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10 Things to Stop Expecting from Others

Discover the things you need to stop expecting from others so you can have more successful, happier relationships with people.

“My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus.” – Stephen Hawking

Expectations set up an attachment to specific outcomes, leaving little room for fresh possibilities. However, there are ways you can save yourself from the disappointments that arise from undue expectations.

As we all know, we cannot control everything and make everyone behave according to our wishes. Consider what would happen if you stop expecting the following, and focus on the positive changes that arrive in your life.

10 Things to Stop Expecting from Others

Here are 10 things you need to stop expecting from others in order to be happier:

1. Validation

Don’t expect other people to validate your worth. Your value lies within yourself. Other people are tuned in to their own lives, busy projecting their own needs and wants onto the world around them.

They aren’t emotionally or mentally available to confirm your worth. What they say and do with you reflects their own expectations, and not to be confused with your own.

2. Praise and Appreciation

You may receive praise—or not. You can’t depend upon it from others. If you do good things expecting others to acknowledge it, you set yourself up for disappointment.

Don’t do something to earn people’s gratitude; instead, do something because you want to do it. Do it because it helps you feel better, or it matches your integrity.

Praise yourself. When you take a step in the right direction, overcome a funky mood, or do something kind for others—pat yourself on the back.

It doesn’t matter what others see. What matters is what you think about yourself. Make a personal commitment to engage in encouraging self-talk. This leads to self-validation.

3. Motivation

No one else can be your full-time cheerleader. A friend can occasionally help pick you up when you are down, but they can’t force you to enjoy life. It’s up to you to set goals and take action to reach them.

Stop expecting someone else to do the dirty work for you. Goals needn’t be dramatic, but they do need to move you forward toward something you value. Sitting around waiting for motivation to strike you is a losing battle.

Find something—anything—to move you off your bum. Get into motion. Start your blood flowing, engage your mind in something outside of yourself, and feel the momentum build.

4. Understanding

No one has had your upbringing, has walked in your shoes, or lived your life. Experiences that formed your current view of life differ totally from that of every other person walking this earth.

So don’t expect someone else to “get” who you are deep inside. Some will relate closely; others won’t have a clue what you are talking about.

Maybe it’s time to let go of insisting others think the way you do. Allow them to have their own perspective, based on their own unique experiences.

5. Optimism

Only you can find the possibilities in your day, your relationships, or your life. Sadly, the average person is looking for what is wrong so they can fix it and then feel happy.

Just listen to the surrounding conversation; you’ll find a plethora of complaining and blaming. It’s your choice to take part in that. Instead, try to blaze your own trail by focusing on what can go right instead of what is wrong.

6. Fulfillment

Trying to find someone else to fulfill your life is an endless chase. Stop expecting to meet that one person who can meet all of your criteria. One clear definition of the word “fulfillment” states: “satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one’s abilities or character.”

That’s it. Once you find fulfillment in your own life, you are ready to connect with others in a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship.You have to get right with yourself before others can get right with you.

7. Joy

Others can temporarily prime your happy factor, but they can’t force it on you if you aren’t open to realizing that joy is shining into your daily life. Joy comes from seeing the good things that are already in your life, small and large.

A man held in an Afghan prison lived in a cramped cell with a grey concrete floor and metal bed. Only a small window at the top of the outside wall let in a narrow beam of light in the morning. He eagerly anticipated that light, and every day gave thanks for its presence.

One cold autumn day, as he shivered on the damp floor, a bright red leaf blew in and landed in front of him. He carefully picked it up and hid it, knowing his captors would take even that one small joy from him. He pulled it out daily, just to look at it.

Over time, it faded to a deep rust color, but it still brought the only color to his world. Then one day he found a piece of bright blue thread in the corner under his bed and hid it away, too. These three joys—a beam of morning sunshine, a dried leaf, and a thread—helped maintain his sanity for three years. He eventually escaped and fled to freedom. Hearing this, I realize I live in a cauldron of joy—but only if I will look for it.

8. Silliness

We need to be silly; to have moments when we are nonsensical, goofy, and irreverent. It keeps us from getting too serious about life. It’s at its best when sharing it with a friend, but sometimes no one is available. Dancing with our cat, twirling across the living room, or standing on the bed to deliver a soliloquy will bring some silliness into your life.

Making faces in the mirror, weight lifting with a jug of laundry detergent, sword fighting with dinner spoons, and releasing inhibitions will all help release some tension. No one else is required for me to make a complete fool of myself, and it sure feels good sometimes. I appreciate people being appropriate in society, but let’s give ourselves a break!

9. Solutions

We all have problems. Others can help us sort through potential solutions, but if the problem is in our life, it’s one we helped to create. It’s up to us to resolve what we instigated.

Think about it—has anyone’s suggested solution to your problems set right with you? We usually find others’ recommendations miss the mark. Only people with a victim mentality expect others to come to their rescue. Victors review options, take action, and adjust as needed.

10. Judgement

If we grew up with negative feedback, we expect judgement from others. When someone offers a comment, we look for a hidden meaning behind their words.

We believe everyone has a hidden agenda. Everything other people do is suspect. If someone looks at us funny, we wonder if we have spinach on our teeth, when maybe they are thinking our haircut looks outstanding.

If we receive a compliment, we puzzle over what that person wants from us. If we look for negative feedback, we are certain to find it everywhere.

Oprah Winfrey conducted an experiment where beautiful women were given fake scars on their faces to see how people responded to them as they walked down a city street. Unbeknownst to the women, during a “final check” of their fake makeup, the fake scars were removed.

They went out with their usual beautiful faces, but upon returning, reported people looked at them with judgment, made fun of them, and pointed at them as they walked down the street. What they expected from others is how they interpreted their experience. AND their interpretation was totally incorrect.

Maybe it’s time to stop expecting from others, and to take charge of your own life. Are you carrying around past mistakes that you need to forgive yourself for? What old self-image messages you received from others now ring false? Are there changes you want to make? Where do you want to improve? Take your life in hand and make it happen. It’s your life. Lead it.

What will you stop expecting from others? Tell us in the comment section below. 

12 Comments
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12 Comments
  1. Roy

    February 15, 2021 at 2:34 AM

    I think this can be applied to Facebook especially.
    Don’t expect anyone to respond to what you post, either
    with an emoticon or especially a comment. I use to get caught
    up in this, and now I could care less. It really doesn’t matter,
    considering there are more important things to be concerned with.

  2. Jayashree Acharia

    November 22, 2020 at 11:01 PM

    The best article written on this topic. I was really wondering about how to stop expecting anything from people and this article showed up. I am going to work on #2, #4 and #6.

  3. Aaron Myrie

    October 11, 2020 at 1:43 PM

    This is very well written and explained. Very clear and concise.

    Thanks Ellie, this helped a lot!

  4. PRINCE YOUGH.

    October 15, 2019 at 1:06 PM

    Since i read this article today,i will stop expecting anything from anyone.

  5. Steve

    August 5, 2019 at 10:15 PM

    Encouragement. Accept

  6. KASIM KARIM

    August 3, 2019 at 10:20 AM

    Well well,

    • Krishti borah

      June 3, 2020 at 11:38 PM

      Love I say

  7. E.R

    April 23, 2019 at 1:15 PM

    WOW! I am bookmarking this one! I just had a conversation with a friend of mine that I silently expect things from people after I help them with something. After this conversation with this friend, it really got me thinking about the way I behave in this life. I DO silently expect people to read my mind and know what I want from them. Or have them read my mind and know how to make me feel better when I’m down. As much as I’m not a mind reader, neither is anyone else. The only mind that I can read is my own and I’m going to work hard on getting my own mind set on a good path, yet still try to be the best friend to people that I can be. I just won’t silently EXPECT anything in return. If I need something, I’ll tell them… Great read! Thank you for this article!

  8. fran lim

    April 2, 2019 at 10:41 AM

    Don’t expect so you won’t get frustrated and harbor ill feelings. Remain positive and always remember to love your neighbor. No man is an island.

  9. Leonita Phatowali

    February 20, 2019 at 10:55 PM

    Amazing. In-fact we are the strength for ourselves other than any people in this world. The only person from whom you can expect those 10 things is ‘YOU’.

  10. Eva N. Kiritta

    February 10, 2019 at 4:06 PM

    Wonderful outlook. That’s how I have lived most of my life, because I always believe that the answers to our questions on any aspects of our lives, etc begin with the source, US. Out there is nowhere.

    • Petronilah

      February 13, 2019 at 1:14 PM

      I will stop expecting people’s support

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