Konubinix' opinionated web of thoughts

Don't Take Other People Expectations Personnaly


It happens that people come and say that they are disappointed in something you did or did not do.

To me, as long as you made crystal clear your non committed expectations, you can conclude that there was nothing you could do about the feeling of the other person (dichotomy of control). You can simply do your best and in that situation, that may imply listening empathically1 to the other person and simply say “Yeah, that sucks.”.

This is not easy, because the other person generally comes saying stuff like “You suck!”. But I honestly feel that simply accepting the feeling and translating “You suck!” into “I’m sad/stressed/angry and I want to talk about it”. In my mind, this is the best way to deal with those situations.

I think that in most cases, you will realize that the emotion of the person is linked to some external causes that have nothing to do with you. Actually, when people feel good, they play the game of communication, apply the Hanlon’s razor and come to clarify expectations (cooperation). The fact that someone came with feeling is by itself the sign that the message is not what it looks like2.

Of course, if at some point you realize that your non committed expectation where not clear enough, it does not hurt to clarify it. In that case, I would warmly suggest to avoid this time3 but capture that task for a more appropriate context.

  1. if that suits your values↩︎

  2. hence you might need to be black belt in the game of communication to understand that, ↩︎

  3. you would simply put the other person in cognitive dissonance like:

    • Per came to “blame you”
    • you show per that blame is not the answer and that you are likely not to blame because you always do your best,