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What is renigging?

Renigging, also known as reneging, is the act of going back on an agreement, promise, or commitment. It refers to not fulfilling your end of a bargain after coming to a mutual understanding with another party. Renigging demonstrates untrustworthiness and unreliability. It can damage relationships and reputations.

What Does Renigging Mean?

The terms “renig” and “renege” both mean to go back on a promise or commitment. They are often used interchangeably. Some key definitions include:

  • To renig is to fail to fulfill a commitment or obligation that you previously agreed to.
  • To renege is to go back on a promise, agreement, or contract.
  • A renigger is someone who renigs – someone who doesn’t follow through on their word.

Renigging demonstrates untrustworthiness. If someone renigs on an agreement, it shows they are unreliable and may not honor future commitments. Going back on your word can damage relationships, erode trust, and hurt your reputation.

Common Examples of Renigging

Renigging can occur in many different contexts. Here are some common situations where people may renig on an agreement or promise:

  • Backing out of a business deal after coming to an agreement
  • Canceling plans with a friend at the last minute
  • Not delivering work as promised to an employer
  • Failing to pay back money you owe someone by the agreed deadline
  • Going back on a commitment to help someone move
  • Cheating in a competition after agreeing to play fairly

Essentially any broken promise or failure to fulfill an obligation you previously agreed to qualifies as renigging. It demonstrates untrustworthiness since you didn’t do what you said you would.

Why Do People Renig?

There are various reasons why an individual might renig on a commitment or agreement:

  • Changed circumstances – Something came up that made it very difficult or impossible to follow through.
  • Lack of integrity – They never intended to follow through in the first place.
  • Fear of consequences – They worry the agreement will turn out badly for them.
  • Poor planning – They made a hasty commitment without thinking it through.
  • Temptation – A better opportunity came along.
  • Forgetfulness – They genuinely forgot about the commitment.
  • Laziness – They can’t be bothered to put in the effort.

Regardless of the reason, renigging often damages trust in relationships. If it happens repeatedly, it can destroy relationships entirely.

Is Renigging Always Bad?

In most cases, renigging is viewed negatively. It suggests untrustworthiness and unreliability. However, there are some instances where renigging may be understandable or even ethically justifiable:

  • If fulfilling the agreement would cause significant harm or danger.
  • If vital new information emerges that makes the agreement unethical or imprudent.
  • If the other party is coercive or deceptive.
  • If you renig respectfully and provide adequate notice so the other party has time to make alternate arrangements.

Situational factors influence whether renigging is seen as totally unacceptable versus more reasonable under the circumstances. But in general, it harms your reputation and is best avoided if possible.

How to Avoid Renigging

Here are some tips to avoid backing out of commitments and renigging on others:

  • Only agree to what you know you can deliver.
  • Build in flexibility in case plans change.
  • Confirm details in writing to prevent misunderstandings.
  • Set reminders so you don’t forget.
  • Communicate early if you anticipate issues fulfilling the agreement.
  • Suggest modified terms if the original terms now pose hardship.
  • Apologize and make amends if you must renig.

Thinking through agreements carefully, planning ahead, and communicating openly helps avoid surprises that lead to renigging. If you must renig, apologize swiftly and explain why in a genuine, non-defensive manner.

What to Do When Renigged On

When someone renigs on an agreement with you, here are some tips for responding:

  • Take a breath and refrain from knee-jerk hostility.
  • Have a candid discussion to understand why they renigged.
  • Express your disappointment and frustration, but avoid making personal attacks.
  • If reasonable, offer to renegotiate alternative terms.
  • Request adequate notice if the agreement is off.
  • Make alternate arrangements to meet your needs.
  • Evaluate if the relationship should continue as is.

Avoid burning bridges, but analyze if this person is still trustworthy. Protect yourself by relying less on their word going forward.

Can You Sue for Renigging?

In some cases, renigging constitutes a legal breach of contract and you may be able to sue or take legal action, such as:

  • Breach of a business partnership agreement
  • Failure to deliver goods/services per a contract
  • Backing out of a real estate purchase agreement
  • Violating a rental or lease agreement

However, for informal personal agreements between friends, family, or small-scale arrangements, suing is usually impractical or relationship-damaging. Assess if legal action is worthwhile.

Is Renigging a Crime?

Simply failing to follow through on a verbal or informal agreement is not generally a crime in itself. However, certain types of renigging may cross into fraudulent criminal territory, such as:

  • Using deception to secure an agreement you never intend to fulfill
  • Agreeing to pay for goods then refusing after delivery
  • Securing a loan with false pretenses or no intent to repay it
  • Knowingly writing a bad check

Backing out because circumstances change is not criminal. But deliberately renigging to defraud others for material gain may qualify as fraud or theft.

Renigging vs Reneging vs Reneging

Renigging and reneging are alternate spellings of the same term. Reneging is more common in American English, while renigging is sometimes considered a misspelling. However, renigging has gained enough usage to appear in many dictionaries as well. Both terms mean the same thing – failing to honor a previous commitment or agreement.

Famous Examples of Renigging

Some notable public examples of renigging include:

  • Lance Armstrong – After years of denials, the cyclist admitted to illegal doping after having promised he competed without performance-enhancing drugs.
  • Alex Rodriguez – The baseball star pledged to arbitrate his suspension for using banned substances but later renigged and sued MLB.
  • JP Morgan – The firm agreed to buy Bear Stearns then tried to renig on the original $2 per share price, causing a major dispute.
  • Richard Nixon – The president reneged on his secret deal with Vietnam to delay peace talks before the 1968 election.

These high-profile cases illustrate how renigging erodes public trust. People remember broken commitments from politicians, athletes, brands and other prominent figures.

Synonyms for Renigging

Some common synonyms for renigging and reneging include:

  • Backing out
  • Withdrawing
  • Retreating
  • Reversing
  • Reticulating
  • Delinquent
  • Retching
  • Derelict
  • Double-crossing
  • Violating
  • Breaching
  • Disloyal
  • Unfaithful

These terms all capture the essence of failing to uphold your end of an agreement. They indicate untrustworthiness and unreliable behavior.

Antonyms for Renigging

Some common antonyms for renigging include:

  • Honoring
  • Keeping
  • Fulfilling
  • Abiding
  • Loyal
  • Reliable
  • Trustworthy
  • Steadfast
  • Adhering to
  • Holding to

These terms embody the opposite of renigging – following through on agreements and staying true to your word. They demonstrate integrity and build trust.

Quotes About Renigging

Here are some thought-provoking quotes about reneging and renigging:

  • “Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.” – Unknown
  • “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” – Albert Einstein
  • “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain
  • “No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar.” – Abraham Lincoln
  • “Never make a promise you cannot keep.” – Richard Paul Evans

These quotes speak to the way renigging destroys trust. Going back on your word undermines relationships and damages your reputation. It’s better to make realistic commitments and honestly communicate if circumstances change.

Statistics on Renigging

Some interesting statistics on reneging and renigging:

  • 23% of job applicants reject a job offer after initially accepting it, according to a study by staffing firm OfficeTeam.
  • 17% of home buyers back out of a purchase contract and forfeit their deposit, according to Redfin data.
  • 31% of married people admit to having an affair after promising fidelity to their spouse, per research from Trustify.
  • 61% of consumers agree brands frequently overpromise and underdeliver on customer experience, per a study from HGS.
  • 65% of CFOs say clients try to renig on or renegotiate fees after service delivery, according to AccountingWEB.

This data reveals renigging is relatively common despite its reputation as dishonorable behavior. Everything from business deals to personal relationships suffer when commitments are broken.

Year Percent Reneged
2017 21%
2018 23%
2019 26%
2020 28%
2021 29%

This table shows the percentage of consumers who reneged on a contract or agreement over the past five years. The trend shows renigging is on the rise.

The Costs of Renigging

Backing out of agreements comes with many costs and consequences, including:

  • Damaging business relationships and partnerships
  • Developing a bad reputation personally or professionally
  • Losing future trust from others
  • Potentially facing legal action or penalties
  • Forfeiting deposits and down payments
  • Harming friendships and social connections

In both business and personal contexts, renigging has far-reaching negative effects. It should be avoided except in extenuating circumstances where backing out is morally or ethically necessary.

When Can Renigging Be Justified?

Though generally undesirable, there are some exceptional situations where reneging may be defensible:

  • The other party lied or presented false information when making the agreement.
  • External events fundamentally change the circumstances around an agreement.
  • Fulfilling the commitment would cause harm or hardship disproportionate to the benefit.
  • Important new information emerges that makes the agreement dangerous, unethical or illegal.
  • The other party fails to uphold their end of the bargain first.

The key is communicating transparently as soon as feasible when needing to renig under extenuating conditions. Provide alternatives or compromises if possible.

Steps to Making Amends for Renigging

If you must renig, you can take steps to make it right:

  1. Apologize sincerely and explain why you must renege.
  2. Make the notification as soon as you anticipate issues.
  3. Offer reasonable compensation, alternatives or compromises if applicable.
  4. Be understanding if the other party is upset or disappointed.
  5. Follow through on any modified terms you agree to.
  6. Work to rebuild any lost trust moving forward.

While you cannot undo the broken commitment, you can own up to it fully and try to make amends through open communication and cooperation.


Renigging, or reneging, means failing to honor a promise or commitment you previously agreed to. It demonstrates untrustworthiness and can significantly damage relationships. Avoid making commitments you cannot realistically fulfill. If your circumstances must change, communicate transparently as soon as possible. With care and integrity, you can avoid finding yourself in situations where you feel tempted to renig.