Last week, I was having a conversation with one of my best friends about a friendship that I was struggling with. I was explaining to her how I felt like this person was generally not being supportive in the ways that I’d hoped. See, she and I had been growing closer and I was so excited about that! And then found out that she had shared some things I had told her (in confidence) behind my back and at the same time, she hadn’t been as supportive as I had expected her to me.
As I shared this with my friend, she said something very similar had happened to her and shared this article with me. It explains the difference between true needs and expectations. If we’re constantly relying on people to meet our every expectation, we’ll be setting ourselves up for disappointment.
The two things that stood out the most to me in reading through about adjusting expectations were understanding differences in love languages and eliminating unrealistic expectations to come to agreement on actual needs.
Have you heard about love languages? This was first introduced to me by another friend (my friends really are awesome y’all) and it really resonated with me.
The five love languages are:
- Acts of Service
- Quality Time
- Words of Affirmation
- Physical Touch
Sometimes, one of the biggest struggle in relationships is a mismatch in love languages. If someone is expressing their love to you using their top love languages but you are expecting something else, that could leave you feeling disappointed and like they don’t care about you. When, in reality, you both are probably seeing the situation from two different points of view. Taking a moment to step of out this zone and see things a different way can really change the dynamics of a relationship.
Eliminating expectations and moving towards true needs (that are agreed upon) is more challenging, but a worthwhile endeavor. There are lots of things that we expect from people: show up on time, not to share secrets, keep promises, apologize first, etc. But we need to ask ourselves is that realistic? Have I always kept up this promise to the other person? If no, that is an expectation that must be released. If yes, you can move to the “need” phase where you explicitly seek agreement on this need with the other person.
Fascinating, huh? I think it’s an amazing way to reimagine relationships and it has been so helpful in alleviating some of the sources of stress in my relationships. It’s hard work. And it doesn’t happen overnight, I am still working on it and I’ll be working on it for a while.
What do you think? Do you need to shift your expectations?
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