High expectations uproot relationships. Even foundational friendships unglue when someone places unrealistic requirements on the other person. I’ve noticed this in my life. Others projected their lofty demands, and I faded.

I’ve also handed out some unfair requirements.

People I love seem distant. My high expectations are the cause. Have you noticed this in your relationships? Maybe an old friend doesn’t come around as often. Maybe you separated yourself because they weren’t trying hard enough. You weren’t pleased.

“You are your own worst enemy. If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself and others, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you.”

― Lisa Kleypas, Love in the Afternoon

In my life, I doll out the toughest requirements. My friends are patient with me. My family is understanding. They know I am only human. Still, I don’t return the favor. A holier than thou attitude is my nemesis. There are times I forget I am not God’s gift to the world.

I am a difficult person. Reading Gill Hasson’s How To Deal With Difficult People: Smart Tactics for Overcoming the Problem People in Your Life, is teaching me that high expectations often ruin relationships.

Before reading her book, I never realized my requirements of others. Here are a few of the unrealistic expectations I have:

  1. Texts I send must be responded to quickly and never unanswered.
  2. My time should never be wasted waiting on someone else.
  3. Friends should agree with me and should never argue.

These are but three of more than a dozen expectations. The craziest thing: I don’t follow these myself. I usually pardon myself. I think I am above these rules. Wrong.

Honestly, these expectations are unrealistic. Here’s why:

  1. Life is busy. People rarely ignore a friend’s text. They forgot to respond, or they will answer later.
  2. Again, things happen. Their boss called. Maybe duty called. You never know.
  3. In his song Remember This, rapper NF says, “Don’t take opinions from people that won’t listen to yours.” Friends listen to and respect one another even if they don’t see eye to eye on every topic.

It’s important to identify the requirements you are placing on others. Ask yourself, “Is this realistic?” I have found many ideas that I must eliminate. Expectations are often unconscious decisions we make. Maybe a life event causes a new requirement. Some are legitimate.

Other expectations come from a place of fear. I often fear friends and family don’t respect me. So, I create requirements that demand more for them. In reality, these expectations tear down credibility.

Those you love will respect you when you treat them the way you want to be treated. Respect them. Forgive them. Create realistic expectations of others, and your relationships will flourish.



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