Dealing with disappointment when a friend lets you down can be a challenge. Especially when you still want to be a good friend.
Disappointment is one of those emotions that can sneak up on you; in fact you probably never even see it coming. Everything is cruising along just fine and then boom, a big old disappointment slaps you right in the face. And it hurts.
Today, I’m talking about disappointment in friendship, mostly because I’ve had a few struggles recently and it’s been on my heart. And also because I figured that if it’s something I deal with, you probably do too.
Speaking of disappointment, did you know that disappointment is often a result of not having your expectations met? It is. And when it happens to you, it can be difficult or even downright painful (*raises hand*).
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Here are a few things to help you
Acknowledge your feelings
When a friend disappoints us, it can feel like a betrayal. Take a minute, shove all that emotion and those hurt feelings off to the side and ask yourself what really happened and why you’re feeling disappointed. Break it down for yourself, bit by bit. And as tough as it is, try to think about the other person’s point view too. Allow yourself some time away to process everything and really feel what you feel; then work on letting those feelings go. Negativity OUT!
Speak your mind…with grace
Part of being a good friend, is being an honest one. So, when you’re ready, muster up the courage and confront your friend…with grace. I’m not talking about coming at them with guns blazing, throwing out accusations or climbing up on your soap box to preach to them. No…nobody needs that. Calmly and collectively talk to your friend; tell them exactly how the disappointment affected you and why you feel the way you do. Ask questions and try to understand their side and how they are feeling too. It might take some time, but talk about moving forward, together, and what that would look like.
Lower your expectations
As I mentioned above, disappointment can result from having high expectations. So, lowering your expectations of a friend can help reduce the possibility of there being a disappointment in the first place, as well as help you to develop a realistic approach to your friendship. Not all friendships are created equal, and that’s okay. You get to choose the people you surround yourself with and how closely you deal with them. Not everyone will make the final cut.
Evaluate your friendship
While disappointment can be a hard thing to experience, especially in friendship, it does allow you to take a step back and really evaluate your relationship. Think about the friendship wholly and how things have been in the past. Are there any patterns you’ve been ignoring? If you can recall several instances of being let down by a friend, that’s probably a red flag and maybe you need to decide if the friendship is even worth continuing. If not, then a good honest heart-to-heart over a tall glass of Pino Grigio might be all you need to get on the same page again. Either way, try to be honest with yourself about the situation and the outcome. It’s okay to let people move on when they aren’t right for you anymore.
Friendships can be tricky, especially when we’re all flawed humans (myself at the top of that list), but friends are essential for our happiness and the truth is, we’d be lonely and friendless if we expected perfection and to never be disappointed by anyone. So, when you’re faced with a disappointment in one of your friendships, be clear (and realistic) with your expectations of yourself and of your friend, adjust your own expectations if needed, and give forgiveness when you can.