6 1/2 Things You Should Stop Expecting from Others
5. (a) Stop Expecting People: To Change
We've heard it again and again: Don't expect that you can revise (or worse, correct) someone. Loving people means loving them the way they are. Like, for example, those people in your family—you know, the ones whom you have known your whole life? You know how your little sister has always had temper tantrums when she gets hangry (half-hungry, half-angry, all-unbearable) from the day she ate her first bite right up until her wedding morning? You know how your father has always gotten grumpy when his routine gets upended making him a rotten traveler? Right. Those things are not going to change just because pants styles, presidents and gas prices have.
(b) Stop Expecting People: Not to Change
And, yet. Let's not get cynical, here. The truth is somewhere in between people changing and never changing. Don't discount the person who sets out to make a switch. When your friend swears she's giving up her constant, compulsive, IRL-conversation-killing texting habit, don't roll your eyes and text her, "Yeah, right." Sometimes a big part of a person changing is having the support of her friends and family—the more people believe in this new her, this her that doesn't constantly have a smartphone in her hands, the more she'll be able to picture what this new her can really become.
6. Stop Expecting People: To Give You a Dream Compliment
You spent what you usually spend on a week's worth of groceries on getting your hair done—the color, the cut, the blow-out—and it's perfect. And yet, people at the party compliment your shoes. Yes, your 15-year-old shoes, bought before the invention of Zappos, fished out of the back of the closet at the last minute. Have the grace to take a compliment for what it is, rather than moping over all the other great things about you that they overlooked—your great vision for your company (when they instead laud your ability to make peace among warring co-workers); your ninja-like hedge-clipping (when they simply praise your lawn as "tidy"). There will be an opportunity for you to wow them in the way you most want to. Greatness never goes undetected for long.
Amy Shearn is the author of The Mermaid of Brooklyn: A Novel and How Far Is the Ocean from Here?.
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