Following on from a post I done a little while ago about an interesting lesson a person told me I thought I would expand a little more on another aspect of friendships and how often them beginning to change can come with newly formed unrealistic expectations.
Unrealistic expectations with friendships or actually any type of relationship was something I particularly struggled with during my teenage years. If I am being completely honest then I have only started to be more realistic with my relationships in the past 2 years or so.
We all love watching programmes like Friends, and well pretty much any American style sitcom, because it throws a group of people together and they always turn up in each other’s lives at any time because that drives the story and creates fun situations for us to watch. I remember watching Friends at 16 and wishing that by the time I was in my twenties that my life would be the same. I loved the idea of my friends turning up whenever and us all constantly being together in a group.
The reality – I don’t actually have the energy to spend that amount of time with my friends and neither do they. I love my friends dearly but there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to give every single one of those I class as important the attention they probably deserve. We all have other people in our lives to consider and that is something that all these programmes don’t show. All the characters in these sitcoms tend to adopt their friends as their family as that would be the only way you would have the time to see them that much.
Ok so I covered that aspect in a previous post so another area of expectations in friendships I feel needs to be spoken about is the expectations regarding how close you are. Every single friendship is different and every single person is different and wants different things out of a friendship and that has to be recognised before we start expecting more from those we care about.
I have friends that are particularly anxious individuals and therefore I know that constant messaging and wanting to meet up would actually make them nervous. This doesn’t mean they don’t care it means that I need to adapt my expectations to suit what they are actually capable of doing.
Everyone I think makes the mistake of believing that you will also be the same level of closeness with your friends. This can’t really be true but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing because it could mean you get closer to some rather than grow further apart. Regardless the expectations we force on ourselves can often lead to feelings of failure or inadequacy. We’ve all been there, especially during our teenage years when our best friend was suddenly friendlier with someone from a different class and you felt like you weren’t as important anymore. I suppose we learn as we get older but I think we still get tripped up by the old favourite of being friends with someone since primary school so therefore we have to stay as close from then on.
Not only that but we need to stop expecting our friends to act the same way we do. I am the worst for this. I constantly expect my friends to go to the same lengths for friends as I do and that is never going to end well. My friends no doubt have their own expectations and so maybe view things very differently to me. Where I would find it difficult to cancel a plan that I already agreed to go to, others might not view as a big deal, not because they don’t care about their friends but because they don’t think that cancelling plans should make a difference to friendship.
I’m not sure what the right way to deal with friendships is because we are all different and some take things more personally and some take things more seriously than others. I think friendship is a give and take scenario and I think it’s ok to have expectations but to be careful not let your expectations shine negatively on what could be a very good friendship. Equally don’t be a doormat and take a lot of hassle from someone just because you’ve been friends for years. You’re only here once so surround yourself with good people.