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Why Do I Expect Too Much from Others – 5 Reasons

Expectations are often a good thing as long as they are real.

But the thing about expectations is that they more often reflect our hopes and dreams than the real circumstances and the capabilities of others.

We often expect other people to behave or treat us in a certain way and then feel deeply disappointed if things do not work out as expected.

Attractive Afro American woman sitting on bench outdoors in the park feeling dissapointed aftre conversation with friend

We are frequently not even aware that we have expectations. The most challenging relationships in our lives are often the result of high expectations that have no basis in reality. 

Why do we expect too much from others?

Is that a good or bad thing? And what should we do about that?

Those are some of the questions we’ll tackle in this article.

The Real Reason You Expect Too Much from Others

A person who knows how to assess his surroundings realistically, who knows how to look at every situation in relation to what that situation means here and now, who knows how to properly assess the possibilities and scope as well as the aspirations of the people around them, will have expectations from others, but these expectations will be realistic.

If you constantly seem to expect too much from people and then people constantly disappoint you, it means that something in your perception of reality has escaped you.

Here are some common reasons why your expectations may be disappointed:


Unhappy woman thinking about problems, sitting on floor in bedroom alone.

The cause of the big gap between reality and your expectations can be certain childish self-centeredness.

When you are much more concerned with yourself and your desires and simply fail to appreciate the reality of the situation you are in as well as the reality of other people, it is natural to get disappointed. 

Lack of Emotional Literacy and Social Intelligence 

Undeveloped emotional literacy and social intelligence can hinder your relationships in many ways.

You do not recognize other people’s feelings well, which leads to misinterpreting their intentions.

This causes you to easily project your desires and expectations onto them even though they haven’t actually given you a reason to do so. In this case, disappointment is a rule of thumb.


Perfectionism as a trait often leads us to set extremely high standards for ourselves and others.

And although we may be inclined to reach and surpass those high standards of our own, other people do not have to have such aspirations at all.

Perfectionists find it very difficult to understand people who do not want to give their best on every occasion. 


Sometimes, especially among young people who lived in families where their parents often met them and fulfilled their wishes, high expectations result from always positioning themselves as children in relation to others, expecting from the environment the level of engagement that they received from their parents.

In this case, high expectations are characteristic of the transition period between childhood and adulthood, when a person is still learning what is objectively his responsibility and what he can expect from others.

High Emotional Charge 

young unhappy woman

Sometimes, when we are in love or emotionally charged for some other reason, we easily overlook the other person’s real capabilities and project our desires onto them.

This can often happen in relationships with people who are close to us, with children, parents, friends, and the like.

Precisely because we care so much about those relationships, we give ourselves the right to expect a lot from them, even though what we expect may not be realistically possible.

How to Overcome Unrealistically High Expectations

Whatever the cause of unrealistically high expectations of others, it is crucial to learn to distinguish our wants and needs from our expectations.

The better we know ourselves and our needs, the easier and more accurately we recognize the wishes and needs of the people around us, which leads us to a much more realistic perception of our life circumstances.

The idea here is not to abandon all expectations since it is natural to have them but to let go of unreasonable ones.

When we anticipate less from others, allowing them to be themselves, we may be surprised when they do follow through and offer us the affection we require.

Constantly reflecting on your own expectations might assist you in identifying areas where your expectations may be a little exaggerated or unreasonable.

Then we may work on modifying our perceptions of what people should do for us and why they should do it.

Nobody is flawless, so keeping expectations balanced and reasonable will help you connect better with everyone around you. 

The One Exception You Must Let Go  

girl talking and drink coffee on the river

One thing you should let go of is the idea that someone would make you feel good about yourself.

If you rely on others for your emotional well-being, there will undoubtedly be occasions when they make you feel horrible about yourself.

The key to mature relationships is balancing appropriate expectations while maintaining a firm grip on your self-worth.

You need to understand that whatever others do and feel about you, you are the only person who is responsible for how you feel. Taking responsibility for your own feelings is a sign of great maturity.

As long as you blame others for how you feel about yourself, you will inevitably find yourself disappointed with people. 

Learning to recognize expectations for what they are — expressions of our desire and a shadow of what we want from the world — helps us to open our hearts to a broader experience in which expectations can guide, but not govern, our efforts to connect with others.

Wrapping It All Up 

Expectations are something that comes easily to us. We have expectations as humans because of our social and emotional requirements, so we shouldn’t be shocked when they begin to arise.

Most human relationships form on the assumption that the other person would behave in a specific manner, do certain things, and offer emotional support.

So remember that there is no reason to give up on all your expectations. The point is just to be realistic about what you expect from others.