The Power of Expectation to Ward Off Toxicity in Relationships

The phrase I Want More on a cork notice board

“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.” – Stephen R. Covey


I somehow got it in my head that I shouldn’t have expectations of other people.

Well that’s about as realistic as the idea that my kids won’t need me 378 times the next time I’m on the phone.  We all have expectations, whether we allow ourselves to realize them or not.

For a very long time I was so conditioned to think I wouldn’t get what I desired in relationships that I just wouldn’t consciously expect anything.  

I also didn’t have much patience for the things I dared to desire, so when I didn’t get them right away?  I lowered my expectations.  

But that’s poison.  

I would end up resenting the other person, and then be angry with myself, because the things I want are the things I want.  

It’s okay to want what you want!

Expectations are like goals.  You have to set them deliberately so you know what you’re aiming at.

And they’re for you.  They aren’t really even about the other person at all.  

What you expect of people is what they will live up to.

It’s what you’ll live up to.

And most importantly, it’s what you’ll tolerate.

You’ll never live any differently than what you tolerate.  When you refuse to set expectations, whether it’s because you’re afraid someone will leave if you do, or because you aren’t confident you’ll get what you want, you leave the door wide open for tolerating toxic bullshit.  Things that are toxic to you personally, that you wouldn’t put up with if you could just hold to what you expect of others.

The best thing to do?  Set those expectations deliberately.  Firmly know what you will and won’t put up with, and then have the courage to walk away if you need to.

Set expectations and the people who can’t rise to them will fall away.

It’s okay to let them go.  You want people in your life who naturally meet your expectations.  

This isn’t about judging someone because they don’t live up to your expectations.  

No one has to meet your expectations.  

It’s not fair to the other person to hold them hostage when they won’t meet your expectations

But don’t you dare lower your expectations to match someone else’s vibe and perspective on life.

Stay true to you.

Show people the door when they don’t or can’t meet your expectations.  No harm, no foul.  But bye now.

Someone else who would love to meet your expectations is on his way to you anyway.

With love and light,




If this resonates with you, please share with your friends.

Now it’s your turn:

What relationship expectations have you successfully set?  What expectations do you need some help setting and maintaining? Leave a comment below.

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