Photo by Jopwell

Repeated disappointment.

Isn’t that what this is all about?

When you can’t stop expecting you from people, you constantly end up disappointed and hurt…

  • I’ve supported them so much, why can’t they do this simple thing for me!?
  • I’ve loved them unconditionally, why can’t they return the gesture?
  • I’ve been upfront and honest, why can’t they do the same!?
  • Why are they making things so difficult? This could be so easily solved, if they just…

Whether it’s your family, partner, friends, or colleagues. Everybody seems to be making things more difficult than they need to be.

“But” you might say, “Isn’t this all because I need to stop expecting myself from people? And if I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t be disappointed to begin with!”

Yes, that is partially true.

When you stop expecting you from people and are willing to see them for who they are with all of their limitations, you WILL put a stop to the cycle of your disappointment and hurt.

However, as with most things in life, it’s not black and white…

Why Do Expectations Hurt?

The other side to this is that every relationship in your life has unspoken social agreements, expectations.

For example, you might have certain expectations from your parents, because they are, after all, your parents.

And by becoming parents, they signed up for a set of responsibilities towards you, that you expect:

  • Providing you with essentials to grow and flourish
  • Protecting you from physical, emotional or psychological harm
  • Validating and supporting you through hardships

And the same is true of every relationship in your life today, they all have (unspoken) expectations attached to them.

Including your partner, friends or work colleagues.

You might expect them to…

  • treat you as you treat them
  • take your side, the way you take theirs
  • be considerate, as you are towards them, etc

However, in reality, it unfortunately rarely works out this way.

There is no such thing as a perfect friend who returns every gesture, just as little as there are perfect partners or families that give back as much as you put in.

Which leads us to why expectations can HURT.

Expectations can hurt, because when the people in your life don’t meet your expectations, it communicates that they don’t matter.

That you don’t matter.

Which is one of the most hurtful lies you can be told.

7 Areas to Stop Expecting You From People

But there is a BALANCE to be had.

The world and people are complicated, and the expectations in our relationships are a reflection of that.

But we can strike a balance between stopping our expectations from people, whilst holding each other to standards you mutually agree on.

For now, let’s talk about where in your life you should definitely STOP expecting you from people.

So that you can be strong enough to face the reality that the people in your life have LIMITATIONS.

No matter how hard you push them.

And in turn, you will stop feeling disappointed and hurt by them.

Starting with…

1. Stop Expecting People to Agree With You

Even if listening and agreeing with others comes easy to you, expecting the same from others can mean endless disappointment and frustration.

You’ll spend an hour agreeing with someone’s worldview, validating them along the way.

And when it’s finally your turn to express yourself, they might immediately disagree.

You’re left hanging dry, despite all your efforts.

So don’t get TOO invested right away!

Instead, start with a little back and forth to test whether this person even has the CAPACITY to agree with you. (Some don’t!)

If they can’t agree with you on anything, or at the very least consider your point of view, just leave it.

Don’t chase someone that can’t return what you give.

2. Stop Expecting People to Trust You

If you’re one to quickly trust people because you believe that people are inherently good and mean well…

And hope that in return, people will trust you back.

It might be time to stop expecting you from people.

For your own safety, that is.

Because like it or not, the world is full of malicious people.

Many of whom DON’T deserve your trust and will abuse it.

When you instantly trust people, you’re leaving yourself wide open for a world of disappointment and anguish.

But just like with transparency in relationships, trust needs to be EARNED.

3. Stop Expecting People to Rescue You

Are you one to be willing to dive in head first and rescue someone, from whatever life’s problem plagues them?

But secretly deep down you know that you need rescuing as well and hope that you can team up, and they’ll RETURN the gesture?

I get it, I’ve been there too.

And let me tell you, it DOESN’T end well.

Because often, taking this level of responsibility for someone actually leads to unhealthy enmeshment and inevitable disappointment.

It’s best to stop rescuing others, with an expectation of people rescuing you.

Stopping to expect you from people in this regard, will save you a lot of grief.

Eventually, we all have to face the music and accept that…

Nobody is coming to rescue us. We have to rescue ourselves.

4. Stop Expecting People to Admit Their Mistakes

Are you also an earnest person, who’s quick to acknowledge their mistake, apologize and try to do better next time?

If so, there’s a good chance you’ve also experienced the conversation ending right after your apology.

Many people will happily blame you without admitting to any fault of their own.

So, don’t expect that just because you take responsibility for when you mess up, that others will respond as maturely.

5. Stop Expecting People to Love You

The way you expect them to, that is.

Everybody has their own love language; their preferred ways of giving and receiving love.

Often, theirs will be DIFFERENT from yours.

I personally value words of affirmation and physical touch, while my wife Karolina values quality time and acts of service most.

So, expecting someone to speak your love language and love you exactly the way you want is a recipe for disaster.

In our relationship, we talked past each other a lot because of this and didn’t value what the other was already offering.

Stop expecting them to love you in a particular way.

Instead, enjoy what they CAN provide and work towards getting more of what you want from them with good communication.

6. Stop Expecting People to Change

Big one.

I cannot begin to tell you how much of my life I truly wasted on people that had no intention of changing a thing about themselves.

In their heads, everything is perfect as it is.

Everything besides, whatever I’m apparently doing wrong, of course.

Friendships, relationships, work-colleagues and even family at times, are often not forever.

People come and go in our lives.

So, don’t make the mistake of investing endless time and energy into people, hoping that they will eventually change.

Instead, look for like-minded people that have a track record of changing and growing.

These are the types of people from whom you can actually expect change and won’t be disappointed by.

7. Stop Expecting People to Read Your Mind

We’re all guilty of this one to some degree.

It’s safer to imply what you want than to directly ASK for it.

But nobody can read your mind.

And as great as you may be at guessing someone’s thoughts or feelings, expecting you from people is a waste of energy and time.

Why not just ask for what we want instead?

Play with open cards and admit to wanting things, it’s perfectly okay to have needs.

And the better we get at communicating them, the SOONER we’ll have our needs met!

So, these are the areas to stop expecting you from people in your life.

With these alone, you’ll be off to a great start.

And the big takeaway here is:

Rather than focusing on stopping your expectations, try to accept people for who they are, rather than whom you need them to be.

When you see them for who they are, you won’t expect things that they cannot do, and thereby you won’t be disappointed!

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a few other things worth understanding about expectations that will lessen your hurt.

Let’s answer some questions you guys have asked to clarify:

Why Do Expectations Lead To Disappointment?

Expectations lead to disappointment because the person you expect them to be, is not who they are.

This kind of disenchantment is likely something you experience repeatedly in your life.

This pattern happens because you’re not yet ready to face the fact that they are not who you thought they were.

So, you give them another chance to prove themselves.

And another, and another, and the cycle continues.

Can We Love Someone Without Expecting Anything?

In theory, sure. Practically, not really.

We’re not superhuman, endlessly giving doesn’t end well. Everybody has limits and expectations, because we all have needs.

But there are certainly many things we can do to improve our communication of our expectations, which will INCREASE our chances of having them met.

As well as seeing people for who they are, rather than what we’d like them to be.

Is It Good to Have No Expectations?

Sure. The fewer expectations you have, the better.

But show me one person who truly does not have expectations, and I’ll treat you to a big bag of cookies.

My father was one to always laugh at me for having expectations of him.

“If you don’t have expectations, you won’t be disappointed.” He would mock me.

Unironically, disappointing was the only thing he was good at.

But I digress…

My point being, people who preach this garbage are hypocrites.

Sure, stop having expectations that aren’t helping you.

But as mentioned, it’s more about stopping to chase people that continuously let you down.

How Do I Stop Expecting a Lot From Others?

In order to stop expecting a lot from others, you need to dig a little deeper and understand why you’re chasing people that will never give you what you want.

To answer that, ask yourself:

What am I afraid would happen, if I stopped chasing the people in my life who never meet my expectations?

The answer will help you get in touch with what is driving you to chase said people with your expectations.

And once you can let go of that expectation, you’ll be free to….

  1. accept what they can give you
  2. accept what they cannot give you

You’ll finally take them at face value.

You’ll see people for who they ARE, rather than who you want them to be.

And once you see that, you will have no expectations from them, because you know they cannot give you what you need to begin with.

Do Expectations Ruin Relationships?

When pushed too far, expectations can hurt and even ruin relationships.

Both Karolina and I had to learn that we had certain limits.

Things that were easy for her were not easy for me and vice versa.

And what happened when we expected too much, (because in our individual minds we weren’t asking for much since to us, it came easy), was that it put a lot of strain on our relationship.

This is why it’s important to acknowledge and accept each other’s limitations in a relationship.

While slowly encouraging each other to grow out of them.

If you’re having a hard time stopping your expectations from people, have a look at our one-on-one Coaching Calls.

SimplyTogether Coaching CallsIn a call, we’ll help you understand what’s driving your expectations and show you how to break the cycle of repeated disappointment in others.

We’ll also teach you how to communicate your needs in a way that will actually get what you want from people.

Click Here to Check Out Coaching.

Thank you for reading, maybe you’re also interested in this blog post: When Is Enough Enough? – How to Know When to Give Up and Let Go

See you next time,


Gabriel Brenner