Back when MadTV was on the air, there was a sketch that appeared fairly regularly for a while, which poked fun at dating services. (Remember the days before Match.Com, eHarmony, Zoosk and Grindr?) The dating service was called "Lowered Expectations," and seemed to have every type of misfit as a potential date, from convicts to mail-order brides, and everyone in between. The general premise was that when you were that desperate, you needed to lower your expectations and settle for what you could get.
Now, I'm not in the dating situation described above, but I could use some lowered expectations where people's behavior is concerned. Believe me, I don't expect people to do extraordinary things. However, I do expect peopleparticularly family and close friendsto act as I try to, in a considerate and unselfish way. (When I tell some people this, they say "I'll bet you want world peace, too.")
I pride myself on trying to bend over backwards for people, to reach out to those who need encouragement, congratulations, advice or support. But all too often, people don't return the favor, and it's hard not to get frustrated or disappointed. I've always been told to behave as you'd like others to behave toward you, but no one ever mentioned you couldn't expect them to!
Trying to lower your expectations isn't the easiest thing to do. But I've found that when I expect people to behave as they normally do, not as I'd necessarily like them to, I don't spend as much time disappointed or frustrated, which means I'm more fun to be around. And when people behave the way I'd like them to, imagine the surprise!
But before you leave this post either impressed or skeptical, consider this: because I say I'm lowering my expectations, it doesn't mean it actually happens all the time. So if anyone has any good advice there, you know where to find me!