The Expectations Conundrum: I am here, where are you?

It is expected in a relationship that both individuals understand the unsaid demands and expectations of one another – some sort of mystical bond which helps you gauge what the other person would be comfortable with or agree to.  If sometimes people can’t see through, they need to be told or explained in words or any other form of communication. It is an imperative to express your desires/expectation, get understood and vice versa. To Simplify, let’s take a peek into life of X (the guy) and Y (the gal)…

Expectations and desires change with time – Today, X wants this, tomorrow he expects that and so on…. But, most of the time, X wants Y to guess what he desires or expects from her – as if she gets a relay of X’s thoughts in her mind…If X does not see that happening, X talks to Y about what he wants, sulks and make huge issue out of it…..As a result, either Y fulfills these expectations or they keep arguing on the same and fall out…This is what we would call ‘important expectations’…

X has some desires and expectations which are ‘good-to-have’, but ones which X can do without… we would call them ‘good-to-have’ expectations…These are things which X desires, communicates and then either he forgets/accept the status quo or simply move on. This is where the whole confusion starts.

Y, who has been all the while listening to X’s ‘good-to-have’ expectations, is deeply dented/moved by her inability to gauge X’s expectation and do nothing about it… Thanks to all this, Y gets fixated at that point in time. It’s like a time warp, where Y is standing still and X has moved on.

Y then thinks of fulfilling those ‘good-to-have’ expectations for X, and it becomes a mission of sorts for her. She puts in a lot of effort, makes sacrifices, learns new things, embraces change and does everything possible… Small price to pay for a stronger, better relationship – She thinks.

And when Y is ready, she surprises X and gives him what he always expected…but, he doesn’t find the fulfilled expectation amusing or anything great about it. Y is heartbroken and confused – what did I do wrong? Isn’t this is what he always expected?

That’s the whole point – to understand the expectations. No one in a relationship can discuss A to Z of their lives. What’s necessity for you right now… may not be a thing of use to you tomorrow…It’s difficult keeping current with your own expectations, let alone that of the other person..This is because experience changes people’s perspective and it is different for all individuals…

I guess only way to come out of this situation is to keep asking your partner about what they would like to do….But, need to do this in a subtle manner…you would not want to spoil the surprise part of this whole exercise…

Keep current with their expectations….otherwise all your effort will go down the drain…

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The Act of Moving On…

Think about it – how many times you have been advised or you have advised others to move on in life over some situation… I guess zillion times…But, how many times you or your friends moved on from that particular situation..?? I can safely guess…very few or even none…we still hold the grudge/pain/anguish/guilt/helplessness close to our heart as it would be a dear friend….

Why on earth we can’t move on…What is that ‘thing’ that just doesn’t let go of the memories…why do we ‘thrive’ in the state of abeyance?? What is so ‘sexy’ about feeling/being miserable??

In the instances where I/people around me did not move on, I discovered that this whole process starts with some common thoughts that don’t let you move on:

– How can this happen to me?

– I have the poorest luck in this whole world!

– I am being victimised!

– God is unfair to me…

– I did whatever needed to be done…still..

– How can he/she get what I deserve!

– I have lost…

– I am useless/ugly/incapable/loser…

– I never got what I wanted in life…

– How can he/she not like me…

– Only If I was born somewhere else…

– He/She cheated me..played with my trust/faith…

and so on.. if you take a closer look at these statements, all of them are externally controlled (meaning you can’t change any of these or have control over..)…shifting the blame on someone else (read fate mostly)…which is quite human thing to do…and as B*Witched says “Won’t blame it on myself, Just blame it on the weatherman”

Now, the combination of these thoughts and the fact that we can’t do much about it..puts us in endless circles…and we feel comfy in the miserable situation that we are in… we start liking it and think of us as one hapless, unlucky human being upon which great injustice has been done…adding the extra attention and care that you get from your friends just makes being in this state more attractive…

At certain level, all of us have low confidence on our abilities to act well in some situations that demand a lot from you…When we don’t move on..this is exactly what happens…We face difficulty (sometimes we not at all try!!) in doing things in which we faced failure…we fear the unknown…and make that unknown in our minds as defeat..because memories from the past haunt us all the time…….Loosely, this combines with our resistance to accept changes…and makes the whole moving on process complex…

To move on, it depends upon personal capacities and will power…it is not at all an easy thing….It is a mind game which (among many things) depends on how experienced, mature and objective thinker you are..

One thing that surely works is keeping yourself busy…it goes a long way in diverting your mind from endless calculations, assertions and designs that you make in your mind… in unsuccessful relationships, I guess snapping/avoiding all sort of interfaces and communication works the best…people argue it can’t be done in a day….but I have seen lot of people doing avoidance gradually instead of a snap decision and failing miserably at it…They just can’t move on from there…One more ingredient making relationships and life unfathomable…

If only humans were objective like computers…but then, would such a beautiful world exist?

Mathematics of Friendship: Friends on The Time Line

We have surely heard about the ‘chemistry’ between friends… Biology also finds its place in some friendships ;)…but how about maths in friendship… As they say we are ‘calculative’ as a person, we add/subtract/divide friends, look at various permutations and combinations while deciding on who to propose or whom to accept proposal from, love to multiply our chat sessions and so on…there is sure some maths involved somewhere…:)

On a serious note, one thing I have observed/felt is that friendship is indeed a function of time. This means, over a period of time, dynamics of our relationships change…

Communication is the key in any relationship…When we are young, and we have all the time on our disposal, we stay in touch through physical meetings (hang outs!!), phone calls, SMS, FB/Orkut, emails …whichever way possible…then we start getting busy in our lives…the hang outs become less…even the phone calls drop…

And it goes on… we get married, have kids and become engrossed in our lives…In other terms, our priorities shift…this lack of communication creates a gap of sorts between our friends and us…sadly,  sometime it is never filled…It starts with us hesitating to call or get in touch with that friend…How will I explain the reason for not getting in touch for so long – is what we think and if we don’t find any appropriate answer/excuse or sufficient guts to face the situation, we end up not calling that person…

One argument in favor of not staying in touch is that…we need to understand that people get on with their lives as we do…and the rules of the game are rewritten… a phone call/email/or a SMS (on birthdays/festivals that too) every six months constitutes staying in touch…

This is mostly true for all cases except, where you have friends studying and working/or staying in same places.

Generally, this approach works out pretty well…I would not say that forget your old friends, keep in touch with them as well…But, I feel in life, relationships teach you more than anyone else…Therefore, Its very important to meet new people, hear their experiences, their perspectives and understand their individualities…more and more people you meet, more open and tolerant you become to different opinions and ideas…eventually, you may  start respecting the heterogeneity that exists among us humans…. a key in holistic development of a person….

Coming back to friends, we always tend to have a close set of friends (probably not more than 1, 2 or 3; usually friends made in formative years, college, first job etc.) which we consider closest and would go to for any kind of support or need. These are the friends you would not want to forget and get out of touch with. Small efforts to be in touch…here and there…. would go a long way in creating an unbreakable, long lasting bond.

“Out of sight, out of mind” is a dangerous philosophy to follow, because, the same thing can be used against you as well. You may not realize its danger initially, but when you are in need and have no one to share, that’s when it would hit you hard! To help avoid this thinking,  Messengers and Social Networking websites are helping people create new set of rules for their friendship and help them communicate…

Crux is… you can’t ignore the importance of friends…and in the age of internet, you CAN stay in touch if you WANT to stay in touch….

Interesting Take on Marriage…

“I never was attached to that great sect

Whose doctrine is that each one should select

Out of the crowd a mistress or a friend

And all the rest, though wise and good, commend

To cold oblivion; though it is the code

Of modern morals, and the beaten road

Which those poor slaves with weary footsteps tread

Who travel to their home among the dead

By the broad highway of the world, and so

With one chain’d friend, perhaps a jealous foe,

The dreariest and the longest journey go.”

– Shelley, Percy Bysshe

Love and Career: Are They Mutually Exclusive? (Part 1)

Randomly surfing internet, I chanced upon this  interesting post on a survey done in the US about career and love…This survey was carried out for some 1000 random respondents in Feb 2009, and here’s what they found,

“Notwithstanding the U.S. economy and labor market, three out of four Americans still say that in order to achieve a happy life, a successful relationship with a significant other is more important than a successful career, a sentiment men and women echo equally…”

This made me wonder, If such a survey was to be done in India, what would the result turn out to be (If someone knows about such survey, please pass along the info) – what will people opt for…successful job?? or love of their life??..I would not like to speculate…

It would not be wrong to say that Love and Career (in any order of precedence) are the two most important things in an individual’s life… both have an impact which shapes the life to come… A bad career or a romance gone bad wrecks the innermost layers of a person… It is often said, for ultimate happiness and peace, you need to have both in right quantities… All these thoughts posted two question before me:

#1  Can such an equilibrium be reached?

# 2 Can a happy (or whatever you want to call it) love and a successful career co-exist?

Well, there is no wrong or right answer that can be provided for these questions… Also, there is very high level of individual subjectivity involved as definition of a good career and love is different across individuals…

Share your thoughts and let me know what you think about these two…


The Compatibility Debate…

When we think about getting into a relationship, first thing that comes to our mind is “how compatible are we?” or “does our wavelength match?”…. and when we break – up, the #1 reason is – We did not get along well ’cause we weren’t compatible…

Hmm…gives me enough food for thought to discover a)  Why so happens and b) Is finding-the-right-person all about finding someone who is compatible to you?

Well, human nature always looks for birds-of-feather and that is how it all begins…We start with being friends with people who match our taste, possess common hobbies/interests and ideally, have the same dislikes as us…and throughout, we surround ourselves with people who fall into our ‘school-of-thought’…

If you look around…count how many ‘unlike you’ or ‘boho’ friends you have made… (Considering you your self don’t belong to boho category…)…The answer I am very sure would be a small number and am doubly sure that ‘these friends’ would not feature in your close/best friend classification…

Interestingly, as we grow up, our philosophy or perspective starts taking shape and our attitude is gets defined by virtue of our learnings and experiences… and except very few, all of us are not very forthcoming to accept beliefs other than ours… reason why one who is not falling to line or order is bullied by the majority… So, our conditioning and upbringing makes us accept/reject aberration…

All said and done, the basic purpose of being and making friends is to ‘share’ … which we can definitely do much easily with people who think or behave like us….Considering the chain of events, if we have been in our shell/protected space and have only met likeminded people during our formative years, it is more likely that we would try and find someone who matches our likes and dislikes….

‘Is it absolutely necessary that we be in a relationship with a similar person as us?’...is my contention here…It is widely accepted that no two person are exactly alike, think/act alike in all situations…there is some uniqueness about everyone…

Again, is it about finding someone who matches most to us? … I guess ‘Yes’ – to a great extent…In the world around, you will see a lot of relationships  like that…birds-of-feather types…I completely buy the argument of compatibility, but if you look closely, most of these relationships prima facie starts on ‘we are compatible!’ note ends on ‘there was nothing common between us‘….

If you ask me, relationships that last are not about ‘being common’….because, we, as individuals, are continuously evolving… Being compatible is definitely a good ground to begin…but is it enough to sustain…I guess not!

Relationships that work or (last long at least!!) are the ones where individuals get space to evolve, learn new things, gives one freedom to change perspective/opinions on life after any time interval (and gets acceptance from other partner), where opinions are respected and there is just enough room for some sort of solitary space (where the person does introspection and decide on corrective options…also dreams and desires) … all these are function of space and time… but in what quantities, depends on dynamics of the relationship in question…

Connecting the dots…for all the above to happen, you certainly need to have some uncommon ground…to what degree you can allow the “uncommon – ness” to prevail   decides the fate of relationship…

To sum up, sooner or later, you would need to accept ideas and things which you may not like/are completely opposite to your thought process…It is indeed difficult to do something we haven’t done before…and ego and ambitions, just make this whole thing a lot more complicated… voila! we have a recipe for disaster!!!

I have a simple (yet the most difficult) solution to all this, albeit not universal or applicable to one-and-all….but yes, if followed, would certainly make things easier…

Live and Let Live…