Expectations – we all have them and often are unaware of them. Expectations in relationships can produce great outcomes and great distress. The following ideas are worth considering and applying to yourself within your relationships.
For expectations to produce positive outcomes ask yourself, “Are the expectations….”
Known – first by me, then by the other party. When we operate without clear expectations it causes us distress and confusion in us, as well as for the other party. The other party will often be unable to meet your expectations if they don’t clearly know what they are. Crystalize your expectations so you can clearly articulate them.
Realistic – evaluate if your expectations are realistic. Sometimes we place expectations on ourselves and others that are extremely difficult or impossible to achieve. For example, is it realistic that your partner will be able to have a serious “heart to heart” after a long stressful day at work, or when they aren’t feeling their best? Or, is it realistic that the other party “always” or “never” does something?
Shared – if only one party agrees to the expectations, it is unlikely they will be fulfilled. This will require conversation, back and forth, clarifying to arrive at shared expectations. Shared expectations have a much better chance of producing positive outcomes.
Measurable – or in other words, both parties will be able to evaluate if their expectations have been met. For example, if your team at work is given a task, is it clear what the task is, who will do what, when it will be completed, etc. Or If you desire to “reconnect” with your partner, determining what this means to each of you will help you achieve mutual expectations. What will it look like to you both when your expectations are met?
Some common areas where expectations surface in the work place are regarding equitable work load, respectful treatment/communication, time lines, compliance. Some common areas expectations surface in relationships outside of work include money, how to spend time, intimacy, frequency of contact, parenting, equitable give-and-take in meeting one another’s needs.
If you are struggling with frustration or sadness over unmet expectations and would like support in addressing the source of these feelings, please reach out and connect to one of our EAP providers.
Change in our text therapy service
After January 1st, 2021 our access to new referrals for text therapy will go through BetterHelp. Anyone who has begun working with a Talkspace therapist prior to December 31st, 2020 will have 120 days to complete their sessions. New registration information for BetterHelp will be on the “Counselors and Locations” link in the green navigation box in the upper right-hand corner of this webpage after we return from Winter Break in January. As always, if you need assistance in setting up text therapy before or after January 1st, you can call our EAP plan administrator – New Directions Behavioral Health – at 800-624-5544.