>I learned a brutal lesson this morning as I sat in a Starbucks lounge chair. I was meeting over coffee or in my case Hot Chocolate with a great guy that I’ve been mentoring. It had been several months since we had been able to meet and there was a lot to catch up on. As we talked he shared with me some pretty big decisions that he had made and I found myself somewhat offended that he would not have come to me and asked for my input. As he continued to share I realized that he had withdrawn from the mentor relationship because he thought I was too busy for him and yet I had perceived his lack of contact with me as being a lack of follow through on his part. He wanted an older brother relationship that sought after him and I wanted a mentee that knew the ball was in his court and not mine.
This was a break down in communicating expectations. A few lessons I learned:
1. You cannot assume that people know what your expectations are of them in a relationship. People can’t your mind.
2. You cannot assume to know what others expectations are of you in a relationship. You can’t read their mind.
3. Talk openly about expectations early on in the relationship.
4. When in doubt, ask.
5. If someone fails your expectations have a loving and grace filled conversation with them. Resist the urge to withdrawal, isolate and bail on the relationship.