Why You Should Keep Expectations Of Others High (And Not Be Disappointed When They Fail To Meet Them)


I have high expectations of myself and of others. I feel like if you put a certain level of effort into any relationship, the other person should put the same level of effort back. I feel as though we all owe certain obligations to others based on our relationship to them, and they, in turn, owe certain obligations to us. I also feel that everyone should observe certain standards of behavior. The nature of relationships dictates that sometimes you give more and sometimes the other party gives more, and different situations dictate different behavior.  As long as the give and take balances out over time and behavior remains situation appropriate, everything is good.

I choose to put in the amount of effort that I would like back, live up to the obligations I would like others to live up to, and act in a certain manner. I expect the same from others in return. I expect no more of others than I expect from myself. Sometimes others live up to my expectations. Sometimes they don’t. Actually, usually, they don’t, but that’s ok.

It’s great to have high expectations. You should expect the most out of yourself and others.  Holding yourself to a higher standard, even if you don’t always live up to it, pushes you to be a better person. You should always strive to be the best that you can be. There’s nothing wrong with expecting the most out of others, either. Most people perform best when they are trying to live up to expectations. It’s also just respectful to think the best of people. It shows what you think they are capable of.

When others do not live up to my expectations, it’s perfectly fine. No one else is under any obligation to live their life according to my standards. Everyone should live their lives in the way that best suits them, and I certainly am not one to judge. Just because I want or think something, doesn’t mean anyone else should. No one owes me anything. Any expectation that they have failed to live up to is something that I expected of them, not anything they put upon themselves. That is my issue, not theirs, and it would be unfair of me to penalize them for it.

More importantly, I consider my expectations aspirational. They should be the goal that I strive for, even if it is impossible to achieve. I like to aim high. If others are consistently meeting my expectations, my expectations are too easy to meet, and I am not setting them high enough. I cannot be the best by aiming for what others are able to achieve easily.

Finally, there’s nothing wrong with being the one who gives more, holds up your end of the bargain better, or behaves better, even if you don’t get the same in return. I like knowing that I gave something my all (or at least gave more). I like knowing that I did what I felt I was supposed to do. I don’t need anything in return. If you’re doing something with the expectation of getting something back, it isn’t selfless. It’s selfish. That doesn’t mean you should keep giving and giving without getting anything in return, but it’s ok if not everything is 100% quid pro quo in any relationship. Maybe it’s pride, but I like to be the one in the right. I certainly shouldn’t hold that against anyone else though.

In short, expect the best of yourself and others, but don’t be disappointed if they don’t live up to YOUR expectations.