“The Failer and The Failee”

Expectations and inconsistencies are two sides of the same coin. Study 002 dissects the idealistic side of expectations, but with expectations comes inconsistency and disappointment. We all, of course, have the best intentions and goals going into any friendship, relationship, partnership; however, failure is inevitable. Humans have been hardwired to prioritize themselves in order to survive. Inconsistency puts that goal in jeopardy. Yet we are still inconsistent. We fail ourselves, the most important person in our life! How can we then expect to not fail others, how can we expect others to not fail us and how do we navigate and internalize this inevitable failure?

There are three ways that a failed expectation—an inconsistency—will play out in a relationship. For the purposes of this newsletter, there are two characters at play: The Failer (the individual who falls short of an expectation) and The Failee (the individual affected by the failed expectation).

The first way is probably the most common. An inconsistency happens time and again, and the Failee overlooks the Failer’s mishap simply because they are not aware of their own expectations for the other person. If the expectations are in fact realized prior, there are many reasons why inconsistencies may not be addressed. Two examples that come to mind for us being life stages/circumstances practically prevent a conversation, or there may be questions surrounding whether the closeness of the friendship warrants a conversation. Either instance could lead to a conversation not being had.

The second way is the least desirable and there are many examples of this. Two that we have seen play out are as follows:

  1. An inconsistency happens. The Failee brings it up and the Failer is unwilling to change. They say something like “This is just how I am. I can't change! ”

  1. An inconsistency happens. The Failee brings it up and the Failer says they are willing to change. Unfortunately, this same pattern has occurred before, and as the Failer's actions have proven once more, they are, in fact, unwilling to change.

At both these points two things can happen. The Failee either compromises on their expectation because they value the friendship / they feel like they can compromise in this particular instance, or the Failee does not compromise on their expectation and the friendship naturally dissipates.

The third way is the most desirable. The Failee addresses the inconsistency, it is received with tact by the Failer, they apologize and commit to doing better.

To maintain healthy friendships, the willingness to adapt and empathize is paramount. The idea of the perfect friend, partner, wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend is a fantasy. Every person is only as perfect as you are, and inconsistency is an inevitable part of any relationship. This doesn't have to be pessimistic. Knowing this inevitability opens us up to grace, forgiveness, and inner peace, all of which are objectively desirable qualities in themselves (we’d say ;)). People are not bad; they don't want to fail you just like you don't want to make mistakes yourself. When we experience inconsistency & when we are inconsistent ourselves, we should be aware of it and figure out how to move forward.

ACTION: See if you can think of an example when you had an expectation for someone and they did not meet it. How did you react? Has it happened again?

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