I have been thinking. No, really, I have. Not for a month or so, but I have. About expectations and hurt and disappointment. I believe I have the solution to a problem you didn’t know existed. It goes like this:

Feeling justifiably hurt by another person depends entirely on who set the expectations for that person.

Let’s say you have a loose agreement with someone to meet at a coffee shop in the afternoon. You get there at 1pm, but they don’t get there until 3pm. You’re angry, hurt and upset with them for coming so late. Sounds reasonable, right?

Well it’s not. Who set the expectations for that person? You did. How is that person supposed to live up to expectations they don’t even know are placed on them? And even if they knew the expectations existed, they may not have been able to meet them, may not have even agreed to them. If you put expectations on someone else, you can’t be angry or hurt or upset that they didn’t live up to your expectations.


Okay, same scenario, but this time you’ve mutually agreed to meet at the coffee shop at 1:30pm. The other person arrives at 2:30pm, and there wasn’t an emergency or crisis – they’re just late. Can you be angry, hurt or upset now?

Absolutely! Because in this second scenario, the other person set expectations for their behavior, and didn’t live up to them for no good reason. So you have every right to be mad.

My point here is that when you find yourself getting angry with someone for something they did or didn’t do, stop and ask yourself: Do they even know they’re supposed to do or not do this? Or is it an expectation I’ve put on them unbeknownst to them? You might find that you have no good reason to be angry, because you haven’t communicated with them and reached an agreement.