How High Expectations For Your Relationships Are Hurting You
It was over a pancake breakfast that me and a friend landed on the topic of relationships — more specifically, friendships. Even more specifically, how we shouldn’t expect so much of our friends even when we want more from them.
To clarify, I’m not talking about situations where a “friend” is outright mistreating, gas-lighting, or disrespecting you. I mean the times where a difference in personalities becomes apparent and one party in the relationship feels some kind of way about it.
For example, you could feel like being best friends with someone means that you guys talk almost every day about everything. But the other party doesn’t feel this is necessary at all. They could very well still consider your relationship very important, but because they don’t show it the way you think they should, it feels like they’re not as invested as you are.
This can be tricky to navigate. Sometimes it is just one person not wanting to put in any effort and the relationship may need to be dissolved. But other times, it’s just a matter of two different people having two different ideas about what expressing love looks like.
Knowing the Difference
My friend told me that because everyone has their own perception and experiences of reality, that means they also have their own understanding of what friendships or relationships should be like.
Something that you would find inappropriate to do to a friend may not be a big deal to them. Or maybe your way of showing love is a little too extravagant for your more reserved partner.
While these dissimilarities within partnerships could sound like grounds for moving on to finding someone else to hang out or be with, that’s not necessarily the case. Human relationships are weird and tricky. But they’re also interesting because so many other factors can come into play besides surface level differences.
Do you laugh whenever you’re with this person?
Do you both still share the same values and morals?
Are the interests or hobbies you share still a part of your connection?
Things like this say more about your relationships with the people in your life than if they are behaving the “right” way. Holding all of your friends — who are all unique — to a singularly high standard of friendship behavior is only setting yourself up for hurt feelings.
Learning to Flow
What I mean to say is, know what you will and will not tolerate from your relationships when it comes to mutual respect and overall treatment. But try not to expect anything of the people in your life, even your closest friends, because it could lead to disappointment.
You have no idea how things will turn out or how your relationships will progress. Just go with the flow of your connection, allow your experiences with each relationship to be unique and natural.
If you want to, you could have a conversation with the other party in your relationship to talk about how you’d like to receive their love and attention. Things like love languages could be something worth discussing to get a better understanding of your friend or partner.
But in the end, all you can really do is make sure you’re being a good friend. It may be a hard pill to swallow, but you can’t control anyone else, not even those closest to you. Trusting the natural growth of your relationships is one form of surrender that can lead you to a more stable, peaceful heart.
Sometimes, protecting your heart means being more reasonable. And in doing so, nurturing your relationships may finally be an open, loving experience. That’s the one thing you should expect.