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3 Tips On

How To Stop Having

Unrealistic Expectations

Of Others

By Ronda Phillips I Dare to Outdo Yourself!

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CHALLENGE Yourself to:


Realistically speaking, do you sometimes find yourself having unrealistic expectations of others?

For the most part, when others do what we expect of them, life seems to go rather smoothly for us -- at least it appears that way from our own perspective.

However, when others go against the grain in a direction contrary to our expectations of them, more often than not, all sorts of drama will eventually unfold. We may become frustrated, thinking to ourselves all the unnecessary drama and disappointment is just so pointless.

Why do others manage to let us down? 

Could it be that we may sometimes have unrealistic expectations?

What does it actually mean to have unrealistic expectations?

Unrealistic expectation is defined as, not able to see things as they really are: based on what is wanted or hoped for rather than on what is possible or likely: not sensible and appropriate regarding a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.  

Think about the relationships you have with others -- with your spouse or partner, children, parents, siblings, friends, neighbors, coworkers, employers, clients, customers, etc. Do you have the ideal relationship with each, or do you have certain expectations for the people in your life to improve in certain aspects of who they are or how they do things that may be considered unreasonable or unrealistic to them? And to turn the tables around, do you believe the people in your life view your relationship with them as being totally on point -- and that you never seem to disappoint?

The truth is, at some point in life we may disappoint others, and others may disappoint us. However, there can be a tendency to blow situations out of proportion because of unrealistic expectations we may have with others, which can impact and affect relationships negatively.

Here are 3 helpful tips on how you can stop having unrealistic expectations of others:


As kids, many of us imagined growing up to become a super hero, owning a classic sports car, having the ideal dream job or living a fancy kind of lifestyle. Then...we grew up and accepted other people into our lives. Life happened, including the good, bad and the ugly. Perhaps someone promised you the world, only to turn your world upside down, spilled over with lies, deceit and betrayal.

For example, you may have met someone who was a bit of a charmer and a flirt who swept you off your feet, showered you with gifts, love, affection and attention, and the two of you eventually became a couple. Gradually, over time, you may have noticed subtle red flags waving in your face that were perhaps there from the beginning and you chose to ignore, such as your partner flirting with others frequently, showing less attention toward you, constantly being jealous, speaking harsh words, staying out late more than usual, and suddenly having an inability to keep money. Eventually, the dirty laundry -- hidden secrets -- unpleasant truths would become revealed about your partner living a double life and having multiple affairs with others over the course of your relationship. You may have had an unrealistic expectation of your partner to be totally committed, loyal and faithful to you.

Or, for example, perhaps you became business partners with someone you trusted after being shown how much money you could make on a deal in a short amount of time, and that you had to make a decision on the spot, which seemed too good to be true and you couldn't risk passing up on the opportunity. However, because of no research and no questions asked, other than taking your business partner at their word, your risk may have caused you to lose everything you worked hard for, including your spouse, children and all the money in your bank account, never to see or hear from your business partner again. You may have had an unrealistic expectation of your business partner to be completely ethical and trustworthy in dealing with you.

Although dreams can come true, life is not a fairy tale. For the most part, people generally start off with good intentions, however, nobody's perfect. We all think and reason differently. We may not understand someone else's logic in making their own choices that may impact us in some way. Keep your eyes and ears open. When you can assess the current reality of a situation, by having a keen sense of awareness of what is happening around you, asking questions -- along with watching reactions and listening to the responses of others in question, and doing your own research about what has been presented to you directly or indirectly -- you won't easily fall for promises others may not or cannot keep.


Do you often maintain an unwritten set of rules for yourself, while having a different set of rules for everyone else that don't apply to you? Because of position, title or certain roles, we may not expect others to have the same expectation of us to do what we expect of them. However, everyone involved is realistically and reasonably expected to do their part accordingly.

For example, it is reasonable and realistic to expect all able bodied family members to chip in to do chores and clean up after themselves in the home. However, if you are unwilling to take responsibility and do your part consistently and correctly by setting and being a good example, then it would be unrealistic to expect others to do so in return.

Or, for example, it is reasonable and realistic to expect your children to study and thrive academically in school if a healthy and normal routine has been established in helping them do so. However, if the home environment is disrupted in any way due to unhealthy choices made by the parent(s), then it would be unrealistic to expect children in the home to maintain a healthy normal routine and not be affected in return.

Avoid having a "do as I say, not as I do" mentality. Look at yourself in the mirror and assess if you have been maintaining a double standard. It can be easy to expect others to change, while having an unwillingness to change yourself if you refuse to see your own flaws. Do you often try to change or control others? Do others view you as the bullying type, because you may come across as either vague, uncaring or insensitive, often making demands and requests that may be somewhat unreasonable at a given time? If so, listen to what others have to say without becoming defensive or getting easily offended. Take inspired action to set a good example, be a respectful team player and do your part(s) accordingly from now on.


If you have been around someone long enough or know them well enough that they have an established track record [good or bad], which has been continual from day one, then it may be safe to say this is considered to be their "normal." Once one's character, nature or way of being has been established, there's no need to be surprised or caught off guard. Therefore, rather than having unrealistic expectations about someone else's "normal" to change, you either accept it or not.

For example, think about the first time you had an interview, meeting or date with someone you now currently interact with, such as an employee, client, your spouse or partner. Perhaps the individual was extremely late during your first encounter, didn't contact you ahead of time to inform you they were behind schedule, and showed up with no apology or explanation as if everything was okay. Maybe you brushed off the lateness as a one time thing and didn't question it. However, over time, you have learned that habitual lateness is a pattern consistent in their daily routine. You may have had an unrealistic expectation that the other person would change and become a punctual person overnight.

Or, for example, on the other hand, suppose you have issues with substance abuse or are unable to maintain a stable job, so you rely on a family member or friend to enable you with your vices or financial responsibilities. However, when your family member or friend sees that you have put little to no effort toward improving your situation and they have become depleted physically, emotionally or financially at your expense and decide to stop being an enabler, you may have an unrealistic expectation for the other person to continue to put up with your lack of care for yourself. If you show that you care very little about your own well-being, then others may feel they don't need to care on your behalf. 

We can have an unrealistic expectation for someone else to be a certain way if an issue concerning them was never addressed from the beginning. It is important to communicate our concerns with one another immediately, in a loving and caring manner in order to resolve accordingly. We can become disappointed when we don't see others change for the better. They have to learn and grow on their own, even when we want to give our advice and they don't follow it immediately or in some cases never. You can make a choice to be patient as others work on making changes to improve themselves in their own timing and way. You can make a choice to be proactive toward helping others improve themselves to set and accomplish realistic goals that can yield positive results in their life. You can make a choice to accept or move on, based upon what you believe will be the best solution for all involved.


It can be easy to become critical and judgmental of others who do not comply with your expectations of what you believe they should be, do or have, while not taking into account that others may also have unrealistic expectations of you. Having unrealistic expectations of others can often occur when we don't take into consideration the timing, location or tone in our approach when attempting to gain their undivided attention during an inopportune moment. Likewise, having unrealistic expectations of others can occur when we choose to ignore, rather than have a mindful awareness to address certain red flags, warning signs and clues that were more than likely revealed [about ourselves or others] early on. 

Over time, unresolved issues or disappointing circumstances can cause others to change and make choices that you never would have imagined to happen in a million years, which usually snowball, creating more serious problems that may ultimately affect or impact your life in return. Since change is inevitable, being prepared to handle unexpected changes in life can help minimize any devastation you may experience with others. 

Be reminded of these 3 helpful tips on how you can stop having unrealistic expectations of others:

1. Assess the current reality of a situation

2. Refrain from having double standards

3. Consider the routine habits of others as their "normal" 

Take into consideration how you may have felt when others expressed having unrealistic expectations of you in the past. Choosing not to have unrealistic expectations of others frees you from the stress of disappointment, frustration and anger, and on to a path of greater joy so you can have the abundant lifestyle you desire.

The eBook, PE Class Workout Guide authored by Ronda Phillips is a personal development and self improvement resource that can also help position you to be productive during the day. The ebook also includes Purpose and Empowerment Right Now Declarations, which provides hundreds of declarations to help remind you of who you are and that the best is still to come in your life. This recommended resource also includes a Manifestation Evaluation, Manifestation Equation, and Daily Manifestation Worksheet. This ebook is also an ideal keepsake gift for someone you care about. You can go here to discover more about the eBook,PE Class Workout Guide.

To Your Empowerment!

Known for her creative style, positive influence and straightforward professionalism, Ronda Phillips is a certified life coach,author, speaker, television host, style expert and entrepreneur. Her core mission is to empower and challenge individuals to become propelled to take charge of their life through preparation, performance and persistence. Ronda is the founder of Dare to Outdo Yourself!

Prepare. Perform. Persist.

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