I am hearing more and more from people who express disappointment with their family or friends. They wonder why their family and friends do not do the things they “should” do (what the person wants and expects). “He should have known how I was feeling”. “She should have called; she knows what I am going through”. “He should have…”. As I listen, I hear a litany of other people’s wrong doings.
They may be right. Maybe the person “should have…” but they didn’t. Maybe they did not know it was the right thing to do for you. Maybe they forgot. Maybe a hundred things… Too often, the disappointed person has not shared what they need or want. Sometimes the person who is disappointing them is in the dark.
We each need to find ways to ask for what we need without placing blame on people for not doing what we had hoped or expected they would do. We can take responsibility for articulating what we need and why it would be helpful and then the person can actually think about whether our request is reasonable for them and whether they can comply. If it is not possible, we can then adjust our expectations and deal with our own feelings that result from that exchange.
Remember these tips:
Understand your motivation in expecting someone to be or do something.
Try not to take things too personally.
Give others the benefit of a doubt.