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36 Quotations on Promises

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep.

- Robert Frost, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening", two lines


A set of relevant attitudes could help proficiency in making promises, to escape making them over one's head.

After we break a main promise, only verbosity isn't likely to remedy the issue.

All promises don't need to be broken, and still, before promising a lot, calculate a bit while reckoning with the unforeseen. Thus, before promising a lot, don't forget to probe into what sordid things could follow, for broken, great promises can amount to affect life or death.

An honest man's word is his bond as long as he manages to keep it.

Before signing an oath, make sure there are no tricks involved from the other party, and also make sure there is a way to withdraw, in case.

Character flaws, corruption, extortion and crime sometimes make people break promises and work against moral in other ways too.

Eggs and oaths are easily broken. - Danish Proverb

Everyone who promises too much is in danger of . . . the road to perdition. - Carl Jung

Good men promise little and do much; wicked men promise much and perform nothing. - Talmud

If you think you can divine the future in all its details, test your skills a lot before promisimg this and that.

In the midst of great joy, do not promise anyone anything. In the midst of great anger, do not answer anyone's letter. - Chinese Proverb

It could help to use plain, simple sentences. It is wise not to let verbiose fluff make risky promises creep in and get you unawares.

It helps to be morally responsible; to demand promises should not serve exploiting or harming others.

Moral integrity may be hard-won and hard to accept for mean ones lacking in it; better be aware of that.

Neither great nor false promises may help you out the the troubles they might engender.

Never promise more than you can perform. - Publilius Syrus

Never trust exaggerated promise-making.

One must have a good memory to be able to keep the promises that one makes. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Promise little and do much. - Hebrew Proverb

Promise only what you can deliver. - Author Unknown

Promises are like babies: easy to make, hard to deliver. - Unknown

Promises should neither be made to, nor demanded of, children [and other dependents]. Why . . .? Relations . . . should be built on trust. . . . Promises build up unrealistic expectations . . . Life is not without mishaps . . . [some] belatedly wish they had not [sworn things].

Promises about future good behaviour or the cessation of past misbehaviour should not be requested or extracted . . .. When a [beginner] makes a promise that is not her own, she draws a check on a bank in which she has no account. We should not encourage such fraudulent practices. - With Haim Ginott, (2003, 61)

Rash promises may not forestall any impending disaster.

Seek not to let anyone rob a life by severe promises. Guard against it.

Stay away from misfit pledges; do it of your own choice.

Stupidity has many other outlets than promises well over one's head.

The best way to keep one's word is not to give it. - Napoleon Bonaparte

To guard against breaking a promise, don't promise.

A promise can be marringly demanding, especially when it reaches into the future.

To act contrary to a given promise, is a grave breach of trust. - Talmud

To "promise" you must be able to deliver. - Jerome Bruner, Acts of Meaning, p. 63.

We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to perform what we can't. - Abraham Lincoln

We often promise according to our hopes only . . . - With de la Rochefoucault

When the other party wilfully breaks a mutual pledge, we may find the best ways out for ourselves.

When something unexpected happens after you have given a reasonably safe promise so that it is shattered, at least try to pick up the splinters.


Making promises, keeping promises, breaking promises, Literature  

Bruner, Jerome. 1990. Acts of Meaning (the Jerusalem-Harvard Lectures). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Ginott, Haim. 2003. Between Parent and Child: The Bestselling Classic That Revolutionized Parent-Child Communication. Rev., updated and ed. by Dr. Alice Ginott and Dr. H. Wallace Goddard. New York: Three Rivers Press.

Kreitner, Roy. 2007. Calculating Promises: The Emergence of Modern American Contract Doctrine. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

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