Why do people seek to reassure me with the phrase “I haven’t forgotten you”


I’m waiting, waiting, waiting for someone to come through for me, to make good on a promise. I’m concerned because the time is fast approaching when it will be to late for the person to help me. Did she forget to come pick me up? Then I get the call.

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you.

Now I feel worse. Had she forgotten, a reminder would remedy the situation. Here’s what I heard:

I remember what I am supposed to do for you. How could I forget about a promise I freely made. I am choosing to do something else, with the knowledge that you are, at this very moment, waiting for me to keep my word. Knowledge of the expectation of help I created in your mind, and awareness of the consequences you will face for my failure are not sufficient motivation for me to follow through.

I see

Let me tell you what I see

Not knowing, forgetting–fixable. Knowing and not caring–a permanent state of affairs that no false statement of reassurance can correct.

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you, I simply don’t care enough to keep my word. But at least I can offer the conciliation that the awareness of my failure makes me feel some kind if way.

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