We all experience disappointments in life. But how do you effectively deal with disappointment when people let you down? Or when friends let you down? The way you deal with people letting you down is important. It shapes how you approach relationships and the quality of your friendships. In the end, we all need each other. So it’s necessary to learn how to communicate when your friends let you down.
Why it hurts when people let you down
There are a few reasons why it hurts your feelings when friends let you down. Knowing why you feel this disappointment is important for self-reflection and moving forward. Here are three reasons why you hurt when people let you down:
One reason that you may feel hurt or disappointed is that you have unmet expectations. This is when you’ve established what’s expected of others, but they still don’t meet your expectations. It could be that they’re incapable of meeting them or because they simply failed to do what was asked of them.
An example of this is loaning money to a friend or family member. The expectation is that it’s paid back within a certain timeframe; however, someone may not meet this expectation by not paying you back.
It can be both frustrating and disappointing when someone doesn’t meet an expectation that has been established and communicated. This comes from the disconnect between what was promised and what was delivered. You believed that something would happen, and it didn’t.
When your friends let you down is it because you have unrealistic expectations? Having unrealistic expectations of others is a sure way to find yourself disappointed. However, in some cases, what we expect of others just isn’t realistic.
For example, you may be expecting your friends to be available to you 24 hours a day. Or for your toddler to not make a mess. This is unrealistic for anyone and can easily end in disappointment.
Before placing an expectation on someone, ask yourself if this would be something that’s reasonable for you to accomplish. Even if it is, is it realistic for others?
Lack of communication or miscommunication
The third reason that you may find yourself feeling let down is due to lack of communication or miscommunication about your expectations.
For example, you may have told your spouse not to buy anything for your birthday when in reality, you actually wanted something. This is an example of lack of communication--where you aren’t expressing your true feelings and desires.
If you want to avoid disappointment, having strong communication skills is vital. You must learn how to verbalize your wants and needs in a way that others can understand. This is important for all of your relationships and interactions with others.
5 Steps to take when people let you down
Now that you have an understanding of why you may be feeling let down, it’s time to take steps to move forward. Here’s what you need to do.
1. Acknowledge your feelings
Disappointment is a valid emotion. We’ll all experience it at one time or another. Whether it’s not getting your dream job or a failed relationship. There will be times when you don’t get what you expected out of life.
Whatever it is, it is important to acknowledge that you are feeling let down. Don’t try to mask your feelings or emotions. Instead, you have to face your emotions in order to fix the problem that caused them.
2. Determine the cause of your disappointment
The next step is to figure out why you’re feeling let down. What is the root cause of your feelings? Is it because you had unmet expectations, unrealistic expectations, or there was poor communication?
Reflect on the situation in an objective way. This works best after you have worked through your emotions and can think in a clear, objective way. So give yourself time to feel your feelings before diving into the root cause. This will help you better handle the situation when a friend lets you down.
3. Appropriately communicate your feelings when people let you down
Communicate this disappointment to the person(s) who triggered it. Be sure to express yourself clearly and articulate your feelings. This means that you have to truly understand how you feel and the cause.
A great practice is to communicate this is by structuring your sentences like this:
“When you did _____, it made me feel like _____.”
Generally, no one wants to intentionally make anyone feel bad. So by sharing the impact of their actions on how you feel, they can make the necessary changes to not offend you in that way again.
Once you’ve shared your feeling, provide an opportunity for the other person to receive what you’ve said, but also share their thoughts and feelings. From there, you can work together to move forward in a beneficial way.
4. Establish expectations and boundaries going forward
Now that you understand the source and cause of your disappointment, establish expectations and boundaries going forward so that you don’t experience it again. These may be expectations that you set for yourself or for others.
For example, if you need your colleagues to provide information, you may work together to create a process and firm deadline for everyone to adhere to. In the case of finances, you may decide not to loan out money anymore or only to certain people.
Remember to keep your expectations and boundaries realistic.
5. Forgive and move past it
Finally, there’s no sense in harboring resentment when people let you down. You don't want your past mistakes to be held against your forever. In the same token, allow people the grace to grow and learn from past offenses.
Learn to forgive them and yourself and move forward.
What to do when friends let you down
Dealing with disappointment from when your friends let you down can be tough to cope with. After all, these are people that you trust and are emotionally vulnerable with. So it can be more devastating when friends let you down and they’ve hurt you in some way.
In these instances, it’s even more important to communicate your feelings so that you can move forward. You don’t want to let go of a friendship over something that may not have been intentional.
So be sure to use the same steps outlined above when a friend lets you down.
Use these tips to help you when people let you down
Don’t let disappointments deter you from building relationships with others. We were created to be in a community with others. The reality is that it just takes effort to create and maintain quality relationships.
Learn how to communicate your needs. If they aren’t met, use the tools provided to work through when a friend lets you down and to create more clear boundaries and expectations.
Learn how to improve your money mindset and not let your finances be affected when your friends let you down by enrolling in our completely free "Build a solid foundation" bundle. Also, stay motivated towards your goals and living your best life by subscribing to the Clever Girls Know podcast and YouTube channel!