Authentic Friendships

Friendships and Expectations

Feb 05, 2021
Friendships and Expectations
My friendships have always been really important to me. I long for the connections that friends provide. And I get a lot of safety from knowing that I have friends who are willing to stand beside me and ‘have my back’ when necessary. Throughout my lifetime I have been blessed with many of the most amazing friends possible, such a gift and I don’t want to lose sight of that fact.
Occasionally I have found myself disappointed in a friendship or two. Anytime something starts to show up in my life on a more frequent basis, I know there is a lesson and it is time to take stock. What is the disappointment about? Do I expect too much from my friends? Am I too needy? Have I asked for what I want? Am I being unreasonable? All questions that run through my mind.
What I know for sure: I have expectations, and I often assume my friends should just know what I need from them. It's uncomfortable to tell them what I need when it is something I think is “common sense”.
I am a planner, and I have been given numerous friends over the years who are anything but. To these people it seems that planning is a dirty word; maybe it gives them hives and makes them want to crawl out of their skin, they seem to feel totally trapped by a plan! A plan for me is safety and security. What a set up, right?? How did these personality types end up to be some of the more significant relationships in my adult life? People who can’t stand the idea of planning ahead when I value a good plan so much?!?
As someone who sees a lesson in anything life brings I ask, what might be the reason behind these relationships? I have been drawn to this personality a lot over the years, in both dating and friendship relationships. Is it possible I need to be more spontaneous, that I have lessons to learn about just letting things happen as they will? Do I need to take a stand and insist on the plan? Do I dump these friends who don’t do things the way I do? Am I part of their lives to teach them something about the benefits of planning? All things I have wondered time and time again.
I don’t have the answers to all those questions, what I do know is that each of these people have contributed more to my life than I ever could have hoped or planned. I have learned to go with the flow more and I have learned to ask for what I want too. There is a gift in interacting with people who approach life differently, I see that very clearly. Now, I still have these expectations that creep in when I am not watching, and I can get really frustrated when I feel challenged and disappointed. And this is when I have the opportunity to learn and grow, or act like a 13 year old that didn’t get her way. I wish I could say that I always take the ‘high road’ but that insecure 13 year old shows up all too often.
The one thing that I have learned, and know without a doubt, is that the key to making it work is communication. If we can talk it out and respect each other’s points of view, we can have success in the relationship. I don’t always love having those challenging conversations, I feel very vulnerable in those moments. But if the relationship is important to me, isn’t it worth a few moments of uncomfortableness to get to the other side? Without communication there is resentment. I don’t want to live in that place; it’s just not worth it! And so I keep learning and practicing and striving to do the best I can, and am making room for my friends to do the same.
Where do expectations get in the way of your relationships? What do you do when you find yourself disappointed? Are you willing to have challenging and perhaps uncomfortable conversations?
Remember, we are all doing the best we can, life is a journey!

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