I had a couple of different situations this weekend that both dealt with the topic of the expectations we have of other people. I’m starting to think that unfulfilled expectations are the source of a lot of the distance that grows between family members and friends.

The first was a visit to my mother’s house for crepes and for Max to open his birthday presents from her. She asked my wife if she wanted to look at my old photo album, and dug it out. While I was keeping an eye on our wild young man, my mother became a little miffed that I wasn’t looking at the photos too. She wanted me to focus on her, and I was focusing on Max. During this time, he had asked her to do a jigsaw puzzle with him, but she never got around to doing it. My expectation is always that the little dude will be the focus of all of our attention, so I was disappointed that it wasn’t happening. For the record, Max was the most delightful and wonderful boy you could ask for. If you didn’t want to smootch that kid and give him piles of candy, then you’re probably a robot.

The other situation was a coffee talk with an old friend of mine. Like me, he’s been thinking about the relationships in his life and what he wants out of them. We were trying to have scheduled gaming nights to get the fellows together and have fun together, but like any attempt to organize and motivate our social circle, it fell out of favour and died a slow death. He’s found a new group of people at work to play with occasionally, but a big difference is that he refuses to attend the an event at anyone’s house. He doesn’t want to deal with the expectations that  come along with that increase in familiarity. I wonder if that’s a tenable long-term approach to take, though.

What we want from people, and what they want from us, is a basic part of the relationship bargain. It would be  comforting to be able to control the equation and limit what someone wants from you, but that’s not how the game goes. The best way we can handle it all is communicate. If you’re frustrated or hurt by someone’s actions, take a moment to consider if they even know what you wanted from them. They cannot read your mind, and it’s a tad bit arrogant to think that someone should know you well enough that they can anticipate your expectations.

Published by Chris

I'm an author, freelance writer, dad, and civic busybody living in London, Ontario

3 thoughts on “Expectations!

  1. I agree, and would add – listen with complete attention, don’t even think about anything else, really hear what people have to say to you.

  2. Expectations – strange is it not that family members are usually the ones who cause the most pain for us.
    We attempt to have a parents approval when it will never be given, desire friendship from a sibling that merely wants rid of you at the soonest.

    Life is filled with those who intentionally or not cause us sadness. It is much better for us to Love, admire and nurture ourselves. To know we try to do what is right and then – approach others. If we are accepted – good. If we are rejected, not the center or the universe for them – well, we are our own universe.

    The little one will rapidly learn that he has more pleasure in other places, with other people. He will not desire the person who constantly avoids interaction with him.

    However, as a parent we must learn our children are just another child to lots of people – I once told a woman that I had God’s only perfect grandsons. She turned on me in a fury and said she had grandsons too and I had no right to say that. I am afraid I laughed and told her yes she might have the worlds only perfect grandsons, but that was her universe, not mine.

    All a matter of how one sees it.

    Relax, enjoy and remember perfect, darling he might be but to someone other than a parent he might only be another child. Grama’s are allowed, however, to brag until the cows come home.

  3. I want to know where your friend expects to play games if he refuses to visit anyone’s house? Do they take their games down the street to the cul-de-sac and play on the road?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: