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Emotional day for a lot of friends.

I was going to post some thoughts on movies, but there is a lot more personal introspection happening that delves into a lot of painful spaces today, and I am nothing if not fluffy.

Most of what I'm seeing today is centered around relationships, either of the romantic sort or close friendships, and the pain that comes from unmet expectations.

On one hand, when someone doesn't meet your expectations, how much of it is their fault for not meeting the expectations, and how much of it is yours for having them in the first place?

On the other, when someone is close to you, shouldn't you at least have some expectations of how they should behave, or what they should do?

I'm torn here. With most of my friends, I do have certain minimal expectations of personal integrity. I do understand that people screw up from time to time, and I am pretty quick to forgive and understand under most circumstances, but if the behavior becomes consistent or if it's really egregious, I reserve the right to reconsider my friendship.

There is an old story about the frog and the scorpion:
There was a scorpion on the bank of the river who asked a frog to ferry him to the other side.

"Oh no," the frog said. You would sting me."

"That's ridiculous," the scorpion replied, "because then I would drown."

Convinced, the frog took the scorpion on his back and began to swim the river. In midstream, the scorpion's lethal urge became too strong and he plunged his stinger into the frog's neck.

The sinking frog groaned, "Why, why?"

The scorpion gave his final shrug and replied, "Fuck you, asshole."

(I like my version.)

Moral of the story: be careful what you wish for. It might have raisins.


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 10th, 2007 08:12 pm (UTC)
Having expectations isn't necessarily the problem. Not communicating? Ahhh, that's the rub.
May. 10th, 2007 08:30 pm (UTC)
Communicating is not always the issue. When you can communicate cleanly and clearly but it still doesn't change things, there is an operational flaw:
"I hear what you are saying but I don't want to change my behavior because (it would require effort/I don't wanna/you should change your expectations/ooh, shiny)" is even more than what a lot of people get.

It takes not only communication, but action.
May. 10th, 2007 08:42 pm (UTC)
Re: C0mm7n1c4t10n
I really, seriously doubt that most relationships suffer more from resolving conflicts between behavior and expectations than they do with uncommunicated expectations.

Please. As if. Most folks don't realize they have the expectations until they are violated by another's behavior.
May. 10th, 2007 08:56 pm (UTC)
Uncommunicated expectations.
"You should just know that I don't like that!"


I consider myself pretty damn good at listening to my partner, and even talking about things most of the time. But the problems that I've mostly had haven't been around things that weren't communicated; they were clearly communicated but never really addressed, or just outright violated.

Then again, I haven't had a lot of relationships in the past fifteen years or so. One big one, and starting on one that's vewy, vewy cautious.

So big question here: are there some expectations in a relationship that can be simply *understood* as defaults, or is it necessary to communicate everything?
May. 10th, 2007 10:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Uncommunicated expectations.
Yeah, I think you can make some basic assumptions like:

"Don't hit me."
"Don't hit my pets."
"Don't kill people."

And probably some others, like "Don't sell all my stuff when I'm at the grocery store." Maybe even "Don't do drugs in my house unless you know I'm cool with that."

Beyond basic law-abidingness, I think there probably needs to be some discussion of boundaries and expectations. Hell, if you're dating geeks you likely need to cover some pretty basic social expectations, since they seem to have missed those memos.
May. 10th, 2007 09:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Uncommunicated expectations.
People misrepresent themselves, I think. They play down their flaws, cover them up or pretend/deny that they are there.

Then, over time, when the flaws are obvious, it is just like your story. "Why? why?" "Fuck you, asshole."

I like your ending better, too.
May. 10th, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Uncommunicated diseases.
I gots lots and lots of flaws, but overall I think I'm pretty good. I try to be stable for my sig. other, at least as much as I can be. I think though that I have to be a lot more stable for myself first in my current incarnation, because everyone else goes away eventually, and I seem to end up holding the bag... or the Big Broken Box™ as the case may be.

I guess I'm a believer in full disclosure.
May. 10th, 2007 10:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Uncommunicated diseases.
I think you're forgetting that most people haven't the first faint fucking clue about themselves or their behavior.

Full disclosure assumes a hefty amount of self-awareness.
May. 11th, 2007 01:39 am (UTC)
Re: Uncommunicated diseases.
I whole-heartedly agree with this. Many people just float along in life, not really thinking about what they do or how what they do affects (or could affect) others or themselves. They just kinda play it by ear without forethought or consideration. Because they aren't really sure what the hell they're doing.
May. 10th, 2007 09:16 pm (UTC)
I scorpio told me that stoary once. right before he acted like an asshole. So that story makes me want to do rotton things cause like thats just how I am you know. Do you like every part of me or not. You dont want to change me do you? Why does every one always want to change me? I am getting the feeling that I am not acceptable to you. Do you want to change everyone or just me? Do I get the special treatment? Yes thats what I did. Cause that is who I am. I think you should accept me.

I am six.
May. 10th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC)
I've changed myself a lot to become what my partners have wanted me to be, even when it wasn't really true to myself. Didn't realize it at the time so much, but it bit my ass later when they lost respect for me because I didn't have the backbone to be my own self.

So now I say "this is who I am, and if you don't like it, there's the doah". I say it with a Boston accent like that too.

I still haven't rejected you.
May. 10th, 2007 10:10 pm (UTC)
I rather feel bad for James. I changed myself a lot for the fucking ex and so James is getting a big dose of Deal With It now that I'm back to myself again.
May. 10th, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC)
Funny, I've been turning over the same thoughts in my head. What I keep coming back to is the golden rule, and that everyone fucks up from time to time, myself included, and I want to be given second chances just as I want to give them.

One of the phrases I ran across in one of my classes was that of a social contract. We all have them, and we all rarely talk about them. The difficult thing about them is that we're rarely aware of the terms of them until the terms have been "broken."
May. 11th, 2007 01:43 am (UTC)
That story was used in my own interpersonal chaotic b.s. not too long ago. And I am a Scorpio rising, which is how the subject came up, in discussion of Scorpio traits. And also with regards to how people will just do things in their own self-interest. The old "a leopard never changes it's spots" thing.

The issue with my situation is that I was on guard the whole time, thinking about possible outcomes (both good & bad). The guy behaved in a way that proved to me that he wasn't thinking too much about what the possible consequences could be. I lost total respect for him. And now he probably thinks of me as the "fuck you asshole" scorpio. But he just doesn't understand how thoughtless & stupid his own behavior was. I don't put up with insane behavior. What he did is crazy, in my book.

Another friend of mine who knows the backstory to it suggested that he was "just being a guy". Well, that may be true. But he's a guy I don't want anything to do with anymore.
May. 11th, 2007 01:43 am (UTC)
Can you tell I'm still miffed about it?? heh.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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