How to Deal Diplomatically with People Who Have Certain Expectations About You

No matter who you are, some people will have false perceptions or expectations of who you are as a person. Some of their perceptions and expectations will be positive and some will be negative.

It’s vital that you know how to handle yourself diplomatically. To be diplomatic is to understand how to be sensitive to others and to respond to them in a kind fashion. The following suggestions are some tips on how you can deal with people diplomatically when they have certain expectations about you.

When They Expect You to Be Perfect

Perfection is one of the most common expectations that people unknowingly place on others. Sometimes human beings hold others to higher standards than they can maintain.

For example, your peers may not understand how you could become involved in a drug or alcohol addiction. They may say things such as “You’re such a good person!” or “You seem to have so much strength!”

But the expectations for you to never succumb to temptation or never struggle with other problems are unrealistic. The correlation between having a drug or alcohol addiction and being a bad person is unfair.

You can try this out if you’d like to deal diplomatically with such people. Consider asking them to educate themselves on addiction. Find resources about the dynamics of the addictive process and how addiction can happen to anyone of any cultural background, gender, or economic class. Strive to educate them instead of becoming defensive or fighting with them.

When They Expect You to Fail

Unfortunately, people might have negative or toxic expectations of you instead of positive ones. They might feel as though you are destined to fail in anything that you do. They may not trust your advice, abilities, or truth.

Handle these people diplomatically by taking the opportunity to show them your capabilities. For example, people might not believe that you can fix automobiles, even though you studied automotive repair and you fixed your own vehicle numerous times.

You may want to videotape yourself performing a repair so that they can see what you can do. In the video you can explain what you’re doing and take the vehicle on a test drive so people can see that you’ve restored the car to working order.

When They Expect You to Be a Giver

Sometimes, people will expect you to give a great deal of yourself because you’ve somehow established these expectations. Perhaps you have a caretaker spirit. Maybe, you were in a codependent relationship before. Alternatively, you could also be extremely empathetic.

Regardless of such expectations, you should never allow anyone to take advantage of you. You should never be afraid to say no.

Consider trying specific tactics if you need to be diplomatic with people who expect you to be overly giving. Let them know how much you wish you could help, but explain that you are unable to offer whatever it is that they seek. Wrap up the conversation by letting them know that you will be there in the future if they need your support.

When They Expect You to Be Strong

Other people might expect you to be strong when you’re not strong or not feeling like you are. It happens to resilient people and individuals who have a strong survival instinct.

For that reason, other people may appear to be insensitive at times because they think you might not need support, even if you do. In a situation like that, you’ll have to be able to communicate with such people. You can let them know that you are human just like them and that sometimes you need emotional and moral support from others.

You may have to learn to be more vulnerable and trust other people to be there for you. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help if you need it.

When They Expect You to Have All the Answers

People might expect you to have all the answers if you’re highly educated and articulate. Others might expect you to know how to get through any crisis or resolve any issue.

They may come to you for guidance and advice and become upset if you can’t provide such assistance. There’s no need to get upset with such people. Try to have a calm conversation with them and keep it honest and straightforward.

If people expect you to know what to do, you can let them know that you would love to help them, but you don’t have the resources to do so. Offer what you can offer and try to connect them with other people who might be able to provide the assistance they need.

Try to Stay Diplomatic and Seek Help

The above suggestions may help you deal with people who have certain expectations of you. Try to handle yourself as diplomatically as possible so you can cast a positive light on your character. Speak to a professional if you need help learning new tactics to handle different situations and expectations.

Patrick Bailey

Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them. 

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How to Deal Diplomatically with People Who Have Certain Expectations About You