Expectations form the premise for interpersonal relationships. Expectations may be alternatively characterized as ideals inextricably linked to specific individuals, situations, or outcomes. However, our conceptualization of these ideals may evolve prior to interpersonal exchange. In other words, some of us have the tendency to place expectations far beyond what is realistic by using a set of criterion to measure adequacy.
When reality deviates from prediction, a negative cycle of disappointment begins when the same suppositions are reimposed within another context. This may lead to confrontation and hostility during future interactions. Subsequent to discouragement, emotional walls are built thereby affecting our ability remain honest and vulnerable during communication. So here is my proposition for creating reasonable expectations that prevent calamity.
Delineate Clear Boundaries
When you are developing a relationship, make it clear where you stand. If there is no desire for romantic involvement, explicate that physical interactions are unacceptable. If you have not made your intentions clear, you must take the time to do so. It is also worthwhile to pay attention when someone tries to appease you by saying what you want to hear. Suppose your significant other promises you a new phone for your birthday. Upon realizing they have broken their word, you may be devastated. When promises are habitually broken, positive expectation becomes replaced by mistrust.
As a consequence, you may struggle to put yourself out there and experience difficulty being vulnerable. Furthermore, there is a greater possibility for developing social anxiety and depression that limits the ability to forge strong interpersonal relationships. This is particularly unfortunate if you replace social interactions with isolation.
First consider that having high standards might be problematic. Pretend you are looking for your prince charming. In order to agree to a date your requirements are that he must be good looking, smart, over six feet tall, have blue eyes, and be financially stable. First and foremost, it is unlikely to find all of these characteristics in one individual. These qualities are based on superficial and basic physical attraction. This does not guarantee that if you find the person possessing those traits, you will have an genuine emotional connection with them. In order to find the right person, you are going to have to be reasonable about what qualities are most important. And realize that your checklist might eliminate someone that really is worth your time.
Let Behavior Be Your Guide
If you have ever been stood up, hurt or let down, you should see by now that relying on promises and expectations is a mistake. The best predictor of future outcomes is by evaluating past behavior. When there is a history of lying, manipulation, and standing you up, do not accept their word as truth. It is more beneficial to adjust your expectations based on fluctuations in behavior. Trust what you see, not what you hear. Just remember that trust needs to be earned. Do not expect the most from a stranger. It is foolish to believe that a good looking man will be the one you marry just because they are sexy and charming. You may be better off having zero expectations at first. Just remember you will only endure regret when you fail to take the time to get to know someone.
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