Get your hopes up

To "get your hopes up" is to expect something good to happen

Today's story: Honesty study
Explore more: Lesson #170
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Get your hopes up

Today’s expression is to get your hopes up. To get your hopes up; what does that mean? When you get your hopes up, you are expecting something good to happen. It’s an emotional state. You’re almost enjoying the good feelings in advance of something happening. And you know what can happen when you do that, right? You risk being disappointed if the good thing doesn’t happen.

In fact, we almost always use this phrase when we’re talking about the risk of disappointment. The risk of disappointment. Don’t get your hopes up: that’s a common thing to say. In fact, I just said it a few minutes ago. If you lose your wallet in Kazakhstan, don’t get your hopes up. You’re probably not getting it back. Don’t get your hopes up. In other words, don’t allow yourself to think that someone will return it. You’d better just accept that it’s gone—and it someone returns it, well then, that will be a nice surprise. But if you don’t get your hopes up, then you won’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen.

One thing I absolutely hate doing is looking for a new job. Maybe that’s why I’ve been in my current job for ten years: not only do I hate looking for a new job, but I’m really bad at it. One of the things I hate about it is that you’re on a constant emotional rollercoaster. You have an interview; it goes well; you start to imagine what would happen if you got the job. You start to imagine your new commute. You think about the raise in pay. You start to enjoy it in your head. You can’t help it. And this is what happens: every time I get close, I get my hopes up. I start thinking—yeah, I’ll get this. And then I start imagining all the great things that happen with this new job. And then—well, you know. There are a lot of jobs we apply for that we don’t get. Then we suffer the emotional lows of being disappointed. What’s the best advice? Don’t get your hopes up. Don’t start imagining your success; don’t pretend you have it. The best advice is: don’t get your hopes up. Do you know what’s wrong with that advice? It’s impossible to follow! I constantly get my hopes up! And I then if I don’t get the job, I get disappointed.

That happens when you’re looking for a new house or apartment, too. You see the listing; it looks perfect; you can afford the rent or the mortgage. It’s in a great neighborhood. You start to get your hopes up…but then someone outbids you. Or, you discover the listing, the advertisement, left out some crucial details. That’s what looking for an apartment is like in New York, at least in my budget when I lived there. You would find a listing and it would look great. Then you’d get there, and you’d discover there’s actually no kitchen—the listing failed to mention that. Or, it’s on the fifth floor with no elevator. Or, it’s on a really noisy corner. Or, it’s actually not a one-bedroom like the listing said, but it’s a studio. Or, sorry, the price just went up. My advice to you, if you ever try to find an apartment in New York: don’t get your hopes up until you actually sign the lease. There are a ton of things that can go wrong.

Fun fact, when I lived there, I lived in an apartment on the fifth floor with no elevator. And no laundry, so I had to carry my clothes up and down five flights of stairs. Such are the pleasures of living in New York on a budget.

Quote of the week

Time for the quote of the week, since it’s Monday. It’s a lighthearted quote, but it’s a moderately well-known quote in American literature. Here it is, remember this is fiction: “I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.” The speaker is Nick Carraway, the narrator of “The Great Gatsby,” a classic American novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Today’s topic reminded me of this quote. We all think we are honest, but have a low opinion of other people—that was what the study showed, right? That reminded me of this tongue-in-cheek quote, “I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.” Now, in the character’s defense, he’s surrounded by people who are all pretty dishonest, including Jay Gatsby, the main character in the book whose whole life story is based on deception. So maybe we can forgive Nick for thinking he’s one of the few honest people he’s ever met. Leonardo DiCaprio played Jay Gatsby in the 2013 movie adaptation of “The Great Gatsby,” in case you want to watch the movie.


That’s all for today: thanks so much for being with us. JR and I are getting really close to being able to share our big project with you—we’re not quite ready. It’s not quite ready for prime time yet, but we are getting close. You have my permission to get your hopes up, because you will not be disappointed, especially if you’re really serious about improving and learning more about our great English language.

Enough teasers for now. Don’t forget our email list, which you can join by visiting PlainEnglish.com/mail . We send out additional learning resources with each episode. And look for us on social media with the user name PlainEnglishPod. That’s all for now—we’ll see you back here on Thursday.

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Story: Honesty study