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Guest Post; Managing Expectations is the Key to a Happier Life

May 10, 2017


No expectations, no disappointments. I tried to develop this mantra within the course of my life. This happened when every aspect of my life seemed to fail – career, family, friends, and relationship. However, we’re only human, and we have expectations almost about everything.

We expect that when we ran out of supplies, the grocery store will be open. When we push a button in our laptop, we expect it to turn on. If we crack an egg on a heated pan, we expect it will be cooked. We expect our child to follow immediately when we tell them to take a bath. When we submit an essay, we expect it be to be as good as any other essays in

Life is full of expectations. And if things fall short of what is expected, we get disappointed. Getting disappointed is one of the things that keep us from being fulfilled and happy. Does this mean we should not expect at all?

Not necessarily. We just need to learn how to manage our expectations.

Unmet expectations are usual causes of conflicts we experience with other people. It could range from a partner who did not go home on time, a colleague who did not send you a report, or a child who messed up his or her clothes. Even the simplest unmet expectation can get us ticked off. Learning how to manage expectations can help us avoid unnecessary disappointments and conflicts.

Change your perspective

You are the one responsible for how you are feeling. And, people around you have their own priorities. They do not live their lives just to meet your expectations. Expecting people to do something does not mean it will always happen. Realizing this would help you manage your expectations.

This is also the same with situations. If the situation did not turn out as you expect it, being disappointed about it is pointless. The situation will not change just because of your expectations. You see, you are the only one who’s affected by it.

When you become aware of your expectations, and as you take more effort change your perspective, the more you avoid being disappointed.

Be more understanding

So, your husband got home late. You expected him to be at home at six in the evening, but he came home at nine pm. You heard him park in the garage. Then, you waited by the door ready to confront him about you waiting for a long time, you doing all the work at home, him probably hanging out with his friends, or worse, a girl colleague. He opened the door and all hell broke loose.

However, before this conflict happened, your poor husband had his phone broken and got out of a meeting really late. Because of that, he got into the rush hour traffic not to mention the accident a few blocks from his office. He went home to you feeling drained and hungry. And, everything got escalated just be because he did not get home at the time you expect him to.

Imagine the difference if you could have been more understanding. You would not really know what other people go through with their lives. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Think about what they might have in mind for failing to meet your expectations.


Communication is another key to managing expectations. Communicate yours and ask others about their expectations. Imagine the scenario about the husband and wife. What difference would do you think it would make if the husband called the wife to inform her that he was at a meeting? Also, what do you think would have been different if the wife asked first why the husband was late?

If they only had communicated then the conflict would have been avoided. This is also applicable in the workplace. People should be aware of each other’s expectations.

You cannot totally avoid expecting anything in life. And, you are only human and at some point, you will feel disappointed or frustrated. However, negative feelings and thoughts can be lessened or avoided if only we learn how to manage our expectations.

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