Have you ever become annoyed with someone for doing a task a way that seems illogical to you? Or perhaps they have simply not done something you believe they should because it is just so obvious to you? Like when you ask your partner to cook dinner and when it isn’t on the table at 6pm you get upset? Or perhaps you get annoyed because yet again it is you putting the bins out or folding the laundry? Sometimes that frustration can get so built up that it boils over and you lose your temper, letting whoever is closest have it with ‘both barrels’ as my mum would say.
The question we should be asking in these situations is whether we have set clear expectations with the other person? Have we set ourselves up for success? If the above situation rings true, then most likely the answer would be ‘No’.
I’m definitely guilty of doing this myself. I have had expectations of Eliot, not communicated them with him and then become upset with him for not meeting those expectations. It really is unfair. I’ve also had the same thing happen with other family and friends which can put a real dent in a relationship.
Setting clear expectations and having honest conversations about them can make for a far smoother and more harmonious life. Imagine if everyone was on the same page about the big and the little things.
Now, that’s not to say that by telling someone how you think things should be that you are off the hook. If the other party is not in agreement, it will most likely mean it’s time to negotiate. These kinds of conversations can be awkward for some of us so remember your intention. If you dig deep and realise your reasoning is petty, or you’re being overly pedantic, it is time to consider changing your stance. If you believe however that your reasoning and intention is sound, stick with it but always remember to listen actively and hear the other person out.
So next time you come home from work and dinner is not made, and the kids are running amok, ask yourself whether you and your partner have actually sat down had a conversation to set expectations. And that, by the way, includes your partner being able to set expectations with you. It’s a two way street.