Setting Clear Expectations!

Setting Clear Expectations!

Today I want to talk about setting clear expectations.

I learned a long time ago that when I make plans with people, it’s best to set not only the date of the meeting, but the beginning and ending time as well.

I live in the foothills and many times need to hop on the freeway to meet friends, which is usually not a problem because it’s a relatively short drive to the next town.

However, I now use the phrase “weather permitting” as a caveat, when I set up a coffee or lunch event, because sometimes I don’t feel safe on the freeway if it’s pouring rain, snowing or icy.

We’ve been known to experience more extreme weather than others who live in nearby towns.

On one rare occasion, we had a terrible heat wave, the news reporters said to stay home if you can as restaurants were closing due to the extreme heat. I think it was 108 degrees.

The day of the heat wave, we planned to meet friends.

The plans were in the works for a couple of weeks. However, we texted the friends asking if we could postpone to the following weekend because of the heat.

They declined and told us they already had plans, so we canceled and the friends didn’t take it well. In our defense, we committed to these plans with no prior knowledge of an impending heatwave.

Lesson learned, I preface upcoming commitments with the words “weather permitting”.

It works both ways! If they don’t feel safe, I don’t expect them to risk their health or their lives because we always have the option of meeting at a later date. No big deal.


Hair Expectations!

Setting Clear Expectations!Years ago, I went to a hair salon to get my hair highlighted, and requested the color “blonde” on five separate occasions.

Each time I went through the process, my hair turned white.

After giving up, I discovered another salon, who finally gave me the blonde I expected.

I still was puzzled as to why the first place got it wrong 5 times.

Years later, I went back for a cut at the old salon and told them the story of why I don’t schedule colors with my cuts.

I told her the story and she said, “Did you ask for blonde?” I said yes.

She told me that white blonde is the blonde people prefer, and if I wanted yellow blonde, I needed to specify that.

OMG, I had no idea.

I took a chance and this time I asked for yellow blonde and guess what? It came out as I requested.


Party Expectations!

Setting Clear Expectations!Now, let’s talk about Halloween parties!

After hosting several Halloween parties with pumpkin carving, we assumed guests would know to bring gutted pumpkins, but we forgot to mention it.

As a result, some guests gutted pumpkins into our sink.

Learning from that experience, we now set a clear boundary by including the requirement of gutting pumpkins beforehand.  

Only carving at our home, no gutting!

For gatherings since, we’ve also specified to not wear scented products, because many guests suffer from allergies and asthma.


Boundaries are Crucial!

A friend of mine hosts a book club. Before she started it, she set rules that included no drama, no therapy, no gossip and whatever is discussed, stays in the room.

My dad had a very clear boundary for his early morning run. If others wanted to join him, they were told to show on time or he’d leave.

Great lesson!  I was always on time!

To hear more dad lessons check out Focus Your Time Podcast #27 “Lessons Learned from my Father“.

You can’t expect people to know what you want if you don’t set expectations.

Communicating boundaries and setting expectations in advance is crucial.


In the book “Let It Be Easy: Simple Ways to Stop Stressing & Start Living” the author states that “being clear is worth the extra effort, because people matter. It shows respect, too”.

She also says “Any time you neglect to share expectations with a friend, a partner, a child, or a team member, issues occur through a lack of clarity”.

George Bernard Shaw said, “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

Being detailed and clear, by setting clear expectations, helps to avoid frustration, so don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.

The moral of the story is that people are not mind readers so it’s best to be clear and precise!

It’s a great example of how to set healthy boundaries!

Need help setting boundaries? Check out the Beyond Boundaries Blueprint!

If you want coaching, please schedule a discovery call below!

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