Service of Expectations III

December 27th, 2021

Categories: Communications, Customer Service, Expectations, Fashion, Fashion Accessories, Gifts, Mobile Phones, Pandemic, Sharing, Shoes

I wrote the first two in this series in 2012 (though I suspect there are many posts in which dashed expectations are at the core).

Image by Please Don’t sell My Artwork AS IS from Pixabay 

In one I covered highlights of irritants identified in a customer service survey where rudeness, passing the buck, waiting too long for problem resolution and having to follow-up too often topped the list of complaints and disappointments. In the other I described a person who didn’t send a message that he was kept waiting for his doctor’s appointment for three hours. He refused to own a mobile phone and didn’t ask the receptionist to borrow hers. Friends expecting his visit that afternoon were frantic when he didn’t show and didn’t call–which they expected him to do.

In a recent Social Q’s column in The New York Times, Philip Galanes responded to Ally who asked “Why Doesn’t Anyone Put as Much Effort Into Secret Santa as I Do? A reader feels consistently disappointed by her family’s gift exchange.” In part of his response he wrote: “This is like shopping regularly for heirloom tomatoes at the hardware store. You will never find them there! Try to lower your expectations before the unwrapping begins. Consider the other ways your relatives show they care.”

How many viewers of Face the Nation expect to be able to walk in heels as high as the ones Margaret Brennan wears [photo above]? Here she was this Sunday interviewing Vice President Kamala Harris. Do you think she walks far in them? I was on a set before a client’s TV interview where the host slipped off Uggs boots and put on heels just before cameras rolled.

Some friends respond to emails and texts and expect others to as well–but they don’t or it takes them ages to do so. Others generously share their contacts but that favor is never returned. These situations generate feelings of disrespect.

I see signs in windows for “quick turnaround PCR tests” for Covid and understand that there will be laws to punish those who lie as there must be plenty of them. They promise results in a day when the reality is closer to five.

My advice for happiness: Drop expectations. Agree?

Image by Samuel F. Johanns from Pixabay 

12 Responses to “Service of Expectations III”

  1. ASK Said:

    I don’t drop expectations, but I am disappointed when they are not fulfilled.

    I don’t think Brennan walks very far in those shoes, but I have to say that at a pre-pandemic extravaganza event at my alma mater that featured a very well-known actress, an array of young publicists ran around in dizzyingly high black Louboutin heels…ALL NIGHT! So somebody is wearing them for extended periods of time. Ouch!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I’ve seen young women run down a street in very high heels but not as high as Maureen’s–maybe 3/4 of an inch lower!

    It takes me a shorter amount of time than it used to to come to the conclusion that my frustration or disappointment or hurt–even anger–is due to dashed expectations. And I am forever blindsided. But if I had no expectations to begin with I could avoid all that.

  3. JM Said:

    JM on Facebook: Easier said than done!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    JM for sure. It took 110 years to ID the root of much disappointment and frustration.

  5. Linda Levi Said:

    Linda on Facebook: Agree to lower expectations but even wiser…give cause it gives you pleasure or is the “right thing to do” and expect nothing in return. Then you’re never disappointed!

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Sage advice. However surprising behavior unrelated to giving can surprise in both good and bad ways.

  7. lucrezia Said:

    Life is a crapshoot, so anyone frequently nursing expectations may find him/herself under a cold shower more often than not. There is no such thing as a prescribed reaction to a given event, so to expect otherwise invites disappointment. Learn to anticipate the unexpected, and life becomes an adventure.

  8. Deborah Wright Said:

    I think it is not good to brood on perceived injustices with family and others. The wonderful reminder that we cannot change the past nor predict the future; find things to celebrate now, even if it is something as mundane as as finding a forgotten treasure when you are cleaning out a drawer. I have a friend whose daughter-in-law is very cold to her. This has been going on for over ten years, My friend cannot get over it and can’t understand that nothing will change. Her husband, on the other hand, just shrugs and says if his expectations are low, he doesn’t get disappointed. So, yes, drop the expectation that you will get a thank you note from grown nieces and nephews who never write them! if you are angry about this lack of appreciation, don’t keep giving!

  9. Martha Takayama Said:

    It is probably most comfortable in this very confusing and unpredictable era to have modest and flexible expectations in all areas. It should make for less stress and less disappointment. There is always pleasure in the unexpected positive event or result.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:


    You’re right. And what bothers some doesn’t others. A colleague in one of the offices I worked at irritated 80 percent of the staff but for some reason her behavior didn’t bother me even though we were polar opposites. She would nag her husband to give her all sorts of things they couldn’t afford and whine about it in front of others. One Christmas after he deluged her with a car trunk’s worth of gifts she complained about them and returned them all. I abhor such an attitude but we nevertheless got along.

  11. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Agree. If you must, grumble for a while and then do something about the situation. The friend with the cold daughter-in-law should befriend a younger woman at the office or in the neighborhood and dote on her. Leave cold fish alone. As for the lack of thank you notes, I think the post I published on the subject early on generated the most responses.

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I shrug at myself sometimes when I am jubilant at behavior that should be standard.

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