or not it really is too much to ask that people keep their word. It’s a safe bet to assume that the person on the receiving end will expect it. After all, isn’t it better to assume and live up to someone’s expectations than it is to brush off commitment and risk upsetting someone’s feelings?The way I look at it – and I promise this is the most philosophical side of me those of you reading this will witness – is that, if you can’t hold someone to their word, what can you hold them to? With commitment comes trust. Therefore, when a commitment is let down, so is trust (and respect too, I might add). To say that everyone upholds their end of a deal 100 percent of the time would be terribly utopist of me. So what? Who’s to say there’s anything wrong with that? In my realm of friends, family and people I meet, I do expect everyone to stay as true to their word as I do to mine. It’s as though, initially, they get a clean slate and I give them full respect without passing judgment. So generous, I know.But seriously, all I’m asking is that the next time you say you’ll do something, keep in mind that there are still people like me who put a lot of worth in words. Actions speak louder. A little effort goes a long way.

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer. Contact Anneliese Woolford at [email protected]