Find the balance between expectation and communication

Find the balance between expectation and communication

Find the balance between expectation and communication
May 25
22:41 2018

There is nothing more harmful to relationships than poorly communicated expectations. This goes for romantic relationships, friendships, professional interactions and even family.

As people, we want to be treated, loved, cared for and interacted with in specific ways that bring us happiness and satisfaction. This is a natural part of being human. Given that these expectations are reasonable, they are necessary for our emotional and psychological health. Peoples’ expectations, though, are not always realistic.

I see this everywhere. We hold each other to outrageously high standards. There’s a general sense that couples should have everything figured out—our significant other should be able to know, always, what it is we are feeling and what we require of them. They should be able to provide us with constant attention, affirmation and never do anything to make us feel less than the wonderfully perfect and amazing individuals that we are.

Another trendy belief is that our significant other should shower us with surprise gifts, events and preposterous displays of affection worthy of gracing our social media pages and garnering thousands of likes. Our relationships should be able to be lauded as “goals,” enviable by everyone else.

Your friends should never disagree with you on any major points regarding anything important (or involving you), and should consistently support you in every decision that you make. If they don’t, they’re “toxic” and have to be removed from your life.

And finally, when those around us cannot provide us with the aforementioned things, it’s because they don’t love us enough. We have this idea that if people in our life don’t treat us like we want to be treated, despite anything we might have done or said, then they are “cancelled” and don’t deserve a relationship with us at all.

What should be cancelled is this line of thinking.

It is interesting to me how the first course of action always seems to be to get rid of someone rather than try and communicate any issues, work through them or compromise. How can someone know exactly what you want without you communicating it to them first?

We suck at communication. Whether that is because we were never taught how integral communicating is to building healthy relationships – which, contrary to popular belief, are not always sunshine and daisies – or because the current culture doesn’t value listening as much as it does shouting over one another. We have to listen to each other just as much as we demand to be listened to. It’s a two-way street.

This isn’t to say that it’s wrong to know exactly what you want, or to say that you should lower your expectations, restrict yourself or settle. This isn’t to say that abusive and manipulative people should remain in your life. But we cannot expect for the people in our lives to know what our expectations are and meet them every hour of every day. This doesn’t make them inherently bad people, and to automatically assume so is immature.

We’re all human, after all.

Featured illustration by Allison Shuckman

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Maritza Ramos

Maritza Ramos

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