Friendly Reminder: Don’t Expect People to Change for Ya

I’m a very sensitive person. I take most things seriously, everything makes me anxious, and I’m a classic over thinker. These are a few faults that I have, on a list of many more.

Another one of my faults–  I assume that other people are going to understand all of this, and that they are willing to adjust themselves in order to keep me happy and at ease. This includes being understanding and patient, comforting me often, agreeing with me, and constantly being there for me, while asking for nothing in return.

These are completely unrealistic expectations, I realize, yet I assume them anyway. I expect everyone to treat me this way, and when they don’t, it’s shocking. But not only is that unfair to other people, who shouldn’t be asked to live their lives any differently for my sake, it’s unfair to me, because I get used to people babying me and walking on eggshells around me, and then look for others to constantly do that too.

Most people have similar expectations– where they need people to adjust themselves to make them happy.

Here’s a harmless but specific example: A few years ago, one of my best friends wanted me to meet her boyfriend for the first time, and it was a really big deal for her to have him meet me. When we finally met, we were talking about something, I don’t even remember what it was, and I disagreed with him so I jokingly tried to argue. He was so insistent on being right that he thought I would back down, as most people apparently did when talking to him. He was so set in his personality and who he was that he didn’t take it as a joke.

I misunderstood. I expected him to accept my personality and that I was disagreeing with him, and he expected me to accept his personality and relent. It ended with my friend in tears because her boyfriend didn’t like/get along with her best friend, because we had both expected the other to understand and neither of us had. This wasn’t really fair to her, because both her boyfriend and I had made it more about being right than being there for her.

Often, this isn’t even about adjusting to someone’s personality, or other people adjusting to your needs/faults. It’s about assuming that people will treat you like you treat them.

My friend from high school was telling me the other day that she has struggled with constantly being let down by people. This girl is a ridiculously amazing friend, and has always gone the extra mile to be there for others. But because she does this for others she expects others to do it for her. Most people can’t put in the effort for friendship that she does, so in this way her expectations are kind of unrealistic. She kept expecting people to treat her like she treated them, and it made her really sad.

I’ve had a few other experiences like this, where I’ve expected people to change for me, or the other way around, or even both. I won’t get into these examples, but I want to emphasize how much this has affected my life.

So when I found this quote the other day, it hit home pretty hard.

You think everyone has the same heart as you, and that’s what’s gonna fuck you up.

When I read this quote for the first time, I interpreted it to mean that you think people will understand you, change for you, do what you expect them to, and when they don’t, it leaves you sad and disappointed.

Something my dad has taught me is that you can’t expect anything from other people, and I think that what you especially can’t expect other people to do for you is change who they are for your sake. And I agree with him.

Based off of my own experiences, you not only can’t hold expectations for other people, but you have to make up for it by having more expectations for yourself. You have to be confident enough in who you are, have good intentions, and try to be selfless and as good a person as you can be. I have my faults, but I have to focus on myself and being better rather than other people being better for me.

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16 Responses to Friendly Reminder: Don’t Expect People to Change for Ya

  1. ryandan says:

    Amanda this is brilliant. I have a daughter just like you. and I have learnt to “walk on egg shells” as you put it. My partner is much like your friend too. To much heart. It is as if you wrote this for me. Well done. And the quote! It is outstanding.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eric Franzen says:

    Interesting take on things. I tend to agree, but have plenty of friends that probably would not agree with us on this. But in their disagreement, they probably just prove your point more as they think people should change for others but won’t actually change themselves.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Eric! That sounds exactly right– I see myself and others at a crossroad, waiting for the other to comply with our personalities. It’s just an example of stubbornness and inflexibility. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      Like

  3. rosieeek says:

    I completely understand this, in most cases I expect people to change for me with no regard for how they might want me to change for them because my anxiety and beliefs just always seem stronger. Definitely something I want to work on.

    -Rosie
    http://www.hookupcultures.com

    Liked by 1 person

  4. shyutgal says:

    Interesting. As you get older, you’ll find that ‘agreeing to disagree’ works nicely in situations like you described. And you get to keep your boundaries intact, while allowing the other person to do so too. It’s not always comfortable, but it does make things easier.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha that’s what my boss said! You’re right though. It sets boundaries and helps you maintain who you are, but I feel like it would be a bit uncomfortable around that person knowing that you don’t want to work with them on some level.

      Like

  5. Amanda, this is such an insightful post! This is one of those things that took me a while to learn, but I’m so glad I did. It makes friendships a whole lot easier knowing that everyone is different and not to expect anything. When you are the kind of person who gives a lot, you can’t expect that you’ll get it all back. You have to be selfless and give without expecting anything in return.

    I really like how much self knowledge you have, that’s always something I really respect in a person. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Alicia! ❤ We have to understand that everyone is different and have different opinions/perspectives, but also make sure that we stand our ground and believe in who we are. It's tough to be that selfless but still confident in yourself at the same time. I love writing about this stuff because it's self reflective and helps me better understand myself. Thanks for reading and commenting and complimenting bb. x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing this with us. All of us are unique individuals, with our own strengths and failings. The good ones are the ones who really listen to what the other individual says, who learns who the other really is, and accepts that. It is not easy, and there will be times of disappointment and pain. We need to remember that we need to be comfortable in our skin, and the heck to how others react to us. At the same time, we need to be accepting of who the other is. This requires a healthy dose of humility for all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi! Thank you so much for your insight, I appreciate it a lot. What you said is all very true, and reflects exactly what I’m trying to say. It’s a difficult feat to understand ourselves in relation to others and try and comply with what they want and who they are without compromising ourselves. 🙂

      Like

  7. ecjl10 says:

    I feel like my past self relates a lot to this post! But I’m glad you said you’re going to focus on you. Obviously we should all take into account other people’s feelings etc, but the most important person is yourself, and you have to do what feels right for you. I know that for myself, I’ve learnt over the past year or so that it’s best for me to do as much as I can for my friends and family, but when it gets to a point where things are affecting me, I have to put myself first. You’ll get there and find the balance!

    Like

  8. Pingback: Putting myself first. | ByEmilyWithLove

  9. Chow Kim Wan says:

    Unrealistic expectations of your friends can lead you to a very dark period in your life. I have been through that – you think your friend is betraying you, and you seem to lose all hope in life. That’s what I learned: never expect that people will treat you the way you treat them if you are treating them nicely, but expect that people will give you double of what you give them if you are being nasty.

    Like

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