“He’s not to be trusted.” From the moment those words are uttered by somebody about somebody else, the listener is going to spend their time looking for reasons why they’re not going to trust them, especially if the they trust the person telling them the information. It doesn’t matter if it’s the truth or not, because people’s minds look for reasons to validate, not conflict previously held information. That’s how expectations are formed.
First impressions work in the same way except the person is making their own judgement about the person they’ve just met. They decide what kind of person they are in the first 7 seconds and then spend the rest of their time looking for information to back it up. It’s no wonder so many people will have a different opinion about the same person. If one party has prior knowledge of the other person, they may have made up their mind before any first impression has been made.
- Every interaction we experience today creates our expectations of future behaviour.
If people were robots and always acted in the same manner, this wouldn’t be an issue, however, in my experience people are complicated, you rarely meet somebody who’s always the same, the majority of people have good and bad days. If you meet somebody who’s having a bad day, your expectations of them is going to plummet; on the other hand, if you meet somebody who’s having a great day, your expectations of future behaviour is elevated. It would seem, expectations don’t have a lot going for them. The quote from Forest Gump springs to mind,” Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.”
Sometimes we base our expectations of what other people will do based on what we would do in their situation, that too can be wrong as often as it is right because we are all unique with a unique perspective of what’s happening in front of us. In any interaction between two people, there’s three perspectives in action, what each person thinks is being discussed and what’s actually being discussed. Below are a few of my favourite quotes on the topic.
- “Peace begins when expectations end.” ~Sri Chinmoy.
- “when you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.” ~Donald Miller
- “Another expectation crashes and burns before take off.” ~Anon
- “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” William Shakespeare.
- “Don’t blame people for surprising or disappointing you, blame yourself for setting your expectations a level they could not live up to.” ~Anon
- “Expect people to be themselves, nothing more, nothing less.” ~Anon