There are some important things you need to keep in mind when someone continues to let you down. Regardless if it is your parent, spouse, child, friend or even co-worker who can’t keep their end of the bargain, being constantly let down sucks.
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When someone repeatedly lets you down, it can send all sorts of feelings and questions running through your mind. You may feel angry with them or you might even start to resent their behaviour, or maybe being disappointed so frequently causes you sadness. The point is, it can hurt you and your relationships with others.
There was one person in my life who had a knack for making promises and failing to keep them. This person would make a commitment to be somewhere, or do something, and then, “something’s come up.” At the time, this person might have had absolutely every intention to do what they said they were going to do, but it just didn’t happen. And I think that is where part of the anger came from (if you experienced the anger as I did). Someone you trust looks you in the eyes and tells you, with certainty, that you can rely on them- and then they let you down. It feels like you’ve been lied to. I mean, our word is everything. So how can someone be so careless with it?
Dealing with people who are unreliable or who over-commit themselves can be difficult. I am going to tell you 5 things that helped me maintain my sanity and peace when interacting with them.
1. NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING
Assumptions can be dangerous, and more often than not, they will harm you and your relationships. I know it is difficult not to assume things when someone continues to let you down, but the truth is, we don’t know what is really going on with that person. We can’t read their thoughts, and we don’t know what (if anything) they are going through.
If you have someone in your life who says they want to do certain things, and you invite them only to discover they are cancelling on you, they may have things going on that you don’t know about. Maybe they have an issue saying no to people, or maybe they are a people-pleaser. Whatever the reason, it’s unfortunate because it causes a lot of damage to relationships.
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2. ACCEPT THEM FOR WHO THEY ARE
I can tell you, one of the easiest ways to deal with those who over-commit is to just accept them for who they are. Our expectations cause us to hope for a change in their behaviour, but let’s face it, that’s unlikely to happen overnight. So we must accept their inconsistencies.
We can’t change how people are. Everyone is on their own path and they reach different realizations at different points in life. We need to remember to ACCEPT instead of EXPECT. Accepting the inevitable will save you from the pain of bitterness and anger that expectation causes. If you have a hard time accepting someone’s behaviour as it is, then maybe the next tip is more your speed.
3. TELL THEM EXACTLY HOW YOU FEEL
It’s great to have faith in people and believe they will suddenly gain integrity, but sometimes people need a facilitator- someone to help them along their process.
Those who repeatedly disappoint others spend a great deal of time in their own heads. They may say they will do something and then a million things pop up in their mind as to why they can’t. We don’t know how they feel, and they don’t know how their actions make you feel. So you have to tell them. Without anger or resentment, explain to them how they make you feel unimportant and how their words feel empty because of their tendency to let you down. If you don’t tell them, how will they know? Just remember to speak from the heart and maybe you can help them to see things from your perspective.
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4. END THE CYCLE
Once you have told someone how you feel and how their actions have affected you, it’s time to let go of the hurt. End the cycle of expectation, disappointment, and pain. This is when you set boundaries and make it clear that your relationship requires equal effort. If they oblige, then the relationship can happily be maintained. However, if the dynamic changes too much for them and they decide they can’t handle compromise, then you now know the friendship/relationship was forced and needing to end anyways.
When you choose to stop letting the behaviour of others affect your life, you will see that ending the cycle of pain contributes heavily to your happiness.
5. KNOW WHEN TO MOVE ON
After you have explained your feelings and given the other person time to examine how their behaviour affects others, reevaluate your relationship. If nothing has changed, then it is time to move on.
Trying to maintain a relationship that only causes negative feelings doesn’t benefit either party. Life is hard enough without trying to force friendships/relationships. Someone who truly wants to improve their relationship with you will appreciate the forward honesty. A real friend is someone who will work with you to tackle the difficult topics and resolve conflicts.
We are never in total control of how people act, but if we set boundaries in our relationships, we can (at least partially) control how people treat us.
What are your feelings on this subject? How have you dealt with someone who constantly let you down? Let us know in the comments!
By Raven Fon