Expectation Setting

Chase

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Over in my old post on "Stages of Desire," Zac had a few questions and insights and we got to talking about a handful of different topics, one of those topics being expectations. In this response, I went somewhat in-depth into my approach to expectations of under-promising and over-delivering.

What you'll find most people do in most areas of their lives is they over-promise and under-deliver. Whether you're talking about work, friends, girls, relationships, whatever it is, that's the pattern: promise the world, deliver far less.

The main reason why people do this is because it's easy. It's very easy to say, "Yeah sure - I can get ALL OF THAT done by Monday!"

Then Monday rolls around and you haven't even started yet.

Or, in relationships, it's, "Of COURSE I'm going to love you forever! You and me, babe! It's destiny!"

Then a few months or years later, you're parting ways, and she's sobbing about how you said you'd love her forever and the two of you would always be together.

The other point I made in the response to Zac was about the emotions that the two things carry: over-promising and under-delivering leads to satisfaction upfront, and anger and disappointment later on, while under-promising and over-delivering leads to dissatisfaction upfront, and joy and elation later on.

Most people over-promise because it's easy and provides immediate rewards (the other person isn't on their back, or gives them what they want). But it creates problems for them later on down the line when they fail to deliver and proceed to catch the wrath of God from their unhappy promisee.

Instead, when you under-promise, you catch the brunt of the disappointment upfront; the other person wants MORE! How can you possibly promise LESS? But then they accept it, and life goes on. Then, later, when you DO deliver more - even if objectively it's LESS than what the person who over-promised but under-delivers delivers - the promisee is elated. Wow, this BEAT my expectations!

Think about it like this:

You start dating a girl, and she asks where this is going. You tell her, you know what babe, I don't know; I can't predict the future, and I don't want to make any promises. All I can tell you is that I like you, and I like being with you, and I'll always do my best to be honest with you; but someday I may have to go, and if I do I'll let you know. That's all I can promise.

And she's furious. HOW can you say this? HOW can you not promise her more? How's she supposed to stay with a guy who makes her feel so INSECURE?

And you nod your head sadly and say the choice is hers; she can choose to be with you, or she can choose not to be, but either way you're not going to lie to her and pretend to her like 99% of other men out there will; that you REFUSE to, in fact.

So, she calms down. And later on, when you're still together... wow, suddenly she's THRILLED!

Some other guy? He promises the WORLD to her upfront, because he's just so terrified she'll leave if he doesn't. So what happens? At first, she's warm and cuddly with him when he promises her this. Wonderful, right? But later... after the cuddliness wears off.. is she thrilled that they're still together a little later on down the line? NO... she wants MORE! WAY more! He promised the world, and he still hasn't delivered! Of COURSE they're still together... but that's not NEARLY enough! What a disappointment this guy's been.

This is the hazard of the "normal people pattern" of over-promising and under-delivering. You trade short term gratification now for long-term anguish.

Instead, when you're getting into a relationship, under-promise and over-deliver. You'll pay a bit of a price for it upfront, but later on, when things are far better for you than for your over-promising friends who are doing MORE work in their relationships than you are and getting FEWER returns and LESS satisfaction out of it than you, you'll be smiling and saying to yourself, "My buddy shouldn't have over-promised and under-delivered!"

Yours,
Chase
 

ZacAdam

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ARGH.... somehow i feel there's a nudge here on me.

"Don't act too smart ZAC!"

From Dear Chase, Jedi Master.
 

Chase

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ZacAdam said:
ARGH.... somehow i feel there's a nudge here on me.

"Don't act too smart ZAC!"

From Dear Chase, Jedi Master.
Nope, nothing in particular directed at you here, Zac.

Just felt this was a point worth expanding on in the relationships board.

Best,
Chase
 

AFCnoob

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Excellent application of the law of least effort. One thing that always gets me: how can it feel so hard sometimes to do the thing that ultimately ends up requiring less effort/costing less? Maybe it's social pressure.
 

girlsfollow

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AFCnoob said:
Excellent application of the law of least effort. One thing that always gets me: how can it feel so hard sometimes to do the thing that ultimately ends up requiring less effort/costing less? Maybe it's social pressure.
Humans are social animals - everything in out lives ultimately comes down to how things impact us socially (and then indirectly our SR value) - I would say that your answer is therefore pretty much correct in almost all cases...
 

Just_Dave

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Grain of Salt

Whatever your girlfriend says take everything with a grain of salt, meaning don't take everything at face value. Love eventually fades, but as long as you keep her interested you should be fine. But at the end of the day if you do part, keep in mind you can start over. Men being very logical know that things don't last forever. However, enjoy your relationship while it lasts and set "realistic expectations" and avoid making promises at all costs.

My thoughts,

Just Dave
 

Light

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"Trade Expectation for Appreciation, and You'll Stay Happy Forever" - Anthony Robbins

This true to everything in life and not just in relationships.

Great Post chase.


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