Expectations: An Unplanned Lesson
(originally written April 2019)
So I replaced the blinds in the living room earlier today. Thought it would be a nice, simple switch out….except I can’t find my drill anywhere. It could have been borrowed years ago, stolen, no clue. Clearly it was used often. Off I go to where they sell discount power tools and other toys and I buy a fairly cheap drill. Don’t really have access or need for anything more useful than a cheapo drill, so that’s what I bought. Which led to the following exchange at the checkout.
“Would you like to buy a 2 year warranty on the drill for another $14”
“No, I’m good”
“How about one year for $7?”
Continues to run my order through…
“Well, I just ran this discount through so it’ll only be like $1 more now for the warranty”
Takes a deep breath…“That’s great, thanks for adding the discount…but I still don’t want the warranty”
Gets loud with me…”WHY DON’T YOU WANT THE WARRANTY?”
“Why don’t I speak to a manager about that?”
After getting an even better deal on the drill, and no warranty, I went on with the project at hand. However, it got me thinking. Yeah, I know it was over a stupid drill, but this guy really thought that because he added a discount to the drill that I was then obligated to get a stupid warranty.
Yeah, that whole thing was small potatoes but how often does this happen in life? Somebody either does something or gives a gift or does a favor with an expectation in return.
Here’s an even more honest question: How many times have we done something for another with an expectation of getting something in return? We probably all have. Sometimes it’s fairly harmless, like covering for a coworker so that they’ll do the same for you on a later date. Other times, it’s at least incredibly uncomfortable if not worse. Like the asshole that feels entitled because he bought dinner.
I’m just going to assume if you’re cool with that you’re probably not reading or watching me. But on the odd chance…cut the shit and be a fucking adult.
At the very least, entitlement beliefs, where if you do a thing you are entitled to a thing back, leads to broken expectations and frustration and disappointment. Or worse.
Certainly doesn’t help with any communication issues.
Here’s a thought. I’m looking in the proverbial mirror as I bring this up of course but….okay, I could look in the mirror while talking into the camera but that would just look reeeealllly weird.
Anyway, what if we simplified this whole thing? I know it would put a bit of a wrench in how we do operate as whole, but not really. Business transactions are a different thing: you invest something, you get something. Not talking about that. Shouldn’t have to say that but you know someone will inevitably ask.
But in terms of personal transactions, favors, that type of thing?
DROP. ALL. EXPECTATIONS.
Just let the concept of getting something in return go
If it seems light to do something for someone just because it feels good? Cool, do it. Enjoy the satisfaction in doing something nice for somebody.
If it’s something that just needs to be done, such as in a household? Just do the damn thing because that’s what you do. Sorry. If you REALLY need to have a trophy for cleaning the gutters just go and buy one. If it doesn’t fall into that category and it isn’t something you would normally do with no expectation for a reward? Then DON’T DO IT! No rule says that you have to.
If it doesn’t match someone else’s expectations, that shouldn’t be one of your concerns. They’ll have to get over it like adults.
We always have the option to not do something.
We always have the option to say NO.