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.
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 behavior 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.