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4 Reasons People Keep Letting You Down (And What to do About it)

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Everyone feels let down sometimes, and it sucks. Whether it’s friends, family, partners, or colleagues, these occasional disappointments are part of life.

But being let down constantly shouldn’t be.

If people keep letting you down, it might have more to do with you than them. Don’t take that the wrong way, but certain personal behaviors can lead to people letting you down, and they’re not that uncommon.

Don’t worry that doesn’t mean you’re stuck being let down for the rest of your life. I’m here to show you the reasons it keeps happening and how to let them go.

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Why Are You Being Let Down Too Often?

1. Expecting Too Much

According to psychologists, high levels of disappointment lead to a greater risk of physical and emotional difficulties. And a big part of this disappointment is expecting too much.

When you expect too much from others, you shut out the ability to see them as who they are. And that often leads to asking and expecting things of people they can’t give.

Think about someone who keeps letting you down and make a list of everything you expect from them.

Is this list huge?

Is it fair?

Are there expectations you can meet yourself?

Cross a few things off that list.

Keep in mind that lowering your expectations doesn’t mean you should have none. People who care about you will be there whenever they can, it’s about not expecting them to be there more than they can.

2. Wanting to Get What You Give

I’m a big believer in karma and that when you put out good, you bring in good.

But if you always want the time and care you give someone to be matched, it may be a big factor in why people keep letting you down.

I get it—when you give your all for someone, you want that feeling back. Unfortunately, sometimes the key to doing for others without getting let down is by giving and expecting nothing in return.

Next time you catch yourself feeling like you’re not getting as much as you’re giving, focus on all the benefits you get from the act of giving.

When you give, even if you get nothing in return, you can experience:

  • Increased self-esteem
  • Less depression
  • Lower stress levels
  • A longer life
  • More happiness
  • Lower blood pressure

Seriously, giving is so good that a study from the University of Zurich in Switzerland found that even thinking about giving results in more interactions with the parts of our brain associated with happiness and altruism.

3. Not Being Clear About Your Needs

All relationships are set up for success when you’re open about what you need from the start.

And when your needs change as relationships grow, not being clear about those changes is another reason people keep letting you down.

When I say clear, I mean crystal.

Have you ever said something and the person you’re talking to hears something completely different?

Yeah…while that’s annoying, it’s more importantly detrimental to your relationships.

Try these steps to help get real and clear about your needs:

  1. Remind yourself that needs aren’t selfish and they don’t make you weak.
  2. Ask yourself what you need. You’ll be surprised by how often you don’t think of your own needs.
  3. Accept your needs, even if you don’t like them right now.
  4. Communicate those needs. This can be scary, but anyone who wants to be in your life will understand.
  5. Ask if the other person is picking up what you’re putting down, so you’re sure there’s no miscommunication. And don’t forget to ask about their needs too.

4. Being a People Pleaser

Okay, who has the hardest time saying no to people? (I’m raising my hand here).

If you catch yourself thinking people keep letting you down because you’re too nice, the reality might be you’re too eager to please.

Being a people pleaser ties into wanting to get what you give, but it also means you’re probably making too many commitments.

Constantly saying yes and overbooking your schedule leads to last minute cancelations or not showing up.

Despite good intentions, when you try to do too much you end up letting people down, and maybe that’s why you feel the same let down in return.

Learning how to say no is a big part of shedding your people pleaser skin.

Plus, psychologists agree that when you say no more often, you reap all these benefits:

  • More time to devote to what you want in life
  • Less stress, anger, and resentment
  • More energy
  • More feelings of optimism
  • A greater sense of control

And while saying no in personal relationships can do wonders for your life, it can boost your career too, at least according to one of the richest men in the world.

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” – Warren Buffett

If you struggle with saying no, follow these tips:

  • Practice: when you’re caught off guard saying no becomes even harder, so find a few good ways to say no and practice them.
  • Don’t Instead of Can’t: Saying “I can’t” can come across as an excuse, but “ I don’t” implies firm personal rules.
  • Go With Your Gut: If you’re immediately thinking “no, no, no!” when someone asks you for plans or a favor, then you should stick to that instinct. If you need more help with that, check out Sarri Gilman’s Ted Talk on your internal compass of yes and no and setting boundaries.

How to Overcome Feeling Let Down

The tips above are great for identifying and fixing common reasons people keep letting you down, and they’ll make a huge difference in your life.

But sometimes no matter what you do, the occasional let down is inevitable. Knowing how to deal with it can make life and relationships a lot easier.

Don’t Assume

When someone lets you down, don’t sit around and come up with assumptions. They’re likely not doing it because they don’t care. Things come up, life happens.

Practice Acceptance

If you’ve got a friend or family member who’s always bailing on plans, it could be because they’re a people pleaser.

If they’re an important part of your life, the best thing for your health and your relationship is to accept them as they are.

Allow Your Feelings

Getting let down can trigger awful feelings, and while it might seem easier to ignore them, research shows you should do the opposite.

Accepting negative feelings helps us deal with stress and delivers a greater overall satisfaction with life.

Express Your Feelings

The person who is letting you down might not realize how it affects you, so express how being let down makes you feel. Steer clear of anger and resentment and just be real.

Once you’ve expressed your feelings, let go.

Know When to Move On

No matter what you do, some people might keep letting you down. After you’ve expressed how it makes you feel, especially more than once, reevaluate that relationship.

If nothing changes, it might be time to move on. You don’t need that negativity in your life.

Take Care of Yourself

If you find yourself being let down again, try to put a positive spin on it. Try to meet your unmet expectations yourself.

If a friend bails on dinner plans, go on your own and bring a book for company or invite someone else.

If you’re not getting the emotional support you need, make your own inner peace and happiness by meditating, taking a hot bath, or indulging in your favorite form of self-care.

Therapists Specializing in Self-Esteem

Fewer Let Downs In Your Life

Nothing about being let down feels good. But now you know you don’t have to deal with it anymore, well at least not constantly.

You have the power to change your life into one where people don’t keep letting you down. And the freedom you’ll feel from it will keep you from ever looking back.

Additional Resources

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About the author

Neda Shamsdiba
Neda Shamsdiba is a freelance writer with a background in environmental science. She uses her words to support the personal growth and elevation in consciousness in herself and others. As an avid explorer and citizen of the world, she’s always looking for the next adventure.

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