Building a healthy relationship with yourself and with others

Delayed Disappointment

This morning a girlfriend and I were having our morning chat, and the subject of delayed disappointment came up. Delayed means, “the act of postponing, hindering, or causing something to occur more slowly than normal.” Disappointment means, “the state or emotion of being disappointed” and disappointed means, “defeated in expectation or hope.”

I saw a quote that said, “hope is delayed disappointment.” I don’t completely agree with that. We should be hopeful for things in life. I do; however, have a certain perspective on the subject.  Have you ever been in a situation with a family member, co-worker, friend, mate, etc., and you didn’t give them an honest answer or communicate at all because you didn’t want to disappoint them with the truth? Most of us have done that at least once in our life.  But what we fail to realize is that by leaving things open to other people’s interpretation or the other person’s expectations or the other person’s hope, we create an environment for disappointment to occur.

I’m going to using an example shared by my friend. She asked her boyfriend if they were going out later that evening/night.  He said, that should work or be fine (something like that). He knew all along that he was going out with his friends, and the chances of him being back in time for them to go out was slim to none, but instead of saying, “Can we pick another day because I am going out with the fellas and I’m not sure if I will be back in time for us to go out”, he left it open to her interpretation with “That should work”. So, you can imagine what happened when she was expecting and waiting, and he was a no-show. She was not a happy camper.  He wasn’t honest with her upfront because he didn’t want to disappoint her, but what he ended up doing was disappointing her even more.

The same holds true in the workplace.  Your boss leads you to believe you are going to get the promotion, but in fact, someone else gets the promotion. Your boss knew all along that you probably were not going to get it, but he/she didn’t want to disappoint you or want you to stop putting in the effort you were putting in to get the job done. When you don’t get the job, you may feel betrayed, deceived, or lied to, which leads to you being disappointed and no longer going the extra mile and it creates an environment of distrust. He/she made the situation worse by not being forthcoming/honest/upfront/communicating.

You can’t control how other people communicate with you, but what you can do is control how you communicate with other people.  If you are someone who is guilty of not being upfront or not communicating because you don’t want to disappoint the other person, consider the fact that you just might end up disappointing them even more. Even if you are unsure, say so. It makes the other person aware.



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