Sometimes it feels like people are disappointing; but it isn’t always so obvious why.
Sometimes people are disappointing, but not always. Human relationships are complicated, so sometimes they don’t work out as planned. At the same time, we need to look at ourselves and see how we are affecting the situation.
By no means am I an expert in human relationships, but I have been a good and bad friend at times.
Check out this list of 14 reasons why people can be disappointing.
1) Some People Suck
Before diving too deep into this topic, we might as well talk about the most obvious reason why people are disappointing, and that is that some people suck. From my personal experience, I can say that people are generally decent and kind for the most part. But that isn’t to say that people can’t be bad, because there are most certainly bad people in the world.
Statistically speaking, if you are an average person as far as being nice is concerned, then half the world’s people are nicer than you, and half the people are worse than you. If you take this to the extreme, simply based on a normal distribution, there will be people on the extremes of both ends.
Unfortunately, some people just evil and there is nothing we can do about it.
I’d like to think that most people aren’t too evil, but they can have bad days and seem to be bad people at times. If it feels like someone is letting you down all the time, it may be that they are a bad person; and if that is the case, you might need to try to avoid them.
2) We Don’t Let People Know They Let Us Down
Often people don’t realize the effects their actions are having on us; for this reason, they don’t ever change their ways. This isn’t always the case; sometimes, people know exactly what they are doing and continue to do it, despite what other people say about it.
During the fall, some friends and I were having conversations on an online chat. We talked about all sorts of topics, but some of them struck a chord with members of the group. One day, my friend sent me a message and told me that he had to defend me with some others in the chat. He told me that he didn’t think there was anything wrong with what I was saying but that their questioning of him was causing him stress.
Even if a situation isn’t very controversial, it might bother someone. If you or someone else doesn’t know they are making things difficult, they can’t do anything to make things better.
When we let people know they are disappointing us, sometimes they can do better.
The key here is that if people don’t know they are making a mistake, they can’t do anything to improve.
3) Sometimes we Have Bad Days
Having a child, you might be used to the kinds of things they say; usually, they are nice and friendly, but sometimes kids can say hurtful things. Recently, my daughter was having a bad day, and she said some mean stuff to me.
Usually, I remember that she is a kid and doesn’t know what she is saying or how it could make me feel. But on that day, I was having a bad day and what she said hurt my feelings.
We can have bad days and be more sensitive to the things that people around us are doing. When this happens, what we would have ignored or disregarded before becomes a big deal today.
When we are having a bad day, anything, no matter how small, can leave us feeling disappointed by the people around us.
On the other hand, when people are having a bad day, they may not think about what they are doing or saying, resulting in more pain for us.
Sometimes people are disappointing simply because they are having a bad day, and there is nothing else beyond it than that.
4) We Can’t Always Adjust to New Situations
When we find ourselves in new situations, it is hard to adjust, this inability to change things up can make us feel like things aren’t going our way.
When I was a kid, my best friend and I always played together, but one day another boy joined us. For a long time, I was disappointed by my friend because he was paying more attention to his new friend rather than me. At the time, I didn’t realize that the dynamic of our group was changing, but if I had just been will to be a ninja, it would have worked out just fine.
When situations change, we need to adapt; if we don’t, we may feel disappointed by the people around us.
This happens partly because sometimes we need to change our expectations about the people we assume are our friends.
5) Too Low Standards
A significant way that we can be let down is if we pick the wrong people to spend time with. When we are kids, we often just have fun and don’t have to worry too much about who our friends are. But as we get older, our friends matter a lot more. If we choose bad friends or friends who don’t care about us, we can never expect them to be reliable.
When I was in University, there were lots of people who wanted to party, and if I wanted to drink, I had to party with them. Because during that time it was all about having fun, it didn’t matter who it was as much as if they wanted to drink. However, when the partying was over, did I still want to be friends with those people? Not so much.
If you don’t want to be disappointed by people, you need to be sure to set a high standard for the people you surround yourself with.
Having good reliable friends will make it less likely that those friends let you down.
6) We Don’t Expect Failure
Sometimes things simply don’t work out. If we always expect our friends to be the best in the world, then we are destined to be disappointed because nobody is perfect forever. This isn’t to say that we should expect to fail, but rather that we should always be aware that failure is a possibility.
Many years ago, I moved to another country and left my girlfriend at the time back home. We promised each other that we would stay together and that when I came back our lives would go back to normal. I genuinely believe that was possible, but things changed, got out of control, and I failed as a boyfriend. When that happened, I was the person who was disappointing to a lot of people back home.
Failure can always happen, and just become someone fails today doesn’t mean they will fail tomorrow.
Likewise, if someone has never failed, that doesn’t mean that they can’t or won’t fail in the future. The key here is to know that sometimes people are disappointing, but that doesn’t mean we have to completely give up on them. Sometimes we fail, and that is a part of life. But if we fail, we need to be willing to get up, look around and decide where we are going next.
7) Unreasonable Expectations
The other side of setting too low of standards is setting unreasonable expectations. We should undoubtedly expect our friends to be there for us, and we hope that they will help us when we are down. But at the same time, they should be able to expect the same from us. But like I said earlier, nobody is perfect, so everyone makes mistakes sometimes.
Sometimes we don’t know what other people expect from us; this is especially problematic if we have never been in a situation that requires our action before. I know that at times, my wife expects me the act in ways that I don’t even know-how. When this happens, I can become disappointing fast.
If you expect too much from people, they can only be a disappointment to you.
Whereas if you have reasonable expectations, then it isn’t such a letdown when people do more or less. The key here is that when you expect too much, failure becomes the only option.
8) We Don’t Set a Good Example
Easier said than done, but if we let down our friends, how can we expect anything more from them? If you want the people around you to be supportive and understand, you will need to do the same thing for them.
People respond to and mimic the examples they see in their life, so it is essential to be the kind of friend you want to have.
This doesn’t always work; no matter how good an example we set, sometimes other people won’t live up to it. But that doesn’t mean we should give up; sometimes, we need to understand that our efforts are for ourselves rather than others.
9) Limited Emotional Energy
A big thing for me is that I only have so much energy in a day; I can be positive, friendly and cooperative for a while, but once all my ‘social power’ is gone, those skills go downhill. Everyone has different levels of energy when it comes to different parts of their life.
We might have lots of energy to do quiet work, but working with others might be difficult if we have to do it all day.
We might found that people are disappointing when they run out of energy. In these sorts of situations, we might find that they can do better the next day. Above we talked about how having a bad day can change how we feel about the events that happen, but the time of day can also make a difference too.
If someone is disappointing you, it might be that they had more meetings than usual, and they couldn’t be their best self at the time as a result.
10) We Forget About Ourselves
To have good relationships with other people, we need to know what we need for our relationships and the people around us. This is similar to our expectations and the standards we set for others, but what is important here is that we figure out what we want and need.
I know that for myself, I look for people with who I can have deep conversations. At the same time, I know that most people aren’t into those sorts of conversations all the time, so for me, I need to be careful about who I have those conversations with.
If someone disregards everything I say, I’m not going to be happy, but if I know ahead of time what to expect I avoid the situation.
People can disappoint us when we forget about what we are looking for. If I want a deep conversation and turn to a friend I know is never into in-depth discussions, it will lead to disappointment cause I wasn’t honest with myself from the start.
11) Sometimes It is Difficult to Find Good Friends
Related to the previous topic, it is sometimes difficult to find people with who we get along. This is especially true as we get older, cause our worlds seem to get smaller or we have less time and opportunities to meet new people and make friends.
I’m not always a very sociable person, I can do it at work when I need to, and I don’t usually have too much trouble having casual conversations when they come up. But when it comes to close friends with who I can have meaningful conversations, that is mostly limited to people I meet in high-school.
We all have different interests and needs, so it is difficult to find a match under any circumstances.
Sometimes people are disappointing because we haven’t found the right friends yet. But hopefully, in time, this is something that can be fixed.
12) We Don’t Always Know What We Want
Related to the difficulty in finding new friends, and the fact that we forget about ourselves and our own needs, we don’t always know what we want. This is particularly difficult when our tastes or interests change. We might have a set of friends who we meet through some sort of activity, but if we lose interest in that activity, those friends might not be as much of a match for us anymore.
The biggest challenge to getting what we want is to know what we want.
If you don’t want people to disappoint you, then you need to know what people who won’t disappoint you will be like. In other words, to find the perfect match, you first need to know what that match will be like, then you can work towards finding it.
A lot of our problems often stem from us just going with the flow rather than going after what we want. We can’t always get what we want, but we will have a better chance of getting what we want if we know what we want to get.
13) We Confuse Internal and External Control
Another way of looking at why people are disappointing is by considering where we think control can be found. Put in in other words, where does the source of our problems lie. The best way to try and explain this is to look at a problem and ask, where is the problem, is it coming from the outside or is the source inside me.
Generally, how much control we believe we have comes down to where the locus of control lies. If we think that we are the masters of our destiny, then we will place the power on the inside. Whereas, if we believe that we are a product of our environments and have no control over what happens, we place our control outside.
How this works and why people place control in different places may be a question that still needs answering.
But generally speaking, where we think control lies matters when it comes to how we react to situations.
If we give too much control to the outside world, then we will never be able to find satisfaction, and it will be effortless for people to disappoint us. But if we believe that we have some control over our lives, then we will be more likely to take actions that make things work out the way we like.
In a more abstract way, if we believe we have control, it might just be control over how we feel about a situation, however, when we are let down, we can look at it differently.
14) We Don’t Set Boundaries
And the final reason for this exhaustive but not complete list is that we don’t set boundaries. This item may have some cross over with other items on the list, but the idea here is that if we don’t have a clear distinction between people and different parts of our life, we may open ourselves up to disappointment.
For example, consider a work friend, the friends we have at work can be different from the friends we know outside of work. I say this because I know that friends from work aren’t always as close as friends outside of work from other parts of my life.
In part, the difference may also come down to the context of your relationship, there are things that you can talk about outside of work, but certainly not at work.
How this could go wrong is to share a personal problem with a work friend with whom we don’t have a close enough relationship. This might cause disappointment when we seek advice about something that is outside the work comfort zone.
My main point here is that sometimes we have different friends for different circumstances, and so, we must respect those boundaries.
In most cases, this likely won’t be a problem, but sometimes there will be topics or issues that cross boundaries and lead to disappointment.