How To Stop Setting Your Expectations For People So High
Have you noticed lately that you are easily let down by people? Or perhaps your friends and family don’t end up acting how you expected. People are very odd and sometimes cruel beings. And we can all be very selfish. But that’s OK a lot of the time, because we’ve got our own lives to lead. Often we get frustrated with people without actually considering their point of view, and what may be going on in their life.
I’ve definitely noticed this more as I’ve got older. I’ve been spreading my resources too thinly. Sure, it’s nice to have a big group of friends like I do, but it’s so darn exhausting trying to put enough effort into all of your friendships. Plus, it’s also tiring dealing with disappointments. As we get older, our priorities change. My friends have all hit 30, are starting to have kids. We can’t all meet up every week like we used to.
You’ll often find people let you down in everyday life, and professionally as well. Some people have no courtesy. I dragged my but into London for a meeting, spent money on my train fare and time prepping, and the guy I met didn’t even respond to my emails following the meeting. #sorude
And that’s just a teeny tiny professional example, I’ve got loads, but am not going to name and shame! People say they are going to do one thing, make empty promises, and then do the exact opposite. Or they literally lie to your face. A while ago I wrote a blog post about how to let go of your anger towards people who have hurt you, well, if I’m honest, I’m still struggling. I should learn to take my own advice every once in a while. And I don’t want it to keep happening, so I’m going to distance myself a little. Set the bar low, and if anything else happens it’s a bonus.
Here’s how to stop setting your expectations for people so high and breathe a nice sigh of relief…
As I mentioned earlier, you just don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. Your friends may seem OK on the surface, when really there’s something holding them back from meeting up. It’s actually very surprising how many people I know who have admitted they’ve got social anxiety. People who I’d never have guessed would feel that way.
Your friends might be super focused on their career, or having issues at work. So if someone suddenly starts slacking when it comes to making an effort with you, consider whether they are just going through a rough time.
Don’t expect too much
We often set ourselves up for failure by expecting too much of people. If you don’t set your expectations so high, you get hurt less often. You feel less anger and resentment, and you can focus more on your own life. And you never know, you might occasionally be pleasantly surprised – because remember, people can sometimes be awesome.
If you give more than you take, that’s OK
We see relationships as transactional. I give you something, you give me something back. Just like giving gifts and expecting one back, we give our time, and expect the same. We travel and make the effort to go and see friends who live further afield. One thing I’m struggling with at the moment is the fact that I go and see a lot of my friends, and not the other way around.
It frustrates me when people can’t put in the time to come and travel to see me – and sometimes I feel taken advantage of. But really, there’s nothing wrong with the balance tipping in your direction, when you do a bit more of the work, as long as it’s not ridiculous. You get to see friends you may not otherwise manage to see. This is definitely something I’m working on. And also know when to say no, enough is enough. It’s your turn now.
While you’re stressing about someone letting you down, not showing up, forgetting to text you on an important date, you’re kind of blind to everything else. All you can see is your own rage and frustration. Isn’t it fair to say sometimes life gets in the way?
As I said earlier, people can be selfish and are often caught up in their own lives. They enjoy living in their own bubble, and that’s OK. Just because you don’t, doesn’t mean they should behave in the same way. Is it realistic to expect everyone to turn up to your birthday get together? Is it realistic to expect that friend to see you so often? Getting some perspective can really help.
Try to let go of irritation and anger
I don’t know if it’s my hormones, but I’ve been struggling a lot lately with easily getting irritated at people where I wouldn’t normally. It seems my patience is wearing thin. But what would help me is if I could find a way to just let it go. If someone is there for you on the whole, really, that’s all that matters. Appreciate what people add to your friendship rather than what they lack.
Focus on yourself
And finally, instead of obsessing about what everyone else in your life is doing – why don’t you focus on number one? That’s you by the way. You’re spending all this time fretting when instead, you could be doing things that make you feel good.