Does the failure of an action to succeed a string of words make it automatically into a lie, or can it merely indicate a delay between thought and action, spoken words and action, or misinterpretation of words followed by non-action? Are there phrases and afterthoughts that undermine and negate the initial statement of promised and anticipated actions, such that they “justify” the non-action?
For example, if a person says to another, “I will meet you at X restaurant at noon tomorrow,” but upon showing up at the place, the other person never appears; later, you bump into that same person and inquire about his non-appearance, and he states, “Oh, I became too busy and couldn’t come.” Does that succeeding statement negate the previous statement; does it “explain” it; does it “supersede” it; or was it merely a statement that tells you that the person making it is rude, a bore, and someone to henceforth be suspicious of and mistrusting towards?
What if the same person had said some other things, like: “I thought better of it” or “I decided that I didn’t want to go out to lunch with you”. As to the former, one might conclude that the person was somewhat odd; as to the latter, that he or she was unfriendly and did not deserve further consideration. But what of the following statement: “I am so sorry. My mother was taken to the hospital suddenly and I completely forgot! Please accept my sincere apologies!” This last admission, of course, is the one that “justifies” the breaking of the prior commitment, and can be seen as the one where “forgiveness” and further consideration is accorded.
In every case, the action which follows after words determines the future course of how we view the person who spoke the words; yet, context and content do matter.
Take for example another scenario, where the person says, “I may be at X restaurant at noon tomorrow, or I may not.” You show up at the place at noon and the person who made the statement does not show up. Later, when you “bump into” the person, you say, “Why didn’t you show up at X restaurant,” and the person responds with, “Oh, as I said, I might have, but decided not to.” Was there a broken promise? Did the actions performed fail to “meet” with the words previously spoken? No, and not only that – one could even argue that the person was quite true to his “word”.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the connection between “action” after “words” is always an important consideration to take into account, for there will be many steps through the administrative process where compatibility between the two will have to take place.
Will your doctor support your Federal Disability Retirement case when the “crunch time” arrives? (The doctor will need to). Will your Human Resource personnel do as they say? (Likely not). Will your supervisor timely complete the SF 3112B? (Hmmm…). Will OPM “act upon” the Federal Disability Retirement application after “saying” that they will? (Again, hmmmm…..).
Action after words – the foundation of sincerity.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire