Do You Have Unrealistic Expectations In A Relationship?
“You have too high of expectations.” That’s what they said- after they’ve let you down multiple times. Not only have they let you down, but now something is wrong with you for being capable of being let down. Ouch. This phrase is thrown around so often and something doesn’t seem right about it.
First, I’m going to explain why this phrase shouldn’t be used in a relationship or friendship. Then I will explain what to do if someone is falling short of your expectations.
What I’m hoping is that by the time you’re done reading this, you will know there is nothing wrong with you. And you don’t have too high of expectations.
What’s wrong with saying, “You have too high of expectations?”
- Expectations are needs that we hope to have met by other people. We all have needs, and having them creates interdependency with others. They are great. Saying that someone has too high of expectations is saying that they have too high of needs, which isn’t even a thing. We are all human, all needy. We all need help, connection, the 5 love languages, money, intimacy, time. You get the point.
- This phrase is a blame-shifter. Instead of being someone who can’t meet your expectations, they shift the blame to you having too high of expectations. This phrase sounds like a way to avoid shame/guilt for not meeting your expectations and since those feelings are too difficult to feel, the arrow is now being pointed at you.
- It’s universal instead of individualistic. Saying that you have too high of expectations means that you shouldn’t have these expectations on anyone instead of just them. For example, if the expectation is you want them to make you a cake on your birthday and they can’t, I bet you can find someone else who would be happy to make a cake for you. They can’t meet that expectation, but someone else can. It’s not that your expectation is too high.
What can you do if someone is falling short of your expectations?
The relationship or friendship was good at first: they would text you often, hang out often- which was wonderful. Now there has been a shift- the honeymoon phase is over or something has shifted in their life. What do you do?
- Watch out for your anxious attachment.
Sometimes when there is a shift in the relationship and one partner is more distant, it can send the other into panic. You might think they don’t like you anymore, but there could be so many other explanations going on. Notice the change, but tell yourself they will be back.
- Give it a year.
Don’t make any conclusions about how much a person can give to a relationship until after a year. It gives you time to assess them in different situations and how they respond. As far as attachment goes, we need consistency, so even if someone is consistently inconsistent that’s good information to have. You need to know what you can depend on.
- Communicate the expectation.
As the saying goes, people can’t read your mind. If you would like your friend to meet a need of yours, ask for it.
- You are responsible for getting your needs met.
This is really important. If someone tells you they can’t meet your needs, it’s not their responsibility anymore. It’s up to you to take the action steps needed to get your needs met by either meeting them yourself or asking someone else- which leads me to the last point.
- Pivot if you need to.
If your friend isn’t a texter, find someone who is a texter. There’s a lot of people out there with different strengths they can bring to the relationship.