This subject has been coming up a lot lately so I figured the universe must be compelling me to write about it. A lot of us feel disappointed or angered by others. We often don’t understand that a lot of the disappointment is not on other people, as much as it’s on ourselves.
Managing expectations of others is paramount. I once had a friend who always cancelled plans at the last minute. At one point, I voiced my issue with her. She flippantly apologized and I realized her behavior was not going to change. I then had a decision of whether or not I wanted to keep her as a friend. I weighed all the factors and determined that she was worth keeping as a friend. I then decided that when I made plans with her, to include other people so that if she cancelled I wouldn’t be missing out on anything.
Another piece is not taking it personally. My friend has poor time management and gets overwhelmed easily. She tries to take it all in and do everything. When it comes down to it, having drinks or going to a movie isn’t a priority. It’s not ABOUT me and it’s not JUST me, she does it with everyone.
Something else interesting that I’ve learned about anger is that when I’m angry with someone and start to dissect why, I realize the person I’m really angry at, is myself. Years ago I had an acquaintance with whom I used to work. One night, long after we no longer worked together, she texted me: “Hey, do you want to go to the clubs tonight?” This was very bizarre to me because I’ve never been a “club” person. We barely knew each other. My response was “I’d love to but I have to work tomorrow”. She then began trying to help me come up with excuses to get out of work the next day.
I found myself getting so angry and at some point I asked myself: Why? She’s lonely. She doesn’t have that many friends. She was just trying to connect with me and wanted to go out and have a good time. Why should I be mad about that?
The truth is I was angry at myself because I wasn’t handling the situation well. What I should have said, from the very beginning, was this: “No thank you. That’s not my cup of tea. But I hope you have fun and let’s get together this weekend for a drink”. I’ve told her no, flat and simple. I didn’t make up excuses or lie. And I gave her an alternative to let her know it wasn’t because I didn’t like her. Problem solved.
When either of these emotions creep up in your life, ask these questions:
1) If the person isn’t going to change the behavior, do you still want them in your life?
2) Is this person doing this to anger or disappoint me?
3) At whom am I really angry?
Hope this helps!