I was at a dinner party the other night, and I overheard a woman say this:
"Expectations are premeditated disappointment."
I asked her to elaborate, because I wasn't sure I agreed.
Her point was this: you should have standards for others (i.e. they treat you with respect) and goals for yourself (i.e. she wants to become a CEO of a non-profit someday), but not the expectation that you can rely on anyone but yourself.
If you expect your boyfriend to throw you a big surprise party for your birthday and instead he takes you to a quiet dinner, you will be disappointed. If you expect to be promoted through the ranks at your job, you may not only end up being overlooked for promotions, you may miss out on other opportunities. You have to take the reins and take charge of your own destiny: throw your own parties, make your own path in life.
I decided that I agreed with her, but several of my friends had different opinions.
One of my friends said it's impossible for her to distinguish between expectations and wants. "I want, no I EXPECT my fiance to throw me a damn surprise birthday party at least once before we have kids!" she insisted. We laughed.
Another woman said that while she never expects things from others - for example, that they abide by the Golden Rule - it's important to realize that there's a reason that truisms become cliche: they're often valid. You can't expect your own positive (or negative) energy to be reflected back to you, but in most cases, it will.
My friend Annie was the main voice of dissent: "Life is all about expectations!" she said. "I have them about everybody, everything, every new person I meet or every day at work. Yes I'm disappointed, all the time, in lots of ways, but to me dealing with disappointment is life, that's what makes it real, not like a movie or fairy tale. And every once in awhile something unexpected happens, something better than I expected, and I love those moments the best."
What do you think, Internets? Are expectations premeditated disappointment? How can there be so many ways to see the glass half full?