5 Ways to Handle Other People’s Expectations

others' expectations, stress

And with that, I’ve had to stop. And with stopping, I’ve had people looking.

‘What are you going to do now?’ is the popular question.

Oh, well, I don’t know yet. I need some space. I need some time to think. I need the answers to come when I’m still.

But lots of people don’t like stillness. Lots of people feel uncomfortable about stillness.

(Actually, I was someone who felt very uncomfortable about stillness at one point. And I don’t discount the fact that I do panic slightly in the initial stages when life calls for it! I’m getting better though)

‘What’s the plan?’

Oh, well, I don’t know yet. I need some space. I need some time to think. I need the answers to come when I’m still.

‘Oh. But, but, but…. Have you thought about…?’

And there it is; that next question that is laden with other people’s values and judgments.

Look, it’s a tricky one to get away from. People are going to naturally want to impart their wisdom onto you. They are going to want to ‘save’ you or ‘fix’ it or give you some very much needed ‘perspective’ (their own).

businessman, smile

From trusted, respected loved ones I’ve heard: ‘There’s no shame in giving up, just for a while, just until you get yourself back on track’, or ‘If I were you, I’d go back to working full time. Running a business is hard’ or ‘You’ve given it a red hot go. Maybe it’s time to be realistic now.’

People who decide to follow their dreams have it challenging enough. They’re creating something and anyone who has done this likens it to giving birth and knows it’s not easy. Have you thought about how one feels if they’re told to give up their dreams?

I know it’s challenging to watch someone struggle when things not working…. But have you thought about how impactful it is to hear, ‘I think you should quit while you’re ahead?’

So, how do we handle these loving words of advice? They are just that, loving words of advice. You may not realise it at the time, but they’re people just caring about you, wanting the very, very, very best for you (through their own lens, of course).

My suggestions:

Turn it around. 

Be ecological about it but ask them this, ‘Have you ever wanted something so bad that you were willing to do whatever it takes? And you just hit a bad patch? And someone told you not to pursue the very thing you wanted anymore?’

Stop them. 

Be strong. The line may go something like this, ‘Hey, I really love what I do and am going to keep going. I’d really love your continued support in the process if you can offer it.’

freedom, expectations

Reframe it. 

That may go something like this; ‘Am I right in saying that might be something you’d do in my situation? Good for you if that is the case. I’m going to take a different approach.’

Smile and wave. 

Other people’s expectations can have them appear as naysayers, which I spoke about here. Smile. Wave. THANK them and move forward, knowing in your heart that you’re doing the right thing for YOU.

Imagine this. 

If you take their advice, if you stop fighting, if you give up, or if you accept less then what you’re hoping for according to someone else’s expectations, what’s that going to look like in a year’s time? In two year’s time? In 30 years time? Regret.

And we don’t want that now, do we?

How do you deal with with other people’s expectations? Let us know how you handle them in the comments below!

Silimar articles you might find interesting:


Lynda Bayada (9 reviews ) Business Coach, Executive Coach, Life Coach, Spirituality Coach

Leave behind your established career and soulfully transition to fulfilment. I specialise in guiding successful transitions from the corporate career ladder to the aspirational, entrepreneurial life path.  Read more