The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Expectations Are In The Eye Of The Beholder.
February 15, 2012, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

So recently I had a major falling out with a very dear friend of mine.

A major falling out.

And a very dear friend.

The problem was, I didn’t know she was angry until she wrote an email featuring some of the most vicious accusations you could ever hope not to get.

She was majorly pissed off.

So pissed off that she was happy to write off a 15 year friendship, despite us having supported each other through all sorts of trials and tribulations in all sort of situations.

And what was it that had caused all this anger?

I didn’t send a card when her new born baby was born.

OK … OK … so I should have, but it’s not like I wasn’t in contact or telling her how happy and proud I was on a regular basis.

But that sounds like I’m justifying myself and that’s not the point of this post.

The point is my friend expected me to react to her big news in a certain way and when I didn’t, she took it as a major – and personal – insult.

But I didn’t know.

I didn’t realise.

And while you may think this makes me thick – and maybe I am – it provides a valuable lesson for her, for me, for you …


Don’t think people – even people you have known and worked with for years – are always going to be on the same wavelength as you.

That doesn’t mean you have to treat people like village idiots because at the end of the day, if people don’t react or respond in the way you hoped, you have to accept that you might have to shoulder some of the blame.

Did you tell them what you wanted? What you expected? What you hoped for?

Did you explain why it was important to you?

Did you give them any information at all?

This is more than two friends having a bust-up … adland is terrible at giving [and taking, but that’s a post for another day] direction.

Maybe it’s because we think it’s ‘un-creative’ … but there’s a big difference between articulating expectations and dictating how you want it done.

Explaining your expectations up front allows clarity right from the start.

It means everyone knows where they stand and gives them the chance to express their point of view or perspective before any issue has a chance to take hold.

So often we take other people’s understanding of what we want for granted … and while 90% of the time, we might get away with it, that doesn’t mean we should continue in this manner because it just means that when something does fuck up, the level of anger will be even greater because both parties will think the other person understood them and their mistake is a sign of selfishness.

I feel terrible about my friendship, however while I accept I might have done better … I also know it’s impossible to live up to someone’s expectations when they haven’t told you what they want.

Life is full of complexity and confusion without us adding to it, so make sure you’re assumptions won’t come back to deeply hurt you.

57 Comments so far
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usually id say whatever the fuck happened was your fault then i saw the reason for the fallout. babies are worse than religion for fucking with peoples brains and turning decent bastards into selfish pricks.

Comment by andy@cynic

Then throw in that Rob keeps in contact with everybody and you sense the friend might be overreacting a little bit.

I know there’s 2 sides to every story but Rob is like a cockroach that won’t go away and constantly is around to annoy you.

Comment by DH

Thinking about it, I’d rather he sent a card than I’d that too.

Comment by DH

i just want 2 things from him.

a bankers draft for a fuckload of money.
fuck off and leave me alone.

Comment by andy@cynic

It would appear you’ll be as disappointed as the other person then.

Comment by Rob

No comment. Especially on my valentines day.

Comment by George

very fucking wise move. even fucking more so when we know your wife scans these comments like a hawk ready to fucking attack. now thats strategy.

Comment by andy@cynic

except me.

Comment by andy@cynic

but if you dont send cards, presents and a fuckload of cash when mr/mrs financial parasite is born im going to ruin your fucking life.

Comment by andy@cynic

and do you know how? by fucking doing nothing, saying nothing and thinking nothing about my kid and making sure you hear every fucking pointless and egotistical detail about their development.

Comment by andy@cynic

and try to make you feel guilty for not wanting to share every second of their development, which is quicker and more fucking advanced than every other kid, oh fucking yes.

Comment by andy@cynic

You’re right in the swing of it now. I wonder when start to think you’re making observations of fact, rather than taking the piss. Probably within 12 minutes of the birth.

Comment by Rob

kids are great but parents fucking suck the big one.

Comment by andy@cynic

at least for the first 5 years then parents are ok and kids become pains in the fucking arse.

Comment by andy@cynic

but i wont campbell. if you shower me (not the kid) with the right amount of gifts.

dont fucking say i havent warned you.

Comment by andy@cynic

all this openness sounds like a mix of dr fucking phil and howard stern. that fucking disturbs me. better than best friends horse cocks but still, keep your fucked up friendships to yourself in fucking future.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m impressed and scared that you can turn the emotional destruction of an old friendship and turn it into a planning lesson. That’s Hannibal Lector type behaviour right there.

Comment by DH

why do you sound shocked? hes the best motherfucking post rationalising, random facts pull together, make one point mean a totally different fucking point in the whole bastard world. its just a shame he uses that talent to bore the fucking pant off everybastardone.

and hes always had a touch of the hannibals about him. probably more to do with nottingham than anything interesting. or genuinely fucking scary.

Comment by andy@cynic

Somewhere lurking in there is a compliment. Sure, it’s a back-handed compliment, but I’ll take whatever I can get from you.

Comment by Rob

Sorry to hear about the situation with your friend, but the point it brings up (assumption) is a good one because it’s a situation that is very common in work and in life.

Your point about adland thinking the articulation of expectations is “uncreative” has more than the ring of truth about it, but so does your point there’s a major difference between discussing and dictating.

I hope your friendship works itself out but know your pain is this posts gain.

Comment by Pete

i want one of you. always make me feel good and everyfuckingthing i say is interesting and right. get a fucking room and be done with it.

Comment by andy@cynic

It only works with people I like and respect.

Comment by Pete

thats fucking fighting talk. im fucking impressed. utterly fucking futile because i know you view me as your lord and fucking master but nice fucking attempt. theres still a glimmer of fucking hope for you pete. a glimmer.

Comment by andy@cynic

That’s a relief.

Comment by Pete

You must find some post shite sometimes right..?

For real..

this is freaking me out..


come on,

make this blog bit more fun by going rogue..

Comment by niko

I’ve always hated the small font he uses if that helps make you feel better Niko.

Comment by Pete

on the bright side hes cracked his impact font addiction. we should be grateful for small fucking mercys.

Comment by andy@cynic

I should point out Pete has been the most objective person to comment on this blog. Well, objective in terms of making views in relation to the post I’ve written which is much more preferable that the rest of you who are objective about me … my music tastes … my shoe tastes … my nationality and my birth city etc etc.

Though, to be fair, there’s probably more material for you to be objective about than the rubbish I write …

Comment by Rob

only sad fucks read your posts.

Comment by andy@cynic

So what happens if I write a post about how brilliant you are? Don’t worry, I don’t do fiction on here. Ha.

Comment by Rob

you think youre so fucking smart dont you campbell. well that wasnt smart it was just me being fucking stupid.

Comment by andy@cynic

just saw forest played and lost. again. a nice valentine gift for you from those football fuckwits.

Comment by andy@cynic

Yes, thanks for that … just what I needed to hear to put the cherry on a fucking mental episode of my life.

Comment by Rob

The whole point of friendship is being willing to forgive. That and being entitled to remind the other person of those failings in perpetuity.

Comment by John

that must be why i never have been and never will be campbells friend. nemesis, yes. friend, not fucking likely.

Comment by andy@cynic

To coin a Meatloaf lyric, you took the words right out of my mouth.

Comment by Rob

You’re right John and that’s what’s upset me.

I know I could have done more – I’ve communicated that to them – however for someone to view me as the lowest of the low simply because I used phonecalls, SMS and email to congratulate them on the birth of their child instead of sending a card is beyond me. Actually it’s more than that, it’s insulting to me which is why, sadly, despite 15 years of loyal friendship [from both sides] my attitude is ‘fuck you’ rather than ‘oh dear’.

To be honest, this feeling is new to me … I do guilt like a Catholic on steroids … but I honestly feel their reaction is disproportionate to the crime, which is why my ‘guilt threshold’ is painfully low and it’s quite liberating if I’m being honest.

Comment by Rob

guilt like a catholic on steroids.

fuck me campbell, thats the best fucking description of your guilt complex ive ever fucking heard. funny how you never fucking showed it when you were busy stealing money out of my fucking wallet, hands and mouth.

Comment by andy@cynic

Just doing what you taught me.

It’s a compliment really.

Comment by Rob

good fucking point.

Comment by andy@cynic

Women make no sense fullstop. If they did, strippers would be begging me to bang them. Hot strippers, not the old girls with the shriveled balloon tits you find in atlantic city.

Comment by Billy Whizz

back on the fucking meths i see.

Comment by andy@cynic

A lot of humans don’t realise their egocentrism! This is not to say that everyone clearly wants everyone else to make them the centre of their conscious world, but many need to adjust their points of view! It’s a prime characteristic of autistic spectrum people to be plain, biologically unable to imagine how things are from another’s point of view, but ordinary, unimpaired peeps usually learn about perspective-taking from caring parents. I find it’s safer to just tell people who are more than just acquaintances that I LURVE to receive cards & presents- it gives me a child-like thrill & I respond very positively. However, I also tell them at the same time that I EXPECT NOTHING and won’t be hurt if they have other priorities. Some people have given me the most amazing gifts, while others haven’t and I’ve never found any disgruntled souls in my near circle around giving and sharing material things. My way definitely works for me!

Comment by murfomurf

youre the sort of friend i like. want nothing, expect nothing think im a fucking god if i do something.

youre ok murfomurf, except for your name. thats fucking weird.

Comment by andy@cynic

Hello Murfomuf … nice to have you pop by.

I agree, it’s nice to think that people will be considerate towards you, but that doesn’t mean cards or presents, it just means they keep in contact every now and then, pay an interest in what’s going on and – most importantly of all – are there for you when shit happens.

Comment by Rob

you fucking say that campbell, but youre the one that has a fucking criteria of what qualifies someone as a friend. twat.

Comment by andy@cynic

That is a good point but then I am a sad bastard. Shouldn’t be, I’m hardly inundated with friends am I!

Comment by Rob

truth hurts.

Comment by andy@cynic

Commendable strategy by Kay – one that Rob’s adversary would do well to follow.

Comment by Chris

I assumed planners were twats. I’ve not been proved wrong yet.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Why are you still awake? Isn’t it 4am or something there? Are you living the advertising pitch dream?

Comment by Rob

Asda 7p value Congratulations on the birth of your child card?

Maybe we should create a ‘personal expectations briefing form’..??

Comment by Rob Mortimer

if you spend 7 fucking pence on my baby congratulation card i will fucking rain shit on your head. 10p, not fucking 7.

Comment by andy@cynic

This doesn’t sound a very good situation Robert, I hope it sorts itself out. Good point about assumption, it’s one of those issues that people talk about over and over again but it is rarely acted on until a crisis arises.

Comment by Bazza

Just like the sanctity of marriage.

Comment by Billy Whizz

nice bastardness there billy, fucking impressed for once.

Comment by andy@cynic

Hi Rob,
Sorry for the late intervention. Dunno what to think, typical case of a lost in translation… You have done all a friend could do, don’t understand why a card would have made a difference over an sms, or an email?!
You have done your soul-searching but you have done nothing wrong. And thats what must leave you confused. And in this case there is nothing about expectations and assumptions, although your point in absolute terms is valid. Especially relationships have a knack for failing due to misunderstandings, and regardless of much you talk in a relationship. I suspect that there might have been some tensions lurking already, but you nailed it: you have been traveling at different wavelenghts for some time now and this has finally caught up with both of you.

Comment by Eltractor67

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