#goodvibesonly #goodwordsonly #no_negativity
These are many of my daily expectations in my own workday.
We all have them.
And, if we’re being truthful, they aren’t all positive.
Some of us are taught to think of worst case scenarios and “expect the worst… but hope for the best.” This thinking will give you the worst far more often than it will give you the best. This in itself is powerful science.
Great expectations for life bring greater outcomes!
What is even more fascinating is that the words we use and the ways that we communicate influence our expectations of others which influences how they behave, too!
If you exceed people’s expectations of positive communication, you’ll pleasantly lift them higher, creating more light in their lives.
If someone violates your expectations in a negative way- which happens all the time on social media as people comment on your posts, etc.- you may feel caught off guard.
When we lose our equilibrium and “don’t know what to expect”in communication, suddenly we open our lives to a lot of clutter. In the void of expectations, we might withdraw from communicating, isolate ourselves more in certain ways or even reinforce really negative expectations.
To clear this clutter and confusion and create a positive influence on the world, it’s time to start expecting the best of everyone and communicating with that as the North Star of life.
Today we’re going to look at the science behind our expectations in communication, and, in the process, find ways to expect the best from people and have a more positive influence in your social sphere every day!
My sister Nicole studied Social Cognition with some of the leaders in the field and sent me some brilliant research that helps illuminate this idea of the power of expectations in communication.
Here is the Expectations Violation Theory:
In a nutshell, we expect certain types of communication and people who break from the norms (in good or bad ways) violate our expectations and shape our perceptions of them (in good or bad ways). Once we have formed these expectations, we start believing in these outcomes and creating more of them.
If you start dating someone who loves to call and talk to you, this could positively violate your expectations because so many people text these days and you like to talk on the phone. You’ll have a more positive perception of them, and you’ll expect more good things from them and communicate in ways that influence those good outcomes.
If you start working with someone who doesn’t return emails or respond to phone calls and you have a standard of efficiency, this can negatively violate your expectations and create an unfavorable perception of the work relationship. With this negative perception, your communication and attitude will adjust to reflect that you expect a negative outcome and the work relationship will sour.
Judee.K.Burgoon, professor of Communication, Family Studies and Human Development at the University of Arizona developed the notion of the Expectancy Violations Theory. This is a theory that maintains the idea that, when communicating, people expect or strive to predict a particular behavior during the interaction and communication. The Expectancy Violation Theory shows how perception and the expectancy of others reactions can determine how you perceive their reaction to what you say. When this is violated (and someone communicates in an unexpected way) these expectations can be perceived positively or negatively.
In essence, a lot of what we expect as communication depends on our likes and dislikes and our comfort zones and personal boundaries.
The theory shows that expectancy influences the outcome of the communication interaction as either positive or negative. It also predicts that positive violations increase the attraction of the violator (when someone sends you an unexpected thank you card in the mail or some flowers or something else unexpected and super-nice) and negative violations (fill in the blanks with the ways people have communicated in unwanted ways) decrease the attraction of the violator. (more HERE)
A study was conducted on Bonobos(pygmay chimpanzee) to see how they would react when their social expectations were violated in their home environment.
Bonobos were observed and the behavior of aggression, either mild or severe, were operationalized and made standard for experimental purposes. The expectation variable for aggression was “based on standardization of competition for a resource neither animal possessed, play-related aggression or unexpected random unprovoked aggression, forced removal of the victim’s possession.”
As reported by the APA: “These results suggest that bonobos not only possess social expectations, but that they use distinct vocal signals to publicly broadcast when these social expectations are violated.”
Chimpanzees also expect certain types of communication and they get upset (and vocal!) when they’ve had their expectations dashed.
Communication is not just the words you use but the entirety of what you say and how you behave.
- Be weary of exaggerating details, pointing an absolute finger at people and making alarming threats. These actions all will escalate the defensive tone of a conversation.
- Increase your empathy. Try to understand the vantage point of the other person you are speaking with and how they feel before you speak to them. You can have more positive expectations of outcomes when you’re living with more empathy.
- A conversation is a dialogue with two people in communication. Actually listen. Listening will help you respond according to how the other person feels and will enhance your communication.ip.
Our expectations of communication on Social Media are profound.
I’ve always had great respect and awesome appreciation for my readers, so I’ve never had truly “scary” perceptions of how people will react or communicate. I’ve always expected the best. In my online Camps, the groups are insanely magical- the best groups by all feedback I’ve heard- that most online course affectionatos have ever experienced. I just expect the most open hearted and supportive and earnest people, and year after year, they come and open up, as the group expects that of all its members, too.
It’s a beautiful Utopia of Social Media and community. Not all of the Internet is yet that Utopian, but if we all expect better, we’ll get there.
Even the act of un-friending someone on Facebook is perceived as highly negative and violates the expectancy of the friend. The person who is un-friended will determine how major the violation is depending on the length of their Facebook friendship.
People’s expectancies are violated on Social Media in many ways:
- Stalking or trolling people. The violation of expectancy gets higher if you tell the person you have been looking at their page. This creates a very creepy dynamic.
- Others tagging and posting photos of us, without our control can violate our expectations. I once had someone in my life, albeit briefly, who tagged me incessantly (daily, all day) in highly controversial social media posts as though to make his opinions reflect as my opinions. It crossed too many lines and created very negative expectations for me about him. After caring conversations, sincere requests and expressing a desire to keep my space light and positive were all ignored, I had to shut that whole situation down and block him. There is nothing wrong with blocking people or de-friending them if they can’t respect your space… and the Internet is an actual space.
- People who post personal, private jokes and information about you on your Facebook wall are all violators of expectations in a negative way. You aren’t oversensitive— social norms are being violated. All of this creates that clutter of static in your life that can be cleared with definitive actions to maintain your space (and your privacy settings!!) in ways that illuminate everyone and reflect your best self. (more on this HERE)
So, when you take charge of your communication and see just how much you are creating and influencing the world around you, you can have a far more positive influence, surpassing people’s expectations in a positive way.
- Drop a gift by a dear friend’s door or send an actual thank you card in the mail after an interview. All are surpassing expectations in positive ways.
- Communicate online in positive ways, expecting the best from your personal community, letting go of anyone who violates your space with negativity or avarice. I believe we all need to be self-expressed, but there’s no value in letting hate or negativity fester in your space as it builds super-negative expectations in your life.
- Detox your life of the people who have failed to have empathy, have failed to respect boundaries or otherwise communicate in ways that drain the life out of your life. Spend your energy and good words lifting the people who are eager to share in the goodness!
And… always expect the best! You’ll get so much more of it!
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