ESL here, please be understanding.

Someone has made some promises to you, but he not only does not realize them, but also gives you the impression he is not trying. He tries to keep you happy or keep the issue under control by:

  • changing the subject
  • saying "I will get back to you on that.." but never doing so
  • etc.

It is not that he does not want to do it. He does.. but not enough. He seems to have higher priority things to do.

How can I express this briefly and preferably using a verb. Example: You are .... me/this issue.

  • "Politicking" or "glad-handing".
    – Hot Licks
    May 8, 2019 at 19:59
  • This is a known person to me, it is a business dealing.
    – mehmet
    May 8, 2019 at 20:17
  • 1
    There's always "the ol' run-around".
    – Hot Licks
    May 8, 2019 at 21:38
  • @HotLicks I think it is pretty close dictionary.com/browse/runaround would you like to write it as an answer?
    – mehmet
    May 8, 2019 at 22:04
  • I don't do answers, generally. Someone else is welcome to appropriate the word and make it their answer.
    – Hot Licks
    May 8, 2019 at 22:09

4 Answers 4


I did not realize that you wanted to describe his attitude toward you instead of his attitude toward his promise.

If that is the case, then you are being treated like a Red-Headed Stepchild:

A person or thing that is neglected, unwanted, or mistreated

or a second-class citizen:

A person belonging to a social or political group whose rights and opportunities are inferior to those of the dominant group in a society

Original answer below

The closest I can think of is procrastinating:

to be slow or late about doing something that should be done

This still implies a lack of desire but not necessarily because he made a false promise. The lack of desire may very well be due to higher priority issues as you noted, or may be due to some unpleasant aspect of keeping the promise.

I want to pay my bills, for example, but don't enjoy it so end up procrastinating

In your sample sentence:

You are procrastinating about keeping your promise.

  • true, the attitude towards the things to be done is procrastinating. how about the attitude towards the person?
    – mehmet
    May 8, 2019 at 21:54

Updated to reflect the change in question. In most situations in which someone is avoiding doing something, it is because they do not want to do it (which is where you get such answers as "slow-walking," "procrastinating," and "runaround").

If you believe that he does want to help, but other things continue to get in the way, you might want a way to say that he is not prioritizing you, or that he is not valuing you. In the form of a single verb, he is neglecting you, belittling you, denigrating you, or disregarding you.

Original answer: The term you are looking for is slow-walking.


  • sorry question could have been clearer, but, it is not that he does not want to do it. He does.. but not as much. Maybe has higher priority things to do.
    – mehmet
    May 8, 2019 at 19:41
  • I just updated the question to better reflect that.
    – mehmet
    May 8, 2019 at 20:16
  • I've updated my answer with some more words that might better reflect what you feel is going on, then. Normally if someone is avoiding doing something it's assumed that they do not want to do it, but you think (or at least want to imply) that this person is simply preoccupied with other things. May 9, 2019 at 2:42

Not keeping a promise is a breach of social contract. It is an act of 'bad faith'.

For example, Fred agrees (promise=contract) to go to the movies Monday night with you. On Sunday, an old friend calls and asks him to a baseball game. He'd rather go to the game with his old froend than see a movie with you. So, he phones you and cancels going to the movie with you (because he has found something better to do).

(Not worthy)


abdicate: fail to fulfil or undertake (a responsibility or duty). "the government was accused of abdicating its responsibility"

shirk: avoid or neglect (a duty or responsibility). "I do not shirk any responsibility in this matter"

Shirk is less formal and I'd say a bit more crude than abdicate. There may be other synonyms to those words that could be used like "evade" or "neglect", depending on the situation.


I thought of some more information that doesn't answer the question directly but could be useful culturally. If this information is being conveyed in an environment where politeness or co-operation is a priority, eg. a business, it's less common to use an accusation to describe an issue like this. This especially applies if the issue is being brought to the attention of someone for the first time or if it could be perceived that the person who made the promise is behaving reasonably.

An alternative is to describe the situation, and particularly the role the promise has in an outcome, and let the audience infer the accusation if they believe it is appropriate. An example would be "The report can be finalised once I get John's approval".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.