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Tips for Keeping Promises and Commitments

Keep Promises and Commitments


Updated August 30, 2010

Tips for Keeping Promises and Commitments

When you don’t follow through with your commitments, you let others down and hurt relationships.

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Keep Promises and Commitments and Improve Relationships

Following through with and even remembering promises and commitments can sometimes be a struggle for adults with ADHD. Unfortunately, when you don’t follow through with your commitments, you let others down and hurt relationships. Your forgetfulness may even make others feel unimportant and unappreciated. Your behavior might also be perceived as uncaring and irresponsible. In the end, your relationships may quickly become strained.

Below are some tips for remembering to do what you say you are going to do.

Keeping Promises and Commitments

  • When you make a promise to do something, like meet your friend for lunch or leave work early to take your partner to a doctor’s appointment, be sure to write it down. You can even send reminders to yourself through e-mail or leave a reminder message on your answering machine. Develop a system that works for you so you don’t forget these commitments you have made.

  • Be careful not to over-commit to things. It creates bad feelings when you say you are going to do something and are not able to do it. Understand that it is OK to say “no” or a simple “I am sorry, but I just can’t do that now.”

  • It may be that you tend to put off doing things, procrastinating until the very last minute. Though you may eventually follow through with your promise or commitment, your procrastination may be perceived by your friend/partner as disinterest. He or she may feel that you don’t think the commitment is very important when you keep putting it off and then have to rush at the last minute to get it done.

  • If you find that you tend to procrastinate, especially on tasks that aren’t very interesting in the first place, try breaking the task down into smaller chunks. Create a to-do list with the smaller, more simple tasks. Cross off each job as you complete it and reward yourself for each progression toward the goal.

    ADHD can certainly make it difficult to take another person’s needs into consideration, inhibit reactions, manage and control emotions, plan ahead, and more. This is why it is so important to be involved in treatment, actively create routines and develop more productive patterns for interacting and relating socially.

    Read more about Relationships and Adult ADD/ADHD

    Learn additional tips for improving relationships if you have difficulty:
    Saying Things Without Thinking Through Consequences
    Staying Focused on What Others are Saying
    Tips for Better Anger Control

    Additional Reading:


    Michael T. Bell. You, Your Relationship and Your ADD. New Harbinger Publications. 2002.

    Michael T. Bell. Dealing with the Impact of AD/HD on Marriage. Attention Magazine. April 2003.

    Nancy A. Ratey. The Disorganized Mind. St. Martin’s Press. New York. 2008.

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