The Magic of “I’m Disappointed”

 My Dad, the Original “I’m Disappointed” Magician

 

I remember how much my father enjoyed going to various high-end West Los Angeles restaurants in the 1970s and 1980s. As a gourmand, he had high standards.

One evening Dad had a bummer of a meal at The Velvet Turtle. (By the way, turtle soup and anything else turtle-related or velvet-related was not served there!)

Dad didn’t go home to face indigestion of body and spirit. He wrote The Velvet Turtle’s manager a letter expressing his profound disappointment with his dining experience. This incident occurred long before the advent of email, so my father handwrote a double-sided letter explaining exactly what fell short at the establishment.

 

Lo and behold, Dad promptly received a profuse apology and a gift certificate for a full-course dinner for four. (I stole took his certificate and brought my then-boyfriend and grandmother out for dinner – the food and service were very good!)

I never forgot my father’s satisfaction with his informing the manager he had a less-than-magical experience, nor did I forget the end result.

 

Whenever I’ve been deeply perturbed by the actions of an individual or group, I get in front of my laptop to write my “I’m Disappointed” email.

My fond wish is that the“I’m Disappointed”email “technique” will work as well for you as it has worked for me. 

Here are two easy steps to take for your happy dance touchdown time.

  • The phrase “I’m disappointed with…blankety blank” always goes in the subject header and also the body of the email.
  • I never use foul language, despite having been very tempted to do so sometimes. I keep it short ‘n sweet and chock full of disappointment.

For you writers out there, here’s an example of an email I sent to BringChange2Mind. I asked for author/mental health advocate Jessie Close’s consideration to endorse my book. 

It’s followed by “I’m Disappointed” missive, & then the prompt, courteous reply I received from BringChange2Mind. 

 

--------------------------- Original Message ----------------------
Subject: Attn: Jessie Close/Book Endorsement Opportunity
From:    "Dyane Leshin-Harwood"
Date:    Tue, 7 March, 2017 2:23 pm
To:      information@bringchange2mind.org
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Jessie,

I hope you're doing well!

Like so many other readers, I bought "Resilience" and was deeply moved by your journey. I especially related to your love for dogs. I enjoyed seeing the photo of you with Redstone Rocket - I have a 
Sheltie/collie mix named Lucy, and her face looks a lot like Redstone Rocket's. I also loved the photos of your adorable Wowie and  
Snitz.

I'm a writer and mental health advocate.My memoir "Birth of a New Brain - Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder" will be publishedthis fall by Post Hill Press.

I'd be honored if you'd consider endorsing it.

You'd join other inspiring movers and shakers including:

--Dr. Verinder Sharma, Perinatal Psychiatrist
--Dr. Nancy Byatt, Psychiatrist/Professor, University of 
Massachusetts Medical School
--Mark Lukach ("My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward")
--Jay Mohr ("Gasping for Airtime," "No Wonder My Parents Drank," Podcast One's MohrStories, "Keep Oregon Well" Spokesman/Mental Health Advocate)

I've attached the front & back cover for your review. The book on Amazon for pre-sales and you can read its brief description here:

https://www.amazon.com/Birth-New-Brain-Postpartum-Disorder/dp/1618688014/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488918029&sr=1-1&keywords=Birth+of+a+New+Brain

I look forward to hearing from you very much!

Warm regards,

Dyane Harwood

 After two weeks with no reply, I sent the “I’m Disappointed” email:

Subject Header: Very Disappointed

“Dear Bring Change 2 Mind Staff,

On March 7th, I left a voicemail message at the website’s contact number
(for Annie) and I emailed that same day, but I never heard back from
anyone.

I realize that working at a nonprofit is demanding (I’ve worked at three
of them here in Santa Cruz!), but I’d really appreciate a confirmation
that you received my email and that my request is being considered.

Thanks so much,

Dyane Harwood”


The next day I received this response from BringChange2Mind’s Staff

Hi Dyane, thank you for your email, and please accept my sincerest apology for not responding sooner. It sounds as though you understand how time manages to slip by too quickly in the non-profit world! And, as a small staff of three, I am afraid that it’s always moving faster in the BC2M office than I would prefer!

Congratulations on your book! If you could send us a copy here at the office, I could put it in the mail to Jessie with the hope that she would be able to read it. She has been extremely busy lately so I can’t make any promises, but it’s always worth a try!

Thank you again for reaching out to us!

 ———–

I’m astounded at how quickly I usually receive a courteous response after I fire off the I’m Disappointed email. Oftentimes I’ve heard back from someone within 24 hours of sending it. Of course, I don’t always receive a reply or get what I want – although once in a while I do – but it feels good to get such a quick turnaround.

Try it the next time someone lets you down, and let me know if the magic happens for you!

Love,

Dyane

 

p.s. I’m writing this post at the Cliff Cafe which is down the street from the Munchkin Cabin in beautiful Alpine Meadows. My view of the Truckee River:

 

We’ve been coming up here for almost a decade. The cabin owner has become a friend and she gives us the “friend’s rate” that makes this trip possible.

Next Friday I’ll let you know about my latest adventures in this magnificent wilderness – hopefully I won’t have a bear come inside the cabin while I’m there (been there, done that!) or get lost in the Sierras (ditto!), or have Craig break his foot while walking down the stairs again, or ride Squaw Valley gondola when the staff fires off an avalanche-prevention explosive almost directly beneath the tram (yep!) – and hopefully I won’t need to write an “I’m Disappointed” email while we’re up here!

 

In this short video, I’m watching Lucy swim for the first time. She’s braving a pond that’s fed by snowmelt from the top of Alpine Meadows. I was so verklempt over my furry girl’s swimming prowess & her concern for Rilla! (Apologies for the loud “Oh my Gods” in the background!)

If you want another brief dose of Lucy’s cuteness, check this out! 

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder, with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw, will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th, 2017. Birth of a New Brain is now available on Amazon for paperback pre-sales. Kindle pre-sales will be available in August.

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31 thoughts on “The Magic of “I’m Disappointed”

  1. I love the concept of politely expressing disappointment. I’ve been doing that at restaurants for a few years with my own internal proviso that I’m not looking for a free dessert or a free anything. But unless the manager knows what went wrong the place will never know why I may not be coming back — like, when the phone doesn’t ring you’ll know it’s me.

    Cute doggie too.

    Jim

    1. Hi Jim!

      Thank you for your very kind comment – especially for what you wrote about Lucy! 🙂 The apple of my eye. I’m impressed that you’ve contacted managers so they simply can improve things, and not for a mere freebie!

      I send you my very best – your comment most certainly did *not* disappoint me in any way, shape or form! 😉

      Take care,

      Dyane

      1. The thing about talking to the manager is that you’d like to come back but if you just leave and start telling your friends, the store or restaurant has no way of knowing that they screwed up with you. Of course, sometimes, as with a restaurant, you just want the mistake fixed: “Please make me a new one without mayonnaise and don’t just think you can scrape it off.”

        But not expecting further compensation somehow puts things on a more honest level.

        Now, I’m wondering how you even found my own blog on fun facts about Martin Luther. Was it the reference to manic-depressive? (I don’t think the term is commonly used these days but that’s how it was used in the biography I was basing most of my information on.)

        Jim

    1. Fear not I saved yours and the other long and juicy response to read in front of a real computer I only can use my phone where we’re at I will reply in the worthy way that you deserve I love you

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Kat!

      I wrote an “I’m disapppinted ” tweet on Twitter this morning, but I decided to delete it and give the organization I’m disappointed with a few days to see if they read my tweets that mentioned my concern. I also sent them a separate message on their website and that didn’t mention being disappointed. If I don’t hear back from anyone, then you know what I’ll be writing! 😉 Thanks again for stopping by & take care,
      Dyane

  2. Love your ‘disappointed’ email. I’m definitely going to give it a go – I’ll no doubt get an opportunity very soon! And Lucy is sooo cute. Enjoy your holiday – looking forward to hearing all about it soon xxx

  3. Aw, Lucy swimming reminds me of the collie-lab we had when I was a kid. Rusty LOVED the water, and would literally run the deck and jump into the lakes whenever we’d go camping. Ah, such a sweetheart. Now, don’t you DARE have any misadventures when you’re up there, which I know is hard for the caffeinated spy monarch, but you’ve got to try, okay? I’ve been to the doctor’s office more this summer than in the past, oy, three years? No more misadventures for anyone anywhere ever again! GAH!

    I love your tips on the magical disappointment letter, too. Isn’t it strange how a polite request can be ignored, but once it seems like we’ve upset someone, quick, apologize, do what’s needed! Well, if you had just answered the request in the first place, you wouldn’t be in that position, silly. I hope your dad didn’t mind the magically disappearing certificate! 😉

    Enjoy your lovely time in Munchkinland, O Lovely Lady of the Noired-Up Beans! (Yes, new word. Yay words!) xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  4. What a great “life hack” to share! I have often forgotten how powerful “I’m disappointed” can be, and that a respectful and concise note (sent with the right intentions) can bring such prompt results. This is also a great way for those particular persons (such as myself) who have anxiety about conflict, or folks just anxious about speaking up and using their voice, to stand up for themselves and what they may need or want. It is non-aggressive, well-intended, and easy to execute. Thank you, again, for the reminder.

    P.S. I, too, am happy of your use of ‘verklempt’! 🙂 Enjoy your days in such beauty and congratulations on your book!

  5. Wow! I’m so glad that your dad taught you a civil way to express yourself! I’m amazed at how quickly you received that email. I hope you don’t have to write too many “I’m Disappointed” messages.

    1. I’ve written a bunch of these emails over the years. It feels really good to do something about my frustration instead of just whine about it no matter what the outcome may be. I still can’t quite believe the incredible success rate I’ve had with them! I almost didn’t want to post about it because I feel like it’s my special secret (I know that’s super-selfish and silly! I’m not divulging any complicated and brilliant method, ha ha!) and it makes me feel good to possibly inspire someone to do the same thing. Thanks so much for reading and commenting because I know you’re busy, and it means a lot to me!

  6. “I’m disappointed” is a great way to express your displeasure or even anger in a positive way. So great that you learned that lesson from your father early on. I’m definitely going to try this route next time I’m ignored or just need to get the attention I deserve.
    (Though my father probably wouldn’t have written a letter, I can imagine him politely expressing his displeasure to the manager. He used to alway say “the squeaky wheel gets the grease!”)

    1. Wow – I can imagine my dad saying the same thing as your dad what about the squeaky wheel!!! It feels good to do this even if nothing comes of it I promise you you’ll feel better making the effort instead of just stewing about something annoying…let me know what happens when you decide to go for it! 🙂 xoxo

  7. Dear Life,

    I am very disappointed at the way you seem to be treating or letting me be treated. It is a sort of roller coaster ever so often and even the breaks I take from stuffs seem to be avenues for other brohahaha. I sometimes wish I had a clear agreement with you with the terms clearly marked out especially the start and end dates, rights and responsibilities, consideration for efforts and services and all such things you know. In the mean time, could it be possible to review the leisure time allowed in your comapny as well as possibility for expanding the team engaged on your project which will facilitate my management thereoff? I specifically request this because although I am a ‘certified project manager’ I never learnt about the best way to manage projects such as yours. In anticipation of your prompt response and consideration, permit me to cc my captain in this as a witness to my good faith – with Lucy on guard of course;

    Soncrely,

    Marie

  8. Expressing your disappointment civilly has worked well for you. Your father taught you well. So glad you are again enjoying Tahoe. Miss the Sierras. Hope it’s not too hot up there. We’re burning up in SoCal.

    1. I always love your comments, Kitt! It is very hot up here but then there’s the icy lake, river, creeks and ponds to help out in a big (and stunning) way! I know how much you love it here too, and I’m sorry it’s so hot down there.

      Drink lots of water, and I’ll be thinking of you! I’ll never forget your gorgeous wedding photo you took on the lakeshore!

    2. p.s. the only thing I really don’t like about this area is how most of the dog owners insist on having their dogs walk around off-leash, and oftentimes the dogs are without their owners. Yesterday if I hadn’t been driving slowly I would have hit a dog that was crossing our street unattended. 😦

  9. Dear God,
    I’m disappointed my brain has these issues and would like to have my current one replaced with a brain that functions in a far superior manner. It would be nice to retain the current lifespan’s events, and even better if previous traumas came with better explanations and didn’t result in memory recall difficulties, flashbacks, etc. Further it would be nice if I could recall important details useful for life, such as peoples’ names, birthdates, emails, and phone numbers, as well as remembering if I took my medications. Speaking of which, I’ve also been disappointed with my health while aging. Physical healing would also be appreciated and super-human powers would not be rejected. As I’ve been broke lately, and depressed, and as my dental work has aged, I’ve found myself in need of two implants, but while you’re repairing, could you set me up with two new adult teeth? You know the ones. Your customarily miraculous and prompt response is greatly appreciated.

    Dear Current Employers,
    I’m disappointed my salary has been kept so low for so long and would really appreciate a review of the situation in light of my extensive training and experience, tenure and continued service. A reasonable compensation would be appreciated, as well as additional compensation for the years of extremely low wages that I have accepted patiently rather than just getting a different job.

    Dear Dyan,
    I’m disappointed that we met so late in my life but I am willing to accept this as long as the terms of our friendship remain unchanged or on an improving track for the remaining duration of life, and on to eternity.

    Thank you all so much for your consideration and concern,
    Sincerely,

    Deon

    1. Yes it is! I have to give Mike Myers from his “Saturday Night Live” days full credit for memorably introducing me to that word! 😉

  10. I’d forgotten how powerful those two little words “I’m disappointed” are! Thanks for the refresher course. Love the Lucy videos, as always. Wilderness! Ahhhhh……..

    1. I always love your comments! There is something about the word disappointed that reaches people! Maybe it’s tapping into their formative years – who knows? I wish you could be here to enjoy the magnificent scenery. The Sierra wildflowers are out of this world! There are so many of them…all beautiful! I’ll take pictures of them for next week’s post. I know you’ll love them!

      1. I can’t wait to see photos and oh yes…how wonderful it would be to tramp in the wild places with you and Lucy!

        And I think you’re on to something about “disappointment” hitting something deep in our psyches from childhood!

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