I have always been a believer that you should let your actions speak for you. You can think all you want, but until you manifest them into actions - who knows what you are thinking? And who knows how long you will keep thinking? :-)
Life is short - you have to do everything in a given amount of time. The sooner you start acting on your thoughts the better. Once the time is gone then you can do or say whatever, it is not going to matter anymore. Timing of that action is as important as the action itself. If someone needs a doctor now - whats the point of bringing the doctor tomorrow?
I know my actions will not betray me. Sometimes I have to do things under pressure or because of obligation, but most times I am doing something for someone because I want to, because I care for them or I have feelings for them. For me my words are my actions. Once I say I will do something for someone - I do it. Its a promise. Especially if I know that my action is important to them - I will not back off. There have been very few people I have found who keep their word. Most people will back out at the last minute or say all sorts of things but have no intention of following through.
There is so much deception in the world that sometimes even actions are not all that honest. People have ulterior motive for doing things for other people.
The biggest aspect about an action is that it is visible. One can see it happening (unlike thoughts...who knows what you are thinking? and words...who knows if you are lying?) The second key thing is that a number of these actions are expected of people! I have a whole other blog on expectations - so I will not repeat it here. But simply said, even a mother expects from her children in return for all the pain she went through. So all other relationships compared to between mother and child are just fragile.
Actions are expected of the educated person. If someone is illiterate, they have a valid excuse to not know about certain behaviors (although I have seen that sometimes the most affectionate people are the poorest ones! I think all they have to give is love.) But an educated person not doing what he or she should be doing is borderline criminal.
Actions and expectations go hand in hand. As a father your expectation is to take care of your children, make sure they are well provided for and happy. As a friend your expectation is to be there for your friend. Anyone can be there during happy times, but are you there during the tough ones? (I have written many times on friendship).
It is very hard to trust someone when they keep saying they will do something but don't; or pretend to be friends or care for you, but at the first moment of need - they are gone. The saddest part of all is that no matter if they are there for me or not, they still expect that I should be there for them. And yes - personal experience - I have been lectured about "what I should be doing regardless" or "what kind of a friend are you?" It is also hard to reason with such people because their minds are made up. They are very clear in their justifications. They will have all these grandiose expectations from others - BUT - when it comes to them - all bets are off! And suddenly I find myself standing alone.
Sometimes I don't even have to DO anything - my just being there for someone is the biggest action of all. My presence is enough for someone to know that I care for them and that I support them. A call, an email - some thoughtfulness is also an action of my presence in their life. Most people don't know how to be present for someone also.
Acting on time, doing the right thing, meeting people's expectations - these are the traits of a responsible person.
But when I routinely find myself standing by myself, then I wonder if others even recognized or acknowledged what I did for them. (I have written a blog on acknowledgement also!) All my being present, my listening, my doing things for them was all for nothing. My actions were meaningless.
I would suggest to anyone who wants to work on maintaining relationships that you act on your positive feelings, do good for people and act on time. Once that time is gone its gone....its never coming back.