Expectations and Assumptions

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!


16 thoughts on “Expectations and Assumptions

  1. IngridMadisonAve says:

    ♥️ This post. Happy to hear you found a way to establish boundaries and take back your power. I have a personal set of “don’t be late” rule, but not all follow this unwritten rule, so I just let it be because it’s not worth the aggravation. xx


  2. An Historian says:

    I get very frustrated by this, and really only ask a handful of people for help- people I know I can be specific with, and that I know will be honest if they can or cannot do something. People are self-involved creatures, and some people much more so than others- it’s not necessarily coming from a bad place, but it’s just the me is more important than the you to a lot of people. I’ve stopped getting upset about it (because I can get pretty upset pretty quickly), and I’ve been saying no to requests when I feel it’s very one-way. That’s given me more peace.


    • Amelia says:

      I am a work in progress on a lot of things. When I can help I do and follow through – I put the you before the me. So letting go that not everyone does is a struggle. You are so right it is not worth getting upset over as that is energy I can place else in a positive way. Thanks for commenting. It was a post I thought hard about sharing or not. But it is my truth.


  3. arv! says:

    I feel we humans get disappointed because of expectations and egos. And expectations is exactly what makes us human…distinct from other living beings on this planet!


  4. angelanoelauthor says:

    Hi! It’s so easy to be disappointed in others when my expectations aren’t met. So so easy. But similar to you, I investigated those feelings of disappointment.
    I balk at the idea of “lowering expectations.” There’s so many contexts where that doesn’t work–like at work for example. One cannot lower expectations when a certain work product is due of a certain quality. This always tripped me up when given the advice to lower my expectations. But something clicked for me when I talked with a particular co-worker once. She told me something like, “I realize you and others won’t meet the same high expectations I have of myself.” I kind of hated her for saying that. She basically put herself on a pedestal and told me I was a loser. When in fact I was doing my absolute best with the information I had. Later, after my bruised ego recovered, I realized two things: 1–I do this too, though I don’t say it to people. 2–assuming others value the things I value in the same way I value them is a recipe for disaster.

    I think you’re doing a great job of thinking through what you need and don’t need and how you want to approach both. Good work!


    • Amelia says:

      Thank you for your thoughts. I don’t want or I should say I’m not going to lower expectations. I am going to realize everyone is coming to the table with their own expectations/assumptions. I am working on being more clear with what I need. From the book the 4 Agreements 1) don’t make assumptions 2) be impeccable with your word 3) always do your best and 4) don’t take things personally. Sigh from work in progress.


  5. Lisa Orchard says:

    I agree with your sister. If you’re asking for help you need to be specific so that they can fit you into their schedule. If you’re not they’ll fill their schedule with something else. IEveryone’s so busy these days. 🙂


  6. gemmaorton says:

    We all have our own set of expectations. We expect others to have similar thoughts and reactions to ourselves. I’m the same. But it’s good to make our needs and expectations clear. As we don’t all think the same.


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