Why Do Others Disappoint You So Often?

Why do many of the people you meet end up disappointing you? Is it, perhaps, your own fault? Do you put excessively high expectations on people? Here are some answers.
Why Do Others Disappoint You So Often?
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Why do others disappoint you? Why, when you always give your all to others, do they end up failing you?  If you find yourself asking these kinds of questions, you’ll probably feel both sad and frustrated and fear there’s no way out. This is an extremely painful psychological state, one in which one you may even stop relating to others for fear of the same thing happening again.

It’s often said that all disappointments are eventually forgotten. However, this isn’t true. Disappointments aren’t forgotten, they leave tears and scratches in your heart. If you’re not one of the lucky ones who can manage these situations well and move quickly on to the next chapter in your life, you’ll end up feeling stranded. Being eaten away by your own disappointments.

What’s the origin of these situations? Is it the fact that the human race, in general, doesn’t know how to take care of relationships due to its selfishness? Or is it, perhaps, your own fault for being overconfident?

We take a closer look.

Girl leaning on glass wondering why do people let me down?

Why do people disappoint you?

Everyone has values. They’re pillars on which you build your perception of the world. They concern what love, respect, friendship, and even common sense mean to you. Nevertheless, you automatically assume that not everyone will be in tune with every element of your internal repertoire. Indeed, you accept that it’s impossible to 100 percent agree with everyone you know or is part of your life.

On the other hand, you still demand a degree of respect. Furthermore, you expect, at the very least, trust and authenticity. However, in many cases, you don’t get it. This causes disappointment. It’s a part of life. In addition, if you repeatedly make the same mistakes, this leads to inevitable disappointments.

Why does this happen?

Overconfidence: Hypocrisy is the natural state of the human mind

We could say that in order to navigate your relationships a little better, you shouldn’t immediately place all your trust in the person you just met. Evolutionary psychologist, Robert Kurzban states something extremely interesting in his book, Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind. He claims that:

  • There’s a part of the mind that has its values and its ideological opinions. There’s also a part exclusively aimed at seducing people. You want to like others, integrate, make friends and win over who you’re attracted to. In order to do this, you (and the other party) tend to tell white lies or even resort to hypocrisy.
  • As the relationship progresses, true characters are revealed. Hence, suddenly, you may discover that the person in front of you doesn’t share a single one of your values.

The best thing to do in all cases is to be cautious. In fact, you mustn’t immediately put all your trust in other people. You must first observe them and how they behave.

The root of all suffering: Great expectations

William Shakespeare said that “expectation is the root of all heartache”. Therefore, if you’re wondering “Why do people always let me down?” you must look into yourself and see how high your expectations of others are.

In many cases, reducing their caliber will allow you to live a little better, without constantly waiting for other people to be as you want, need, or long for.

The bias toward painful relationships

Some people have a tendency to repeatedly initiate relationships or friendships with the same personality profile. An excessively harmful one. For example, if you possess high empathy, or suffer from the classic Wendy syndrome (need to care for and be useful to others) you might frequently find yourself in relationships with narcissists.

This is something that happens far too often. Indeed, your personality type often seems to fit with those who least suit you. It’s due to unattended deficiencies, to the low self-esteem that pushes you to feel attracted to people with whom you feel visible. Until the time comes when you realize the manipulation, the deception, and the emotional wear and tear you’ve suffered.

A sad man, demonstrating the question, why do others disappoint you?

Don’t expect to always get what you give

You know what the term reciprocity means: mutual correspondence, receiving the same as what you offer. However, taking this literally can really make you suffer. Nonetheless, you do tend to expect what you invest in a relationship to be reciprocated on an equal basis.

You must be clear that relationships aren’t business transactions. Indeed, if, throughout your life, you’re constantly asking yourself “why do people always disappoint me?”, perhaps you need to reformulate the true meaning of what reciprocity is:

  • Above all, reciprocity means allowing yourself to receive what others want to give you and enjoying it.
  • Reciprocity is an act of freedom in which each one decides when to give, how, and in what quantity.
  • For example, you may be really worried about a friend and yet they don’t respond to your messages. Or, perhaps you have a friend who doesn’t like to meet up as often as you. However, in difficult times, these friends are always there for you at a moment’s notice
  • You need to take a more relaxed approach. Don’t measure everything you offer in a millimetric way, expecting exactly the same thing in return. Doing so will only lead you to suffer constant disappointments.

To conclude, accepting that disappointments are part of life’s journey is essential. It’s healthier to learn to lower your expectations and be a little more cautious about giving away your trust. Prudence is always a good companion. It’s well worth bearing in mind.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • .Kuzban, Robert (2010) Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind.  Princeton University Press

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.