We all have expectations of the people around us. We have an expectation that our spouse will do certain things. We have expectations on our kids, our bosses, our staff and even expectations on people we barely know.
And when people don’t live up to our expectations we get annoyed, frustrated and even angry. This leads to a break down in the relationship.
A few years ago I was introduced to the term “Unspoken Expectations” and I realised that so often the expectations we have for people, we haven’t discussed with them.
Say I decided I would really like a quiet relaxing Saturday at home. Then my wife and kids bounce me around the city doing “unplanned” things (on their list of things). I can become annoyed. I don’t want to bounce around the city. I need to relax.
But if I never sat down and discussed my need to relax with my family how would they know? If I never listened to what they needed to do, how will I know if my desire to relax is achievable? How will we negotiate a middle ground BEFORE we set about our day.
Yet, over and over again, we fail in relationships to speak our expectations beforehand (arguing about them afterwards doesn’t count). I have learned firsthand over the years “unspoken expectations” are a significant cause of relationship breakdowns in families, workplaces, charities and friendships.
If you don’t communicate and agree the expectations, it is not the other persons problem…