When, if ever, is it right to break a promise to someone?
I believe that it never is. For one thing, the fact that you made that promise in the first place must mean something. Either it was something important, or it was something… important. Not only does it fail to carry through with that important act, whatever it may be; it also severely undermines your future credibility.
On what grounds can one trust you in the future? B/c you “reaaaally really mean it” this time? Just like all the other times you “really really meant it”? What a load of bull.
What about friendship? How do you know how strong your friendships are? Is it the small things that matter, or the big things? Maybe it’s both. Tough call. But I believe that it requires mutual effort and desire for mutual understanding. I am not a strong supporter of fair-weathered friends, or those that you can just hang out with and on a rainy day, they bail faster than you can say “sigh”. If you can’t go see them, they’ll make the effort to see you. Argh. But, everyone’s different. Who am I to say.