Let’s face it: the advertisement industry isn’t going to change overnight. While we should remain skeptical of ad promises, I advocate keeping human promises civil.
Here’s a simple guideline:
1. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Don’t request promises you know others can’t keep.
Be reasonable. Don’t make some outlandish claim and later go back on your word. I know I’m definitely guilty of this, and it’s something I’m working on being better at.
Similarly, don’t demand promises from others that you know can’t be fulfilled. You not only set yourself up for disappointment, but you also are exerting an unhealthy amount of pressure on others.
2. Keep promises rare.
By reducing the number of promises in our lives (both making and receiving), we give weight to the meaning of each promise.
3. Set expectations instead.
Cooperation requires some degree of certainty. While it’s not possible to have 100% certainty (promises should be reserved for when 100% certainty is necessary), we can still show our good intent by setting expectations.
Learning to balance between promises and expectations will go a long way toward increasing the quality of communication with others.