A few months ago I was thinking about the idea of expectations, and I realized that feelings of disappointment often stem from our expectations not being met, and that if we learned to do two key things, we could avoid a lot of disappointment in life.
- When it comes to relationships, we should learn to communicate our expectations to the people in our life
- When it comes to events, we should learn how to set realistic expectations
As I was reflecting on certain life events, and relationships in my life, I realized that a lot of disappointment and miscommunications could have been avoided had I utilized my advice above.
So I thought I would walk you all through a couple examples, and talk about how lowering my expectations, or better expressing them to others, would have made me a lot happier.
My First Kiss
I didn’t have my first kiss until high school, and I remember feeling as if I was the only person in my entire high school who still hadn’t kissed anyone. After going on a few dates with a guy I had a crush on, I was dying for him to kiss me so I could finally experience the fireworks and butterflies they always described in movies, TV and books. Unfortunately, when it finally happened, I remember thinking, “that’s it? THAT’S what I’ve been waiting all this time for?” There were no fireworks or butterflies. It was just a kiss.
As an adult, I can look back and recognize that I was setting myself up for disappointment with that situation. I’m not trying to say that everyone has a bad first kiss (and I am not even classifying this one as bad). I am simply saying that, had I not gone into that situation expecting a scene from The Notebook, I would not have felt so let down when reality hit.
I believe a key part of maintaining successful friendships is making sure you have effectively communicated your expectations to the other person. Nobody can read your mind after all, so you can’t expect anyone to magically know what you’re expecting of them unless you tell them.
I’ll give a recent example. One of my friends is a much more spontaneous person than I am, and she frequently changes her mind about what she wants to do. I, on the other hand, am definitely a planner, and don’t like when plans change at the last minute. This difference in our personalities caused me to feel annoyed a few different times when we would make plans to go to dinner, and then at the last minute she would decide we should go over to a friend’s house or go to a bar instead.
We finally had a conversation where we each explained our perspective and I told her that I would prefer to not have the plans change at the last minute every time we hang out. I realized that feeling frustrated at her wasn’t doing me, or her, any good if I couldn’t verbalize what I wanted from her. This conversation not only helped her get to know me better, but it has also made our friendship stronger because we know what the other person needs.
What do you all think about the idea of lowering, and better communicating, your expectations? Do you have any examples of how this has helped you in your life? Let me know in the comments!