“I’m disappointed by the lack of honesty in the world today. Recently I’ve had one promise after another broken by various individuals. Does anyone value honesty any more?” ~ Stephen, San Diego, CA
Feeling that others are dishonest is a sign that your expectations are not aligned. It’s important to clearly communicate what you expect to happen and what you’re willing to do to help make it happen.
You have two choices:
1. You can be right. That means that the other person must be wrong if they can’t or won’t meet your preferences. Your inflexibility will drive people away from you.
2. You can honor the relationship. That means that you understand that different people have different needs, priorities, capabilities, preferences, and expectations – and you seek ways to collaborate for a mutually-beneficial experience.
Whatever you want to receive is something you must first give. Instead of approaching an exchange from the perspective of “What’s in it for me?” – find out about the other person’s needs, desires and expectations first.
Try to help them meet their needs and yours at the same time. Explain where your expectations overlap and where there are differences. Seek agreement on the best way to move forward and how you’ll both handle any challenges that arise over the course of your relationship.
Assume that things are going well and you just aren’t seeing it yet. Give them encouragement by acknowledging what’s working and asking for clarification on one aspect that seems out of whack.
Listen with an open heart. Ask what came up that prevented them from sticking with the agreed expectations. Regain their commitment to honor your agreement.
Other people really do want you to be happy and for you to enjoy working with them. Not everyone will meet your high standards – and sometimes your expectations are not realistic. Every situation is an opportunity to collaborate. Both parties have the opportunity to re-set expectations (honor the relationship) or refuse to work together (be right).