The problem with expecting too much

The first time I made cold calls to some prospects, I wired my brain to claim the right that people have an obligation to like me and be nice to me. Unfortunately it didn’t happen! I spoke to different kinds of people, the nice, the arrogant and even those that literally barked at me over the phone. That experience flashed reality right in my face. We often expect people to like us, but well not everyone does. People rarely behave exactly the way you want them to. That is a fact we have to live with. You might feel unwanted and unworthy to one person, but you are priceless to another.  Don’t ever forget your worth. No matter how good you are to people, there will always be one negative person who criticizes you.

We expect people to suddenly change: We often expect people to change all of a sudden. If there’s a specific behaviour someone you care about has that you’re hoping disappears over time, it probably won’t.  If you really need them to change something, be honest and let this person knows how you feel and what you need them to do.

Truth remains that you can’t change people and you shouldn’t try. Either you accept who they are or you choose to live without them.  It might sound harsh, but it’s not.  When you try to change people, they often remain the same, but when you don’t try to change them – when you support them and allow them the freedom to be as they are – they gradually change in the most beautiful way.

We expect people to know what we are thinking: People can’t read minds.  They will never know how you feel unless you tell them.  Your Oga in the office?  Yes, he doesn’t know you’re hoping for a promotion because you haven’t told him yet.  That pretty lady wearing a Brazilian hair you haven’t talked to because you’re too shy?  Yes, you guessed it, she hasn’t given you the time of day simply because you haven’t given her the time of day either.

In life, you have to communicate with others regularly and effectively.  And often, you have to open your wallet mouth and speak the first words.  You have to tell people what you’re thinking.  It’s as simple as that.

We expect people to fit our ideas to who they are: Loving and respecting others means allowing them to be themselves.  When you stop expecting people to be a certain way, you can begin to appreciate them.

Pay close attention, and respect people for who they are and not for who you want them to be.  We don’t know most people half as well as we believe we do; and truly knowing someone is a big part of what makes them wonderful.  The more you get to know someone, the more you will be able to look beyond their appearance and see the beauty of who they truly are.


We expect people to agree with us: I’m guilty of this sometimes. People must not agree with you.  You are not in this world to live up to the expectations of others, and others are not here to live up to yours.  In fact, the more you approve of your own decisions in life, the less approval you need from everyone else.

You have to dare to be yourself, and follow you own intuition, however frightening or strange that may feel or prove to be.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  Don’t get discouraged by their progress or success. (One day you sef go hammer).  Follow your own path.  Success is ultimately about spending your life happily in your own way.

The biggest disappointments in our lives are often the result of misplaced expectations, especially in our relationships and interactions with others.

Not expecting too much from people will greatly reduce unnecessary frustration and suffering, in both your life and theirs, and help you refocus on the things that truly matter.



What do you need to stop expecting from others?  Share with us!

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19 thoughts on “The problem with expecting too much

  1. Walter

    ‘Truth remains that you can’t change people and you shouldn’t try.’ There are lots of women who probably need to know this before getting into marriages with the wrong men who they hope to make right.

    1. Emeka

      Abi o. You can’t just change people like that. Thanks Walter for swinging by..

  2. mariam

    This write up came @ the right time. Someone in the office just pissed me off and I realised I have to stop expecting a lot from people around me. Emeka your words came when I needed them most, thanks a lot.

    1. Emeka

      Thanks, Mariam. I’m glad i could help at the right time 😀

  3. clarisse ndinge

    yh…true all dat! i think we shld also stop expecting pple to be like us and accept dem for who dey are….anoda grt piece!

    1. Emeka

      Yes, Clarrise. When we stop expecting people to be perfect, we can like them for who they truly are. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  4. lizzy

    But Walter some guys change with the help pf their wives. Some people change temporarily while others change permanently. One on one i need to stop expecting people to tell me the truth

    1. Emeka

      I agree, Lizzy. People can willingly change over time.
      Hmmm. Does that mean people always lie to you?

  5. pereye

    Claiming 2b perfect at al time even at d xpense of ur flaws which are so glarin make a hapi relationship to hit d rock.U dnt xpect 2muc fr people coz dey are Human

    1. Emeka

      True, Pereye. Nobody is perfect. Many thanks for reading..

  6. Mr. D

    wow.. Emekatalks getting better and better. Thanks. This is helpful

    1. Emeka

      Thank you, Mr.D!

  7. Adaora Onyenede

    When expectation is less we have little or no chance to experience disappointment. A good write up. Thanks for sharing

    1. Emeka

      Thanks Adaora. I agree with you. Having moderate expections is healthy..

  8. Naijamum

    There is this saying; ” blessed are the pessimists for they will not be disappointed” or something like that sha. I have always managed to brush off disappointments and move on with life, afterall, is that not the foundation of a forgiving spirit? but that does not mean the person will be given another chance.

    1. Emeka

      Yes o. We all learn from disappointing experiences and it allows us the opportunity to re-evaluate our expectations and move forward with our lives..

  9. onyinye

    Nice write up. I have learnt a long time ago not to expect much from people. Thats why it is really important to do stuff for others with ur heart n not expect anything in return.

  10. Kayode

    Lovely write up my brother. God never gave us dominion over our fellow man. So, to expect people to live up to your expectation is to try to control, manipulate or dominate them. We just need to accept people for who they are, and just let them beeeeeee! We can’t change anybody but ourselves. So if we want people to change, then, we should change! We need to focus on ourselves and not on others. A wise man said, “If you don’t like what you’re getting, change what you’re giving!! Thanks my brother for sharing.

    1. Emeka

      Brilliant perspective Kayode. Focusing on ourselves instead of trying to fix others or change others certainly guarantees peace of mind.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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