Managing Relationship Expectations

Join us in talking to Ben Winter, author, speaker, actor, father, and entrepreneur. We are going to be talking about his book, What To Expect When Having Expectations and how we can better manage the our relationship expectations we set for those in our life.

Regardless of what types of relationships we form with those around us, we are likely subconsciously setting relationship expectations for how we expect them to go. However, too often that is not communicated well. We will explore why that might be.

Communication is something that must be continually improving for relationship development. They may involve focusing less on instant gratification in how we communicate, and more on the quality of our communication time.

Relationship Expectations Conversation Transcript:

Brent: Communication, like everything around us has really gotten easier in so many ways, from a technology perspective, but I often think, has relationship building actually gotten easier?

Sure. It’s easier to send messages and receive messages, but really communicating from an understanding perspective.

Ben Winter: It is because we send that text message and have the instant gratification that they understand and buy in to whatever we just said. Because we’re so used to the quick technological information, we get frustrated when things don’t happen as quickly as we think it should.

Brent: Welcome to the Lead With Relationship Podcast. Today, we are talking to Ben Winter, who is an author speaker, actor, father, and entrepreneur. We are going to be talking about his book, What To Expect When Having Expectations and how we can manage our expectations in relationships better. If you are just joining us, our podcast is produced by

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Ben Winter, it is good to have you on the show today. The word on the street is that you have a book out. And if I’m correct in this, this was published just before all of COVID came out.

The name of the book is What to Expect When Having Expectations. And I feel like there was a crazy amount of stuff that’s happened since you wrote the book. I feel like I’ve heard someone say happiness is expectations, minus reality. Have you heard that?

Ben Winter: That’s not one that I’ve heard. I’ve definitely heard plenty of them.

Brent: No, absolutely. Well, you know, let’s start with that. Tell us, why you wrote the book and, the frame of mind you were in when you started this whole thing back in January, 2020.

Ben Winter: Yeah. So it actually started way earlier than that. So back in about 2015, I came up with this amazing idea of teaching improv to companies to do team building for conflict resolution. Just better just communication in general. And throughout the time that I was training with all the improv, I kept saying the only reason anybody gets upset is because an expectation hasn’t been met.

Cause you know, all great speakers have sayings that follow them everywhere, but it didn’t solve any problems. It didn’t give anybody hope or fix anything, it just pointed out a specific thing that is very obvious when you look at it. And so I sat down and started to kind of map out on a workflow, how to go from that moment in time of being upset through the world of expectations and to finding something.

And as I was kind of doing that workflow, I kept coming across these sections where it was like answering no to the question, have you shared the expectation? And the answer is no. And a lot of times, the reason we don’t share them is because of fear. And so every time that I was looking at that flow chart, I’m like, there’s so much depth here, so I need to write a book about it.

And so I started writing the book in 20 19, and it finally got published in 2020. So just before the pandemic. So unfortunately it didn’t make it out to the masses in time for them to all read it. So they can handle the pandemic a little bit better. Better late than never. Yeah,

no, absolutely.

And I think that’s a good point, from a leadership standpoint it’s something that we don’t really consciously think of a lot .

Why Expectations In Relationship Is Important

Brent: There’s a lot of other material out there on different aspects of leadership, I think, but, expectations is a huge part of our life. It’s a huge part of success. It’s a huge part of our life stage that we’re in. And I think more people need to talk about it. Would you agree?

Ben Winter: Agreed. It is such a fundamental thing in our lives. Absolutely. It’s so huge, very fundamental. And there’s no escaping them. So anybody that says, I just choose not to have expectations is an expectation of themselves not having expectations. So sorry to say you have them. So you may as well deal with them and rather than.

Choose not to think about it. I approached them with, with what they deserve, they’re not good, they’re not bad. They’re just something that we have in our daily lives, and why not learn a little bit more about them so that when things don’t go your way, you know, that you have a new choice to make.

Yeah, absolutely. So in your book, you give a great example of how things. Could go wrong. If we didn’t have expectations, about sports and it’s a neat explanation, but I would be curious to know after you have written the book and you’ve talked through things and you started really noticing this in your life and maybe in other people’s life, is there a circumstance that really pops out to you?

Yeah. The biggest thing right now is that so many people have the need for instant gratification. You know, we have our phones, we have technology and it gives us so much so fast that when we don’t get that instant gratification from others or from ourselves, we don’t get that instant gratification.

Like I want to lose 20 pounds. There’s nothing. Except for like a medical procedure, that’s going to drop 20 pounds in a day. It’s just not a thing. And so we have to actually take the time to do what’s necessary to lose those 20 pounds. Likewise, if we want a friend or a loved one or a partner to do something that we’re asking them to do, we want it done then and now, and exactly how we want it.

We want that instant gratification. Other than the technology. And the things that technology can provide. It’s not an everyday thing that we get that instant gratification. So people are getting upset more and more because they’re not getting what they want as quickly as they, they expect to be getting it.

And it’s just something that people need to kind of calm down and, refocus their efforts and say, what can I do right now? So that this expectation is met in the future rather than hoping that it’s met in the next three seconds or something.

Yeah. Social media is really interesting, and it’s a whole conversation within itself, but I think something that adds to that a lot is seeing other people put out their expectations. You’re not only putting out your, frame of mind, but you’re consuming just as much, if not more. And so you are seeing other people push out their filtered life.

And you’re thinking, wow. I mean, if this is happening, this should be my new level of expectations. I mean, they’re achieving this, they’re doing this. Look what John Smith just did out there, and I feel like it can really even alter that further. Would you agree with that?

Yeah, we, we like to compare ourselves to others and it’s not fair to ourselves or the other people. We don’t know what struggles they went through to get to where they are. With social media, we will share our expectations of what we think other people should be thinking.

Right. And then when they don’t think what we think we get pissed at them. Well, no, that’s not how it works. You don’t know why they believe what they believe. They don’t know why you believe what you believe.

And if you’re not even talking about the same thing at the end of the day, does it even matter. Until you decide to talk about the same thing and ultimately decide what the end goal is. You can’t speak to that end goal. And unless you’re actually communicating and, unfortunately with society being what it is, we suck at communicating.

We don’t sit down and talk with people. We just force our information on to other people, or we try to force our information on to other people and either they just delete it or they yell at you or, whatever it may be, but it’s so one-sided, and that’s not what communication is. .

Start With Great Communication Expectations

Brent: I think that’s a really important point.

Why have we gotten to that point? I mean, I agree a hundred percent. Communication, like everything around us has really gotten easier in so many ways, from a technology perspective, it’s done so much for us, but I often think, has relationship building actually gotten easier, has communication really gotten easier?

Sure. It’s easier to send messages and receive messages, but really communicating from an understanding each other perspective, which, I think is different than just sending messages. It seems like that is almost had a reverse relationship with technology as we’ve been able to communicate easier in a sense relationship building has almost gotten harder to do.

Ben Winter: It is because we send that text message and have the instant gratification that they understand and buy in to whatever we just said. I was just talking to my ex about something for our child. And she’s like, this is more of an in-person conversation. So now rather than getting the instant gratification of her, just agreeing with me, we now have to actually schedule time, get on the phone, meet in person, and then actually talk with each other and make sure that we’re on the same page.

And we have to actually schedule that time to communicate rather than the instant gratification of yay. We’re on the same page. It’s likely we’ll be on the same page, but we definitely just have to have the conversation. And because we’re so used to the quick technological, information we get frustrated when things don’t happen as quickly as we think it should.

Brent: We really do. We get frustrated so easily today. So how does your book dive into these sort of things? Does it give us a structure of really how to handle communication better?

Ben Winter: Absolutely. The book is pretty much set up in a way that teaches you where our expectations come from, why we have them kind of what’s going on in the background, like the subconscious, and then ultimately how we can use that to get what we want in the future.

And, the flow chart is one piece that takes us from moments in time when we’re upset. And a lot of times when we we’re upset, it’s because an expectation isn’t being met and that expectation is brand new to us. We didn’t realize we had it until that very moment. And it’s a great opportunity for growth because then we get to take a look back and say, oh, I have this expectation because that’s how I was raised.

And that’s how my parents did it. So now I think that’s how it should be. But, my girlfriend or my wife or my kids, they’re not doing what I expect them to be doing, because that’s not how I experienced it when I was growing up. And so it becomes this really cool exercise of personal growth. Every time you get upset, if you choose.

Brent: Yeah, absolutely. How does this start to apply when we talk about different life stages?

Ben Winter: Yeah. I guess the best way to look at it is when you’re a kid, you have no expectations because you’re being taught how the world works as a kid. Until you’re taught, this is how we treat people. This is how people treat us. This is how we operate in a relationship. This is how we eat with a fork.

This is how we move physically in our bodies through life, where we learn to walk. If nobody around us walked, would we ever try walking? We would just crawl around and do what everybody else does. So as kids, we’re a blank slate. We’re learning what our expectations of the world are and how it works.

So as we grow up, we’re constantly challenged about those expectations. The first time you start to go and play with other kids away from your parents. Now the interactions have changed. Your parents aren’t around to stop certain things from happening or, or get certain things to happen.

You go to, elementary school to middle school, and now you’re no longer in the same classroom, but you’re moving around through different classrooms. Everything’s a little bit different than your expectations of how school works starts to change. And then you get to high school and, puberty kicks in and you’ve got all these hormones and nobody taught you how to deal with your hormones.

And so now you’re trying to figure this out and life isn’t working the way you thought it was supposed to be working because you didn’t grow up experiencing people going through those hormonal changes because your parents already went through it. Your friends were your same age. Now maybe somebody with older siblings will understand high school a little bit better.

But a lot of people they don’t understand. Then we get to college and we’re out on our own for the first time. And we’re finding out that the world doesn’t work like it does when we’re in our parents’ house, we have other responsibilities. We have things that we need to do and going further, now we’re an adult, we have to pay our bills and we have to, go live life.

And all these things started to happen. Then you have kids and oh, by the way, now we have technology that didn’t exist when we were kids.

How do we parent things that we’ve never parented before or seen parented? So, we’re learning as we’re going and our paradigms are always changing because the world around us is always changing and sometimes we don’t like that change.

So as we move through life, our frame of reference from our past really does affect how we respond to those situations. Because most of the time they’re not going to go as expected, which isn’t always bad.

 Other times we’re upset because it wasn’t as easy as we thought it should be. So, it’s a very weird process to explore, but it’s always going to happen. You get old and you’re like, well, I expected to be able to. walk around until I died and now I’m in a wheelchair or, I’d have great health and I just had three strokes in a year.

I don’t know what’s going to happen when we get older, but everybody has expectations of what their life is going to look like in the future. And it’s not always. Played out that way.

Feedback Communication Is Essential

Brent: Yeah, one thing that I have thought through is how important it might be to actually have other people around us, not only that would have different expectations, but people in completely different life stages, that can really speak into us, and, “Hey, your expectations need to be adjusted, this is what reality is really like from my perspective or in my life stage, or I’ve been where you are, you need to sort of calm down and readjust your expectations”.

I feel like we need to have people in our, life like that. I feel like a lot of us don’t.

Ben Winter: Yeah, there’s a good and a bad for that. So the best way I can describe it is as if we’re all in one big house and I’m looking out the front window at the lower level, that’s the world that I see. Now, somebody on the other side of the house, on the upper floor, looking out the back window, that’s the world that they see.

Now, if we come back into living room, I’m going to talk about the world as it is. And they’re going to talk about the world as it is. And we’re going to completely disagree because that doesn’t make any sense to me because this is what I’m seeing when I’m out in the world.

But if we actually left the house and walked around, we would see each other’s worlds as the other person seeing it, plus we’d be seeing everything else. And I think a lot of the times, we like to just look out our window and we like other people who look out the same window, because then we don’t have to disagree.

We don’t have to be wrong about what we see. Very few people will actually say. Let’s let’s go outside. Let’s go look at the world together. Let’s find all the gaps that we’re missing so that we can see the whole picture that goes completely around the house so that we’re on the same page, and we both understand the big entirety of the world.

So having those different people in different perspectives around us is one way to do that. It is necessary though, that everybody wants to grow and learn and have more and do more because it is hard to have somebody stick around you. That’s very, very set in their ways and doesn’t want to look at any other window.

They don’t want to look outside. They don’t want to go outside. They’re just happy in their window. And it’s really hard to have conversations with them or to get them to have a conversation that’s productive in any way, shape or form. So we’re kind of stuck in that in the world, I think right now, where everybody wants to stay inside, looking out their window and they don’t want to converse with anybody who’s not.

It can be frustrating because when we grow our knowledge, we’re going to be able to accomplish more together, and a lot of people are like, well, I’m not gonna do that. So here, I haven’t quite figured that one out. There is a book I’m working on that may solve that one, but for, right now, the best thing we can do is grab, our close buddy, our best friend, go outside together and start exploring the world little bit by little bit by little bit.

Brent: Ben.

I love it. We’re almost out of time, we are going to pick this up on our next episode, and we’ve got you back on there as well. Really looking forward to diving even deeper.

Everyone join us on our next episode with Ben Winter, Ben talk soon.

manage relationship expectations

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