Throughout life, I have been repeatedly disappointed whenever close relationships have faded away because someone moved or there was a change in life circumstances, such as a new job, new boyfriend, or new baby. I have also routinely been disheartened when people have not done the right thing, or they seem incapable of looking at a situation from another person’s perspective. Yet, the fact is that most people have a hard time juggling multiple relationships, and the “out of sight, out of mind” syndrome seems to be quite prevalent in our society. Having the capacity to view a problem from various angles and to value different perspectives is not a common trait. Over time, these qualities have proven to be a blessing, and also a curse for me.

This year, when I found my father and extended family, I had no expectations as to how anyone would react. Precisely because I did not have any expectations in what would transpire, I could only be pleasantly surprised if even one person showed an ounce of kindness. The glorious homecoming was not only made possible because the people I found were so warm and friendly, but also because the bar was set so low in my own mind as to how they would react. This amazingly rare set of circumstances is what enabled the “Gang of Eight” to become part of a very rare group of people that have ever managed to exceed my expectations.

With any relationship, it is normal as time wears on, to have expectations build. And this is why, it is also quite normal that we will eventually disappoint one another. It is impossible to always say or do exactly what another one wants us to say or do. We all have our bad days or our narcisstic moments, and that is why when times get tough it is the best test to whether a relationship is solid or not. We can all get along when we are on our best behavior, but what about when we are not? Times of conflict are not just the best times for us to test the strength of a bond, but also a time for us to look inward and maybe reassess the expectations we have for our work colleagues, family and friends. Often, the problem is not just one-sided, and the best solution may be for us to readjust our thinking and reset our expectations. It may not be easy to do this, but if the choice is to readapt or live a lonely existence, I for one am opting for the former.