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November 17, 2011

Keith says I have really high expectations of people.

Really high.

I set these high expectations in all my relationships be it personal or professional.

And then inevitably those expectations can not be met and there is then the inevitable “fall from grace” as Keith so aptly puts it.

At first I was miffed. I don’t do that.

But then in some moments of clarity (you know where you take off the rose-colored glasses you have on for yourself) I realized I do do that.

I do set really high expectations for people. I set them high for myself too.

I am hard on people when they fail to live up to the standards I have set for them. I am doubly hard on myself.


I don’t think it is a bad thing to expect a lot from people.

Keith’s point being that it isn’t bad to expect things but it is bad when I let myself get so disappointed when they fall short.

I expect people to always do the right thing.

To be compassionate.

To be good friends.

To make good choices.

When that doesn’t happen I am stricken.

I expect those same things from myself. I am not holding people to any higher of a standard that I hold myself to.

I see Keith’s point.

I see mine too.

I want to believe in people and especially the people whom I call my friends.

I am not saying that I am the perfect person (friend, co-worker, daughter, sister, wife, etc.) Not by a long shot. And when I mess up I want people to forgive me with grace and allow me to apologize and get back on their good side. I want that option.

I give that option.

But sometimes after disappointment after disappointment I give up.

I wallow at how this has happened. I mourn the loss of the person I thought I knew and then I will walk away.

Is it my fault for setting these high standards?

Is it the other person’s fault for falling short?

Is it any fault at all or it just a lesson in life?

I like having high expectations. I think when you have high expectations for yourself and for others they rise to them. I rise to them. But the flip side of that coin in the strong blow you receive when they aren’t met.

Sometimes I am so shocked I feel like I was blindsided. But maybe I have just overlooked the signs. The warning flares that blazed so brightly that I chose to ignore because I believed in that person or in my myself.

Maybe that is why it is so hard to deal with because I ignore the road blocks and keep on going.


This is who I am.

I will continue long after this post to set my high expectations and have my high standards and people and myself will continue to sometimes not measure up.

I guess the challenge is the next time it happens not to be so shocked and to try to see those warning signs along the way.

Do you have high expectations for people and for yourself?

14 Comments leave one →
  1. November 17, 2011 7:33 am

    I 100% identify with this post. I used to have so many expectations of people that I would often find myself disappointed when they didn’t measure up. I’ve realized though that we can’t control other peoples behavior and so it’s best if I don’t expect anything and just let life happen.

  2. November 17, 2011 7:41 am

    Oh yes! I set extraordinarily high expectations for myself which I then expect others to live up to. At first I would brush off the criticism for this and see it as a goal-oriented thing but I soon realized it was my way of pushing people away. I’m certainly trying to be more conscious of it now. It’s not so much the having high expectations for people that’s bad, it’s how hard I was on them when they fell short. Great post!

  3. November 17, 2011 7:55 am

    I can definitely relate to this! I set high expectations for myself with a lot of things especially in regards to my up-coming wedding. I have put so much pressure on myself to make things perfect. I also feel as though I set high expectations in regards to friends. I need to try and understand that some people are not going to be who I want them to be. They are not always going to be the perfect friend but I can accept them for who they are. 🙂

  4. November 17, 2011 9:56 am

    Funny you posted this, I was just thinking about this last night. For myself I dont hold myself to high expectations but with other people like friends and family, I definitely do. In a way I think its setting me up for failure since you can never change anyone and no one is perfect but I continue to do it.

  5. November 17, 2011 9:57 am

    Oh I definitely have high expectations for people. Myself too. The way I look at it, life is too short to spend with people who aren’t worth your time, and if people can’t meet a certain level of decency then its not a loss to me. I’m kind of a hard ass that way, and yah, maybe I don’t have that many friends because of my high expectations, but I can tell you the friends I do have, are amazing.

  6. November 17, 2011 10:25 am

    I think I used to set high expectations for others but the more I am in contact with people (mainly at work dealing with nasty customers) I am beginning to not feel as shocked when I find out someone is not who I thought they were. I am becoming disenchanted with society…and I hate saying that because I hate sounds cynical. 😦

  7. November 17, 2011 11:09 am

    It’s exhausting to think about how often I would be disappointed in people. I would always think they would be mature or change, but would be let down time and time again. I realized that I can’t expect them to change and can only change how I react to them. My expectations for them were all about me and I had to change my perspective. It’s better for my sanity.

  8. November 17, 2011 11:43 am

    It depends. I used to have high expectations for everyone, now I just have high expectations for people who work for me. I feel that anyone I’m paying money to should deliver what I’m expecting! (as long as I’ve set out what i want in advance).

    However, I’ve realized recently that expectations (when not defined in an agreement of some sort) are really opinions. Expectations that I had for my sister, for example, were totally unrealistic since how she lives her life, and more importantly how she WANTS to live her life are very different from my own “rules” of how life should be lived. I feel it’s unfair of me to place personal expectations on people since perhaps they are looking at me and expecting something different too! 🙂

  9. November 17, 2011 12:15 pm

    I don’t really set high expectations for others, but I do for myself. In fact, I set mine very high, so high that sometimes they are hard to attain. But that’s what I get for always trying to please people around me, and never please myself. Now I feel bad about myself for not reaching those expectations, but then I realize that I’m only human and that I have my limits. Now I strive to do my best, because that’s all I can do, and I am much happier.

  10. November 17, 2011 3:47 pm

    Yes! I have impossible standards for myself. I don’t really have high expectations for others….unless I am dating them, which sounds unfair but I just sort of am that way.

    I completely understand though!

  11. November 17, 2011 4:22 pm

    I actually do the opposite. I don’t think much of people. That sounds harsh, but my experience with others is that they will often disappoint. I’m not being cynical and I actually think most people mean well, but I always say the # 1 thing I learned in college is that most people don’t “get” life. So, even if they don’t do it intentionally, I am left disappointed by their totally boneheaded actions. Expectations for myself, however, are off the charts. I’m not all that kind to myself in this regard. I’ve gotten better as I get older though.

  12. November 17, 2011 5:36 pm

    I am the exact same way, girl. But, in our defense, I think it’s good to set the bar high so people have something to measure up to. Otherwise everyone would just act like jerks and not worry about being a good friend/sister/aunt, etc. I also think part of the reason I do this is because I used to be way too trusting of people and have been burned, so now, I don’t tolerate any bs.

  13. November 17, 2011 6:01 pm

    Funny, I’ve had this conversation with so many people from my college years up until last week! I hold myself to high expectations, but not other people. Only b/c these other people in our lives may think they ARE hitting higher expectations (THEIR expectations), and never knowing exactly what is going on behind closed doors I learned to let people be who they will be. Now, if I ask for something of someone (either emotional support or a ride to work) I expect them to show up. Eh, my 2 cents.

  14. November 17, 2011 10:00 pm

    I really like this post 🙂 I’m a total perfectionist, and I think that’s to blame for the high expectations I have of others. I totally know the feeling of confused loss when someone you expect to live up to them, doesn’t. It’s frustrating.

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