I had a conversation with my sister recently over expectations. I was feeling disappointment and mad over what I give and what I receive over a recent situation. Our conversation gave me perspective, suggestions and breathing space. The background around this situation is when people need help I offer and give them clear expectations. I ask when do they need me. I tell them when I am free and we book a time. I show up and do what is needed. If no date is set at the time I follow-up. Do you still need me? Do you have a time that works now?
So my expectation is this is how it works. Yes, people say they can help, but dates and times are never mentioned. I have a hard time asking for help to begin with so try to not put others in that situation – hence I make a date and follow-up. This isn’t how it works for a lot of people. I am left with an offer to “help” that I find airy-fairy and I’m stubborn so now I don’t want to ask again. This leaves me disappointed in people and mad at them and myself.
The conversation I had with my sister was that not everyone is action oriented. We were raised if something needs to be done you do it. I live by this, the problem is recently I have helped and helped and when the metal was to the floor and I needed help none was available or offered. My sister asked if I gave clear instructions? What? I said I needed help. Her response “when they said yes they would help, did you say great can you do it this Saturday?” Hmmm….. no I didn’t. My expectation is that they will offer dates and times like I do. They are not you I was told. We discussed lower expectations, setting boundaries and dealing with disappointment. Just breathe.
This has always been an issue I have struggled with and I’m sure I’m not alone. I don’t want to say lower our expectations but I know I have to change mine. I can’t expect people to follow my code (it is my code after all). I have to take a breath and not be disappointed by what is offered or not offered. To meet people where they are coming from. The biggest change for me will be putting dates and times on individuals’ offers to help. To say thank you and are you free on XXX or XXX. To NOT have expectations on people remembering and following through. To take that out of the equation if I want my needs met. Basically to take charge of what I need and don’t make the assumption people follow my code.
If I don’t want to be disappointed by people, or at least curb that disappointment, I have to own some of it. I must have clear boundaries, not make assumptions and when asking for what I need lay it out there in concrete terms of when and where.
Is there anything you struggle with that putting more framework around would help?
You can always start now!