Lessons Learned: Expectations / by Jessica Ballerstein

This topic has been a personal struggle of mine. There have been so many times what I thought or assumed would happen, didn't. Each and every time it didn't, it planted a misguided seed. A seed that would grow and accumulate disappointments, bitterness, and resentment. Which ultimately leads to broken relationships. There have also been occasions someone had high and/or different expectations of me. Unbeknownst to me of those expectations, bred so many miscommunications, tension, and distance which ultimately led to the cessation of friendships.  

 Whenever I think of this issue it takes me back to a few years ago where so many things blew up in my face because of expectations. Particularly high expectations. I was friends with this girl I met at school, let's call her Asia. 

Asia and I became good friends really quick. We would routinely hang out after the school allowing us to know more about each other. At the time, I was dealing with so many depressing situations so I kept allowing the company, no matter how taxing it was. Right from the beginning of our friendship, there were a few things that really bothered me about her. However, I didn't let it come in the way of our friendship cause you know-- nobody is perfect. 


Fast forward to a much better time in my life. I was spiritually, mentally and physically at ease.  Got promoted, moved out of my old apartment, got a dog, so on and so on. I finally felt content with life. Had complete tunnel vision on my needs and started to accomplish some serious goals. After months of not hearing from Asia, I get a phone call that she needed my help. She needed a place to stay for the night because of a serious personal conflict. Due to the gravity of the situation I opened my doors to her. A couple days after she then asked if she can stay a couple weeks. She was homeless, jobless and broken. My roommate and I talked and agreed she can stay for the weeks requested.


During those couple weeks, attempting to help her get back on her feet. I started to put her needs over mine. It started the toll on me and caused a strain in our home. She expected so much more than a place to stay. To the point, I started to feel she was taking advantage of the situation. Where I couldn't say no any of her requests, I couldn't be late, and I couldn't be free in my own home. The tension and resentment was brewing in everyone hearts. It was only a matter of time before someone went bat shit...


Over a minor misunderstanding, she started stating ways I've wronged her. I started saying ways she wronged me. To the point, she decided to leave. As much as I anticipated her departure I really wanted it to be in good terms. We had very different expectations on our friendship and living situations. She wanted someone to meet her needs in every aspect. I just wanted to help provide her with a place to stay.  It turned out to be disappointing for both parties.

The biggest disappointment was the betrayal I felt from a close friend who I'll call Blue. I was friends with Blue a few years before I met Asia. Blue was my homegirl who I considered a genuine friend. We would have deep conversations about life, our trials, and shared personal secrets. I introduced Blue to Asia a couple months prior for a girls night out. The day of the blow-out between Asia and I, Blue and Asia was set to go out to dinner to get know each other. Knowing the type of person Asia was, I texted Blue to give her a heads up about the situation. Also advising her to please not feed into anything, forewarning of the possible gossip later in the evening.

The next morning I texted Asia trying to mend things, instead, I was informed Blue had told Asia verbatim what I texted her. I was speechless, knowing Asia took it the wrong way. I put myself in Asia's place and completely understood her anger. From Asia's point of view, it looked like I was straight up talking shit. When I was, in fact, trying to avoid having more fire put into the situation. A situation could have been resolved. Asia wasn't trying to hear it she was completely blinded by her anger. I was mad at myself for expecting a genuine friendship out of Blue.

However, I shortly realized this situation needed to happen in order to shed some serious light. Seeing everyone's true colors (including myself) pushed me to cut all ties with everyone, including old Jess.

I say including myself because I had to take a step back and see where it went wrong. For one I had my own selfish desires. I wanted to be glorified. I wanted to be Asia's savior. Of course, my heart was there but so was my ego. I would never throw the things in her face, cause I hate when people did it to me. Nonetheless, she was more like a project and helping her would be my reward. Since then I've had alot of growth and learned to do things because I want to. Not for the thank you's, not for the recognition but because it's good to do good and be good.  

Lesson Learned:  Everyone thinks and does things differently. Every person's mindset, motives, and overall character are different. I try to have a neutral approach by not expecting much good or bad. If you do good or bad it'll surprise me either way. We also have to remember we grew up differently. So we handle each situation unique to our own experiences. Now, I'm not claiming to have the answers to all life's problems however one thing I've learned is expecting too much can get you hurt.