Can one truly expect nothing from people?

Photo by Kristina Nor

Expectations are expected.

That’s funny saying that right? Why will I start by using the same words in a sentence?

Well, expectations are expected.

When it comes to interacting and forming relationships with people, we’re bound to have expectations.

We have expectations of how someone should act.

Someone enters your house and there’s an expectation you have of them.

When you’re friends with someone, there’s an expectation you have of them.

There’s an expectation you have of your parents, siblings, lecturers, neighbors, pastors, etc.

If you think about it, love in a way, is giving and taking. You can’t demand or receive certain things or kind acts from someone you claim to love and not give some of that back as well. Except it’s a total stranger but even at that, there is a level of decency we expect of them.

It’s all normal to have expectations, it’s even a subconscious thing. Normally people don’t think ‘🤔 what expectations do I give this person?’ No.

It just happens.

I’ve heard people say we shouldn’t have expectations of anyone and I get the idea behind it but is that really possible?

Can I choose to not expect anything from a friend, relative or colleague?

I don’t think it’s possible because these things naturally happen.

People say ‘expect nothing from anyone’ and at some point, I have said that also. I have also said ‘no one owes you nothing’ but there are certain things we owe people like our friends, family, colleagues and even strangers. There are basic obligations we have towards people and so that statement is not true (that’s a topic for another day). I believe the reason people make these statements is to protect themselves from disappointments which can hurt most times.

With expectations come the possibility of getting hurt. Instead of looking for ways to expect nothing from anyone (which is impossible btw), we should better prepare for disappointments that might come with it.

You’re probably wondering how anyone can prepare for disappointments and you’re right, you can’t exactly be ready for one. However, you can live with the consciousness that we’re all humans and sometimes, we can’t live up to the expectations people have of us.

The human life and experience is a complicated one and different things affect how people perceive and respond to life. With that being said, we’re kind of unpredictable but we try as much to remain consistent in character and values (well, some of us do).

Having it at the back of your mind that people might not do what you expect them to do, makes it easier to not take things personally and to detach from it. Sometimes it’s not even about you, sometimes it’s a culmination of different things happening or that have happened in their lives.

Here’s what I’d say, expect from people, but be ready for disappointments. If possible, reduce your expectations.

As for me, I have expectations of people close to me, be it my family, close friends and associates and I really can’t change that.

However, I hope to give grace to them if they disappoint me and maybe reduce my expectations where it’s too high and won’t allow them to explore and bloom (sometimes our expectations of people are too rigid and prevent them from being themselves, it can cripple people).

Where I see people don’t know what I expect from them, I can communicate that. For instance, I can tell a close friend that as a friend, I don’t expect them to do (or not do) this or that to me. Sometimes people just don’t know.

As I have expectations of people, I know people have expectations of me as well and I’ll try as much as I can to be consistent in character and values and where I fail, I hope they extend grace to me as I hope to do same for them.

Back to you, what do you think about having expectations?

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