tl;dr - expect less or explain in detail your expectations for success and less frustrations.
"It's so f**king frustrating! You do all these things and then they go and just f**k it up!"
Obviously, my friend was frustrated to say the least; I have a knack for guessing these things, you know.
"I mean, they don't do what their supposed to do! They not only disappoint me, but they disappoint themselves! Failures!"
Familiar feeling isn't it?
We're all fairly intelligent beings and we know what we should generally do to get ahead in work or life. We know the end game or goal and we have a rough idea how to achieve it in some sense. So when things go wrong, we're able to adapt because we still have that destination (or 'deliverable' in corporate speak) in mind.
But what if we're dependent on others to help us achieve that goal? What if we require colleagues or subordinates to help us fulfil that milestone? What if we need our partners to do certain things in a certain way to bring about and maintain happiness?
That's fantastic! Because you get to achieve something together, relationships (romantic or teams) get stronger and everyone feels more empowered within themselves and others, right?
But what if it fails? What makes it fail? Lack of effort? Lack of understanding? Stubbornness? Apathy? Sure, all those things can come into play, but I think the main thing that leads to failure in anything are expectations.
We may expect others to write that report for an executive level audience, double spaced, duplex printed and in full colour with only one image per page. We may expect our partners to take us out on date night every fortnight and dress up for the occasion. We may expect others to stack the dishwasher a certain way and yet again, they fail to do so.
So we get disappointed when they don't do what we expect. We get angry. We get sad. We experience failure and regret.
Now, it's great to have a general overall expectation for something be it the end of a project or a loving relationship, but the more detail or steps we have in our expectations, the higher chance that we'll get disappointed particularly if we don't inform those of whom we expect things exactly what and how we want things. If we don't, no matter if the end result is achieved, you'll always have that niggling feeling that things wasn't done right. Instead of celebrating, you end up picking it apart.
So, if you're going to expect something from someone, do yourself and them a favour and either explain in detail your expectations, or tell them what you ultimately want and expect less.
I do both, and I find I'm pleasantly surprised and less frustrated every time.
Note: expectations are different to an actual plan, because that lays out a clear direction and strategy. Don't get confused between the two.