Friends are important, there’s no denying it. Some of the best memories you’ve made, or will make, a good friend is by your side. Sadly, friendships can get messy. There are a million reasons why, but one of them can be because of: expectations.
At times friends are going to want to do things that make you feel uncomfortable. They might expect you to be a certain way that just makes you feel uneasy. They might know how their expectations make you feel, they might have no idea. Either way, the only way you can manage their expectations is to communicate. Talk to them about how you feel.
Obviously talking to them about their expectations might not be easy - you never know how they will react, right? If are really scared by them, you might want to ask yourself if actually still want to be friends with them. But if the answer is yes, then this is what I suggest you do:
First, think about what it is exactly that’s making you feel uncomfortable. Do they want to spend too much time together? Are they expecting you to be too outgoing? So on, and so on. Give it a long, hard think. Maybe write it down, or imagine you are telling them.
Next, try seeing if there is something else going on. In other words, maybe there is something other than the expectation that is actually. Maybe you’re feeling really stressed at the moment and this is making it feel like they have high expectations of you, when actually, they don’t. Or maybe something else is going on in their lives, now they are taking their stress out on you. Try to see things from their perspective before you talk to them.
Okay, now the scary part: talking to them about it. When you talk to them stay calm. Try not to play the blame game or be mean. Remember, they might not even know how their expectations are making you feel. Focus on your feelings rather than their actions. For example, “Lately, I’ve been really stressed, and I feel like I can’t give you as much time as I normally do”. “Or I feel uncomfortable when we go to parties, and I would prefer if we just hung out alone”. Be kind, but firm – stand your ground.
Listen to what they have to say, but if they refuse to see your side of things, maybe they are not worth keeping as a friend. Keep in mind, the issue may take time to work through, you might need to talk to them a few times about it. Creating healthy expectations can be a team effort.
Change your perspective and uncover a way forward for you!
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