Author Topic: "I have a prior committment that I cannot break."  (Read 7110 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

MrTango

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2254
"I have a prior committment that I cannot break."
« on: July 15, 2011, 11:37:14 AM »
That is the exact phrase my high school band director told us to use when someone asked us to do something on an evening when a Marching Band event (or other concert) was scheduled.  The schedules were presented at the start of the school year, so there was no excuse to miss these events.

I remember being highly amused at how red his face turned when I turned his phrase back on him when he tried to spring another event on us (that wasn't on the original schedule) with about two weeks notice.

I still use the phrase on occasion.  It's direct and doesn't leave room for questions (especially once it's been repeated verbatim a couple times).

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5024
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: "I have a prior committment that I cannot break."
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2011, 03:06:44 PM »
I love when people try to weasel around it.  It's like "What part of "cannot" don't you understand?"  If I was able to work your new event into my already established schedule, I would let you know or try to work with you.  Cannot means cannot; it is not a word with grey shades.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Raintree

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5938
Re: "I have a prior committment that I cannot break."
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2011, 02:53:57 AM »
I love when people try to weasel around it.  It's like "What part of "cannot" don't you understand?"  If I was able to work your new event into my already established schedule, I would let you know or try to work with you.  Cannot means cannot; it is not a word with grey shades.

Tell that to my former retail job. Constantly calling me last minute to see if I could come in and cover a shift, and wouldn't take no for an answer. I was trying to do a third year university paper one time, and I had set aside that entire day to do it. It was due the next day. Talk about last minute, but such is the life of somebody trying to juggle a job and school. The paper HAD to be done. I needed the entire day, from morning to night (and, as it turned out, into the wee hours of the next morning). Work supervisor: "Well if you can't do a full shift, can't you just do 4 hours? We really need you."

No, no, and no!! I won, but I got attitude over it. How I wish I'd just said, "I have a prior commitment that I cannot break."

Spoder

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3657
Re: "I have a prior committment that I cannot break."
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2011, 03:24:55 AM »
For me, it gets tricky when it's friends asking, not bosses/teachers/acquaintances. My friends are a pretty casual bunch and, rightly or wrongly, plenty of them would say 'Oh, what are you doing?'

Then I'm stuck either lying, or admitting that I've promised myself to drink wine and reading a book.  ::)

O'Dell

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4372
Re: "I have a prior committment that I cannot break."
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2011, 10:02:59 AM »
For me, it gets tricky when it's friends asking, not bosses/teachers/acquaintances. My friends are a pretty casual bunch and, rightly or wrongly, plenty of them would say 'Oh, what are you doing?'

Then I'm stuck either lying, or admitting that I've promised myself to drink wine and reading a book.  ::)

My friends are casual too, so I would have the same issue...BUT it's perfectly acceptable to admit to wanting some alone time. My plan is quite often that I want some pj's and chick flick time. No one has argued with me about that yet. :)
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman

siamesecat2965

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8572
Re: "I have a prior committment that I cannot break."
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2011, 11:20:27 AM »
If there's one thing I've learned from ehell, its that I DO NOT need to give any kind of explanation why I can or cannot do something.  To the point where it irks me to no end when I hear friends, co-workers etc. going into excruciating detail as to WHY they cannot do something :)

I've found I'm much happier simply doing that, although my stock phrase is generally "I'm sorry, I have plans"  which covers a whole bunch of stuff.  No one has to know that my plans are only to sit on my couch in my jammies and watch tv all day!

jmarvellous

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3357
Re: "I have a prior committment that I cannot break."
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2011, 11:24:29 AM »
I guess I don't usually speak that formally, but "I have plans" or "I will not be available" are more typical of my responses in these situations.

Ordogirl

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Re: "I have a prior committment that I cannot break."
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2011, 08:52:56 AM »
For me, it gets tricky when it's friends asking, not bosses/teachers/acquaintances. My friends are a pretty casual bunch and, rightly or wrongly, plenty of them would say 'Oh, what are you doing?'

Then I'm stuck either lying, or admitting that I've promised myself to drink wine and reading a book.  ::)

My friends are casual too, so I would have the same issue...BUT it's perfectly acceptable to admit to wanting some alone time. My plan is quite often that I want some pj's and chick flick time. No one has argued with me about that yet. :)

I think it's okay to say to close friends in this situation, "I've already made a date with myself.  I need some 'me' time."  I've used some form of this a couple of times, and if it's said in a friendly way, there is usually very little argument.

VorFemme

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12623
  • Strolls with scissors! Too tired to run today!
Re: "I have a prior committment that I cannot break."
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2011, 11:46:03 AM »
I once got a phone call on a day I'd set aside to dye my hair - as in the dye was mixed, the gloves were on, and I answered the phone ONLY because I hadn't started spreading the dye in my hair yet.............and this was before Caller ID, so I had to answer it to learn who it was. 

The phone stayed off the hook until I had the timer started after getting the dye in my hair, at that point.

I no longer dye my hair - last time my scalp itched, not a good sign - but I have been known to check the phone display to see who it is - then decide what to do (relatives & friends - I usually answer - businesses can leave a message).
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

CakeEater

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2522
Re: "I have a prior committment that I cannot break."
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2011, 12:03:39 AM »
For me, it gets tricky when it's friends asking, not bosses/teachers/acquaintances. My friends are a pretty casual bunch and, rightly or wrongly, plenty of them would say 'Oh, what are you doing?'

Then I'm stuck either lying, or admitting that I've promised myself to drink wine and reading a book.  ::)

I'd have been someone who would have asked you that before. In an 'interested in your life' way, not a 'what's more important  than my event' way. But I try hard not to do it any more.

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5024
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: "I have a prior committment that I cannot break."
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2011, 12:45:44 AM »
For me, it gets tricky when it's friends asking, not bosses/teachers/acquaintances. My friends are a pretty casual bunch and, rightly or wrongly, plenty of them would say 'Oh, what are you doing?'

Then I'm stuck either lying, or admitting that I've promised myself to drink wine and reading a book.  ::)

I'd have been someone who would have asked you that before. In an 'interested in your life' way, not a 'what's more important  than my event' way. But I try hard not to do it any more.

Same here.  With me, it's just curiosity.  If you're doing something exciting, I want to get excited talking about it with you!  I am trying to break that habit.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

TeamBhakta

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2454
Re: "I have a prior committment that I cannot break."
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2011, 01:51:41 AM »
I am so glad my parents taught me to use that phrase when I was a teenager and first started working (either that or look at the caller ID and not answer). Because I eventually had a string of fast food bosses who would try to pull "Oh, Tommy  just called and can't come in, can you show up in a few minutes (on your day off) ?" or "Suzy is late for her shift. You'll have to work Suzy's shift / or stay just until Suzy shows up." Always put my foot down and never gave in. I feel bad for people when I go into a restaurant and they're saying to a friend "I had to stay for three shifts here today! It was my day off, but they asked for me to come in. And then Tony didn't show up, so they asked me to stay for him. And then I had to stay another shift 'cuz Betty quit." I just wanna shake them and say "put your foot down with them"