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  • Gabriella van Rij

Expectations Are The Killer Of All Relationships

A bold statement, but true. Here’s why… Expectations in a relationship means you already have the outcome in mind without communicating this to the person, and when what you expect does not happen you are then left with a distorted image of how it should have been… First, we need to be clear that expectations are part of everyday life, from the moment we have any type of relationship, whether it’s personal, family, or business. Expectations start early and stay with us throughout our lives. So why are we so disappointed when the expectations don’t become reality? Because we assumed and hoped that it would happen. On the other side of the coin, when we fail expectations that someone else places on us, it causes pressure when we do not meet their criteria. Clearly, it causes a lot of problems in all our relationships. But you can control the expectations someone has of you by communicating… Where it goes wrong is when we are either too afraid or too embarrassed to tell the other person what we expect or ask what is expected from us. Doing this not only necessitates skill in communication but also requires us to be vulnerable, which none of us like in general. Don’t forget, often we not only have the expectations, but we want the other person to exceed our expectations! For example, in the workplace, when you apply for a position at a reputable company you assumed you would get job security. And their reputation might be a large reason why you chose to work for them. We are often unaware of what is expected of us in the workplace, apart from a list of duties that come with any position. When you work with a team of people, the unspoken expectations make it difficult to see the big picture. And even when you think you are a great communicator, you also have the issue that you don’t really know what others understood from what you have said, as not everyone listens.

Tips for combating expectations at the workplace: · Ask for details when working together with others · Have an open attitude · Ask for feedback Moving on to expectations in our personal lives, think of yourself applying for a promotion and how you would discuss this with your immediate family (spouse/partner and children) at home. The response you receive might be very positive, and they encourage you to take the new job. However, if nobody thinks of the consequences of your new position you may be setting your entire family up with expectations that could end up disappointing them. As your family might not expect any changes to concern them.

Tips for handling expectations at home: · Give detailed information · Talk about the consequences · Ask for feedback Now we are back to my favorite topic communication, because this is where it all starts… You cannot expect to have smooth relationships in the work place or at home without proper communication. Yes, communication takes time and effort for all involved. But in the end, this is the only way not to be disappointed or to disappoint someone else. What I suggest you try on a daily basis is to drop your own expectations before entering a meeting or entering your home and you will see that something else happens… You now don’t expect anything so whatever you now walk into is with an open mind, thus improving all that comes next and even affecting the people around you!

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