It is important to surround yourself with people who have a higher expectations of you than you are willing to realize. Often times in life, people form impressions and expectations about others, and these expectations will generally drive all of their future interactions with an individual. A bad first impression and low expectations of an individual can damage a relationship before it even begins, but it also has to be said that having high expectations of a person can also have adverse effects on a relationship. I wouldn’t say thinking too highly of someone is as bad as having low expectations of them, but I would say that having high expectations leads to a higher chance of disappointment. In the case of surrounding yourself with people who expect much from you, it is extremely beneficial to growth and success. If you respect an individual and they hold you to a high standard, you are much more willing to try to live up to that standard in order to avoid disappointing the individual. A valued person has the ability to push their loved ones to better themselves by merely holding them to a high standard. On the other hand, if you are given low expectations by a respected individual, the respect won’t last long. Low expectations are not always a matter of malice, since some project their low expectations of themselves onto others, but whenever a person is faced with external low expectations it almost always seems disrespectful. Even though it is not always intentional, low expectations should be avoided like the plague. It is important to make and keep friends that will hold you in high esteem, and desire for you to continue growing. It is not easy to break friendships, but if a friend expects little of you, and doesn’t understand why that is a problem, then they most likely don’t deserve to be your friend.
The other day, I received a message from an old friend asking why we no longer hung out. When I consider my friendship with this individual in the past, I remember a time when we would never be out of contact for more than a week, but now she is just about a stranger to me. The thing about friendships is that no matter how much we grow and change they usually stay the same, but with growth, we often have to trim branches, and some relationships just don’t make the cut. I decided to respond of course, since it would be rude to ignore someone, let alone a person who was once considered a good friend, and I found out that this old friend wanted me to come to their house warming party. On a regular occasion, with a more familiar friend I would have quickly agreed to attend, but now I was faced with this stranger asking me to meet in an unfamiliar place, with other unfamiliar people. I decided to attend out of cordiality, and it was just as awkward as I thought it would be. I made small talk with a few interesting individuals, with whom I had very little in common, and I tried to rebuild this friendship with my old friend, only to find that we may be too far apart to reconnect on the same level we once connected. I learned an interesting thing about myself from this situation, I learned that no mater how much I would love to keep many of my old or even current relationships going, some friendships are seasonal. I don’t mean to say that it is foolish or impossible to build a lasting friendship, but I will say that situational friendships will generally only last as long as the situations that called for them. People will always try to reconnect with old friends, but in the end, old friendships are old for a reason. I wish all of my old friends the best in life, now I will just have to live with the not so sad realization that the fond memories I have shared with these individuals can only be tainted by trying to restart a connection that has been long interrupted.
The first impression you have of someone effects all of your interactions until you really get to know them. A negative first impression can cause a litany of misunderstandings and can derail what could possibly be a pleasurable and long-term relationship. I have met people in less than flattering situations, and formed skewed perceptions of who they were based on these first impressions. I too have had people think wrongly of who I am, due to their assumptions of me based on our first meeting. While it may seem that all first impressions are based on appearance and assumptions of others, they can also be formed by the personality of the observed. If a person is introverted and quiet, some may believe they are self centered or arrogant, without even speaking to them. First impressions are important, whenever you interview for a position, or go out on a date you are under review. While I understand the negatives that come with first impressions, usually based on irrational prejudices, it is important to take that chance to make sure you leave a lasting and positive one. You can not change the way people see you initially, but you can make sure the way you interact with them leaves an overall positive impression. It helps to go into every new situation with the consideration that you are being watched. When I say being watched I do not mean to live in a state of constant paranoia, I am just trying to convey how important your actions can be to your future relationships. When considering first impressions remember the old quote, “a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.”
Don’t let bitterness destroy your life. Bitterness is a feeling that is breed from anger and unforgiveness. Anger is a natural response to being wronged, there is nothing wrong with being angry, it’s how you handle it that defines you. Unforgiveness is when you are unwilling to let the cause of your anger off the hook, when you allow anger to fester in unforgiveness you are left with pure bitterness. A bitter person hates everything, and cannot find happiness, all due to the fact that they could not let an infraction go. I understand there are certain things that may seem unforgivable, but when it is causing bitterness, it becomes a bigger problem than the infraction. The main problem with bitterness is unforgiveness and forgiving is a tough task, quite possibly one of the hardest things to do but it is key to regaining your happiness and relief. A quote comes to mind when I think about unforgiveness, “ Harboring unforgiveness is like drinking poison, and expecting your offender to die.” The best thing to do to live a life free of bitterness is to forgive and move on, I know it’s hard, but the amount of relief you get from dropping that bitterness is equal to a lifetime of joy.
I find the idea of friendship to be very interesting, it’s funny how you can be away from a friend from several years, but return to normal conversation as though they never left. On the other hand you can have a long friendship with someone you see often come to an end due to a minimal infraction. It’s been said that “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” but I would say familiarity makes the mind grow callous. I have lost friends due to things that were exceedingly unimportant, especially looking back at them. Think about when you were a kid, I’m sure you have stopped talking to people just because someone else said so, or they never gave back a pencil. I like to wonder how far some of these relationships would have gone if they were allowed to grow. I know I’m not the only person in the world who thinks about what he would do with a time machine, my first choice would definitely not involve fixing old friendships, but that’s a topic for another day. Getting back on track, I love the feeling of running into an old friend and still finding commonalities in interests and hobbies. I like to imagine myself and a few old friends were built with the same personality template, and just ever so slightly deviated from common paths to stay similar yet different. I have been told “it is difficult to find friends as you get older,” I found that to be quite untrue. As a child I became friends with others based on placement and convenience, but as an adult I find there to be much more substance in friendships. Adult friendships are usually forged from more significant factors and events, although there are many superficial friendships, I find longer lasting adult friendships are based on more substantial things. The act of letting people into your life can sometimes be annoying, and extremely taxing, but it is one of the best ways to stay grounded and quite possibly one of the best ways to live a happy life.