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Friday, May 18, 2012


They ruin everything. They really do. Think about it. How often do you have high expectations for something or someone and it or he/she didn't live up to them? I bet more often than not.

I'll give you an example: Say that you and your spouse/or significant other have been going on a walk after dinner (now you know that I am not talking about Leo and me because we only have dinner after baseball games and when it is too late and we are too tired to go for a walk after). It was a lovely gesture that started one night when it was nice out. Fast forward to two weeks later and many more nights of walking and it becomes expected that you are going to walk after dinner. Well, the other person makes plans to go out for a beer with friends or even a business meeting happens and BAM! Disappointment.

Say you are going to a movie or a party and you have been looking forward to it all week. You have high expectations that you are going to be entertained and that the movie is going to be good or the party will be fun and then the movie was bad or the party wasn't what you thought it would be, BAM! Disappointment.

Relationships are the biggest area that expectations ruin. We do this without even realizing we are doing it. It can be as small as seeing a neighbor out and stopping to chat. The next time I am out or see the neighbor, the expectation is that I'll stop and chat. If I don't, something must be wrong. It can be even smaller...when you text someone or call someone, you expect them to text you or call you back. If they don't, the wheels start turning of what could be wrong. It can be as big as the boys having a doctor's appointment and Leo taking off for it. The expectation is that he'll be able to the next time and when he can't, I get upset. Or even bigger...since Vegas was a trip that Leo and I took together, the expectation is that it will always be that way and when it is not and only he goes, I get mad, disappointed, hold a grudge and don't forget (wait...I'm going off on a tangent, aren't I?).

We've all had those experiences that we were dreading and we ended up having a great time or we've been pleasantly surprised by a friend's gesture and why? Because we had no expectations, we weren't disappointed. Why can't the rest of our lives be like that? Not the dreading part but just the no expectations part. One could argue that life might be a little sadder if we always have such low expectations and I would agree to that on some level but it hurts more when your expectations are never met and life is pretty stressful if expectations are always put on you that you can never meet.

Expectations weigh us down. What was once a nice gesture becomes an obligation which becomes one more thing we have to do in a world of to do lists that are a mile long. I would like to do things because I want to do them. I would like people to call me because they want to talk to me. Obligation makes it feel complicated and messy.

There is also room to argue here that some relationships might be about having expectations met and if all cards are on the table and each party knows what is expected of them and they feel they can meet those expectations then I will concede that as an exception to this rule. I would argue back that more times than not, one party doesn't know what is expected so the other party is disappointed (how many times have you heard, "I'm not a mind reader"?). It's also exhausting trying to live up to others' expectations. I have a hard enough time living up to my own.

Disclaimer: This post was inspired by an event happening next week where a lot of expectations will be put on me and kept on me until the beginning of October. Every summer I struggle with this and because I can't blog about it, it makes me a little crazy.

Your turn, when was the last time you had expectations that weren't met? Or what expectations are being made of you that you can't or don't want to meet?


At May 18, 2012 at 8:56 AM , Blogger said...

I always have a ton of expectations of my friends to do things that I think they "should do" like not be flaky when we have plans and things like that. The less I expect the less I get let down, but then it makes me sad because I feel like I can't count on anyone...

At May 18, 2012 at 11:02 AM , Blogger AnnMarie said...

Yep...that's how I feel too. As I get older and the less I expect, the more I feel like there are less that I can count on. I don't like the flakiness either. :)

At May 20, 2012 at 8:15 AM , Blogger mCat said...

Interesting that I just had this conversation with a friend at Starbucks the other morning. Friendships are a huge source of expectations, and I appreciate the cards being laid on the tabel and knowing exactly where I stand and clearly expressing what I can offer. Makes relationships so much easier.

Great topic

At May 20, 2012 at 10:11 AM , Blogger AnnMarie said...

I agree 100%. It's so much easier when everyone involved knows where they stand. Wouldn't it be nice if everything was written in simple language? Hate the games and would rather it be an even playing field. :) I feel another post coming on. :)

At May 20, 2012 at 8:25 PM , Blogger Kimberly said...

It always seems that I have higher expectations than what is actually met. It hurts. A lot. I wish there was a way to make people more open so that I knew what to expect instead.

I hope everything is alright. If you can't blog about it and need to vent, you know where you can find me. :)

At May 21, 2012 at 8:12 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree! I expect too much from others and find that they let me down alot but I cannot break the cycle of expecthing them to know better or understanding.

At May 21, 2012 at 10:11 AM , Blogger AnnMarie said...

That's kind of how I've been feeling too. I think I am going to do a post putting all my cards on the table. :)

I emailed you. :)

At May 21, 2012 at 10:14 AM , Blogger AnnMarie said...

I think this is why relationships (any of them) are so hard. It's hard to put ourselves out there and say what we expect or would like so we say nothing but keep hoping that the other person will know. On the other side, I sometimes feel like I am playing a game that I don't know the rules to.

Thanks for the comment!


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