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Manage Your Expectations To Build Healthy And Happy Relationships

By Nancy Katyal

Just go back down memory lane and imagine one of your birthday parties as a child. As the party ends, you eagerly set to that corner in the room where all your gifts are placed.

You get hold of a big bag wrapped in multi colored paper and expect it to be something really nice – possibly that doll house which you had been longing to buy. If it’s not the same thing or nowhere near what you expected, you feel sad. And yes, if it matches your expectation, you feel delighted and happy.

Relationship Expectations

Expectations are everywhere – from the moment you get up in the morning, expecting your newspaper to be there outside at 7 am, expecting our house helpers to be on time, expecting our child to score good grades, owning a nice home, better car, expecting our salaries to be credited in our account in the first week of every month, expecting your spouse to remember your birthday and anniversary date… the list is endless……..

Believe it or not but we all are expecting all the time. All relationship involves expectation. Whether it’s home, at church, at work or even in the neighborhood. But when these expectations are not met, we often find people very disappointed.

Everyone wants to hear the Wow! in meeting the expectation set for them or they set for others and when we are not able to achieve that we all feel sad and disappointed.

We often hear people saying, s/he was not able to meet my expectations…She is always having unrealistic expectations. That’s too much of an expectation.. I expect a lot from you… Or Wow!, you exceeded beyond my expectation.

If I ask you to remember the last time, when someone did not meet your expectation or you were not able to meet someone’s expectation – I’m sure it will not take you long to identify from one of the many examples where actual result or reality was not as expected.

The gap between ‘What is Expected’ and ‘Reality’ creates tension and pain. Wider the gap, more the pain. It is only by bridging this gap, can we effectively manage expectations.

In my view, THE ROOT CAUSE for this is a lack of communication in sharing our expectation with others. Especially with the ones who are dear to us – we think that if they care for us and work with us they would know what our expectations are…or raising the bar for expectation too high every time some meets the required expectation.

Having unrealistic expectations never helps, as it just increases the distance between reality and expectation, leading to stress. Here are some useful tips for effective expectation management in all relationships.

1. Communication

Before you commit to the task, actively communicate with the target group to get a sense of what their expectation are and vice versa . Hence you will not have difficulty in finding what they really want out of you.

2. Setting realistic expectations

If you feel the expectations cannot be achieved in the current form, then request for more time to plan actions( like an extended time line, support mechanism etc ) to make it happen. In some cases you can check it it’s worthwhile doing or not., meaning if it’s not really achievable (unrealistic).

3. Commitment

Meeting the desired expectations require your full commitment to the task once you have well understood and are reasonably sure that it can be achieved or over achieved.

4. Feedback

Please ensure checkpoints on the way to detect and correct expectation reality gaps in the form of feedback.

The good thing about having expectations is that we are able to achieve good outcomes and it energizes us in becoming better each time, so as long as the expectations are communicated well and are realistic, having expectation is always good 🙂

Nancy Katyal is a Soft skills trainer & Storyteller. She conducts workshops on various topics like Storytelling in business, Customer service, Effective communication, Grooming, Etiquette, Body language, Leadership skills and Expectation management.

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