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Throw Away Your Checklists...

A good friend called me and complained that the dinner guest who she invited for dinner one night didn't bring anything such as flowers or even dessert. She said to me in astonishment, "Wasn't that rude!" I asked her if this was the same person who she called early one Sunday morning when her heat went out and he came right away. And another time when I happened to be at her house this same person came to fix an electrical problem eventhough she didn't have an appointment. I reminded her of his unselfish treatment and she felt ashamed for complaining.
We all have checklists for the roles people in our lives are suppose to fill. I was at my sister-in-laws house for an anniversary party for my mother and father-in-law. When I arrived early with my 9 month old baby, I gave him to my husband at the time and served everyone drinks. It was a nice party and most of the guests seemed to have a nice time, except for my sister-in-laws. I went in to say my goodbyes and thank you's and I was given frosty replies by them. I had no idea why I was getting the cold shoulder. So, I asked if there was a problem. My two sister-in-laws cornered me in the kitchen and gave me a hard time for not helping to clean the dishes. I told them I served cocktails and picked up empty cups and discarded them. Also, I had a baby to care for. Well, that didn't sit well with them because their checklist for a sister-in-law included washing pots and Tupperware after a party.
We all have checklists for friends, sisters, fathers etc, and we like to check the lists when they behave the way we feel is appropriate. I say throw away your checklists and appreciate the people in your life. Unrealistic expectations of how you didn't get a check beside the sister-in-law or friend list is a huge reason angry disagreements happen with the people we love in our lives.
Helper96 Helper96 46-50, F 3 Responses Sep 17, 2012

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I am so happy to read this. It is as if we can never do enough for some people. instead of being grateful that you do what you can they are upset when you do not perform to THEIR level of expectations. Thank you for sharing this wise view of life

in some countries guests dont bring something when invited it depends on your upbringing

You have missed the point bongo

Excellent suggestion. I think most people don't have a clue how many problems they bring on themselves by clinging to predefined expectations for others...

Yes, but once you recognize that you do keep expectations for others; that is half the battle for becoming less judgmental. It is a habit we develop, mostly unconsciously, from our backround and it serves no purpose. When one realizes that it is only unnecessary "noise" and just a useless habit that causes useless stress and worry, he or she will naturally begin to not obsess and it is so freeing it is like a heavy 'bag of bricks' has fallen off your back and you become free of unecessary worry and emotional pain.