The chandelier above my front door is exceptionally bright. It makes it impossible to turn it on and be in the room at the same time. I never actually liked the chandelier so getting a new one would be a solid decision. Hell, changing out the light bulbs to the non-runway kind would be a good move.
Three years ago, though, I decided I would get a dimmer switch and install it so that I could tolerate that stupid chandelier.
I Googled the wiring and watched several YouTube videos to make sure I installed it right. I thought I had it. I didn’t. The switch works fine but the slider on the side to dim it does not.
I was so aggravated that it didn’t work that I gave up and never even put the faceplate back on. My three switch light plate has just sat, hanging by red and black wires, for three years. Three. Years.
In that time, I have had four men visit my house and tell me the same thing as they pass the ramshackle light switch next to the front door: “Next time I’m here, I’m going to fix this for you.” Okay. Sounds good.
Four men, three years, one still nonfunctional light switch.
I could muster up the energy to figure it out and redo it. I’m certain it’s not that hard. I just made a simple mistake somewhere.
I could hire someone to fix it. For the love of God, I had handymen practically living in my house through a bathroom remodel. I could have asked any of them to help. I haven’t done any of this.
This light switch has become the light switch of spite. It is the light switch of broken promises.
It’s become a weird litmus test. I leave it like that to test men. It seems odd and perhaps a bit manipulative but it serves a purpose and an important one.
I don't care if a man says nothing. I don’t care if he acknowledges it and tells me I should fix it. But, tell me he’ll fix it and the clock starts ticking.
I drive a hard bargain and I’m okay with that. I’m the kind of person that doesn’t mind having high expectations of people.
I am not interested in any man that will make me a promise and not keep it. It doesn’t matter how small it is. I am a woman who appreciates actions over words. Promising something as simple as fixing a switch is easy. Yet, four men have fallen down on the job of following through on that promise.
If a man is willing to give me an empty promise about a light switch, it makes me question what else he won’t take seriously.
I want a man of his word. I always tell men, when they offer to fix the damn thing, how much it would mean to me and that I would love their help. I don’t expect them to be psychic in knowing those words are a big deal and I take them seriously.
I want someone who wants to invest half an hour into a project they promised to help me with because it would bring me joy, not a guy who is trying to win me over by seeming handy and helpful. Handy and helpful are not handy and helpful without action.
I had a friend ask why I didn’t just remind any of these men of the promise they made to lend me a hand. Why not ask them a few days later when they could help? It’s simple. I shouldn’t have to. I don’t remind people. I don’t nag. Do what you said you’d do or don’t. It tells me your character. Reminding people of promises they made sounds a lot like my second marriage and we all know how that turned out.
I don’t make promises I can’t or won’t keep. It violates the code of my integrity. I believe that we should mean whatever we say or we should keep our mouths shut.
When we don’t keep our promises, we wade into dangerous waters. There’s an unknown we’re dealing with. Everyone has a tipping point. This is when hope turns to resentment. This is where trust gets lost.
If we throw words we don’t mean at people we care about, we’re signaling that they are no more important than those empty words. This breaks connections. It leaves the door wide open to questioning the relationship. If we care about people, we we don’t open that door.
Being careless with our words is being careless with the people we say them to.
There is nothing that is going to win someone over more that being impeccable with your word. Say only what you mean and be careful with how you say it. Words matter more than you could ever know. Hold them sacred.