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Simon says, “Have compatible expectations.”

If you do not expect much, you will not be disappointed. That may be what people have in mind when they talk about meaningless relationships. It would seem to follow that high expectations come with meaningful relationships. You and your significant other each have expectations for the other and for your relationship. The question is, then, “What do you expect and are your expectations compatible?”

It will be useful to take time to consider what you expect from each other. You are only interested here in whether the expectations are compatible. Whether either of you wishes to meet a specific expectation is another discussion. The issue now is whether any of the expectations conflict.

For example, if you expect your significant other to be ready to drop everything and go with you at a moment’s notice, there is a potential conflict, especially if you also expect everything completed on schedule, every time. Neither of you can reasonably expect the other to do the impossible.

There are a lot of potential compatibility problems for each of you with what you expect. Simon’s thought here is a little less obvious, though. It is getting at the point where expectations either blend or conflict. For example, if there is an area of responsibility where each of you expects the other person to take care of it, there is a compatibility problem. If you do not agree about how to deal with a problem, compatibility is an issue.

More personally, things like how to communicate and when, how to behave in particular situations, when to consult and when to go ahead on your own, and the like are areas fraught with incompatibility potential. Simon’s point is to not assume that your expectations are compatible until you have discussed them. Better safe than sorry. “Check with me first, please,” is an old idea well-worth a new look. Compatible expectations are key to successful relationships of any kind and especially to quality, long-term relationships.

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