First, I want to apologize for not posting the last few days. I have been home sick with a terrible sinus infection. You know the kind that knocks you off of your feet, when you can’t do anything but sit in a recliner and shove tissue after tissue in your nose hoping it will somehow pull the clog of snot out? Yea, that’s the kind.
Between naps, headaches, sneezes, and overall whining to my lady about how cruddy I feel I had time to sit and think about what I wanted to write in my next blog. We all know that many times in life people can tell us about lessons they have learned in hopes of preventing us from making the same mistakes to learn the same lessons. A few years ago a neighbor friend of mine told me about a hard lesson she learned when it comes to relationships and dealing with people. Often times we find ourselves putting expectations on people that they don’t even know about, and when they don’t meet those expectations, we feel upset and disappointed in them. How is this fair to them? Or even to us? We are really truly setting ourselves up for failure.
It seems like an obvious concept that we should all know and practice, but in reality it isn’t, at least it wasn’t for me. I’ve always been the kind of person that goes out of my way to do what I can for anyone and everyone around me. I give, give, give and I do it whole heartedly. To me, that’s just what you do; you treat people how you would want to be treated. The golden rule right? Well, that’s just not how the world works. Just because I take the time to make sure the gas tank on the car is full before returning it to my friend, doesn’t mean that friend is going to do the same for me. I might take the time to wash the dishes in the sink of the office break room, but that doesn’t stop my co-workers from piling them back up. But it’s a little deeper than that even.
We can’t just expect our partners, friends, family, co-workers, or anyone around us to just know what we are thinking. We have to communicate our expectations very clearly. For example, if you am going to be working all week and you know you won’t have time to wash a load of laundry, and your work clothes are in there, you can’t just hope that you partner is going to wash clothes just because the laundry basket is getting full. While you might expect that they would, they might have 1000 other things on their mind and would have no idea that you needed those clothes washed. The same concept can be applied in numerous situations. You can’t expect a co-worker to pick up slack for you at the office when you are sick. You did not ask that co-worker for help, and just because you might automatically volunteer to help out, that doesn’t mean the co-worker has too. S/He might have a very heavy load right now and are unable to help. By assuming things are just going to happen, is setting you both up for frustration. You are going to be let down and they are not going to understand why, or are going to feel guilty that they didn’t volunteer to do whatever it was you were hoping. You never gave them the choice to help.
It is always a nice blessing when someone goes out of their way to do something nice for us. But we cannot put pressure on people to do that kind of thing all of the time. For one, it becomes less special when it’s happening all the time. Two, the pressure to preform and be wonderful all of the time is too demanding for anyone. People are just people, and they can’t be perfect 100% of the time. However, if you make your expectations very clear, there is less room for disappointment. If you simply say “Hey, friend/lover/sibling, would you mind doing X, Y, or Z” They have the opportunity to say yes they can, or no they can’t. Then you will know ahead of time if other arrangements need to be made. That’s not saying that sometimes they wont forget, or just simply wont do it, but that is a whole other issue. This way, at least they have a choice.
Bottom line, communication is key in all things. Don’t wait until you have put too much pressure on your partner to meet your unspoken demands to learn this lesson. They might break. Instead, talk about how you feel, talk about what you would want to happen in certain events, make sure people not only know you, but that they know your expectations. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I promise you, it will make your relationships stronger, happier, and healthier.