Getting from others what we expect

large_100853718The expectations of experimenters and teachers, although usually reasonably accurate, occasionally act as self-fulfilling prophecies. 

The question is: How widespread are self-fulfilling prophecies? Do we get from other what we expect? 

Studies show that our perceptions of others are more accurate than biased (Jussim, 2012). 

Self-fulfilling prophecies  have “less than extraordinary power”. Sometimes, they operate in work settings (with managers who have high or low expectations) in courtrooms or in police contexts. 

But do self-fulfilling prophecies color our personal relationships?

Let me put in a different way. If your first impression of someone was bad, what happens next? All the social contexts and experiences that you’ll have, you will try to confirm that in a way or another, that “you were right” in that regard, to that extent that you don’t even ask yourself about the accuracy of the result, you’ll care only about “being right”. This is what is called – self-fulfilling prophecies. 

We all fall in this trap, either we are researchers, tutors, researchers or simply social human beings who have expectations and judgments about the people around them. 

large_2973097898What about intimate relationships?

Do they prosper when partners are idealizing each other, are they positive illusions or just self-defeating by creating positive expectations that can’t be met?

Yes, there are a few positive aspects of idealization in intimate relationships:

  • helps in buffering conflict
  • bolsters satisfaction
  • turns self-perceived frogs into prince/princess. When someone loves and admires us, it helps us to become more of the person she/he imagines about us. 

Idealization and conflict resolution

In those couples, where one of the partners thinks that the partner doesn’t love or appreciate them, tend to interpret slight hurts in rejections which will motivate them to to devalue the partner and distance themselves. 

Those who presume that their partner loves and accepts them, they respond less defensively, read less into stressful events and treat their partner better.

The foundation of these expectations is our beliefs system sometimes.

If we believe that we are socially liked, we push more ourselves in social contexts to confirm our beliefs and we look for more and more evidences to reinforce these life rules.

When we believe that we are socially inadequate, we tend to isolate ourselves and to create negative statements which will build up the wall between ourselves and the social world and will make it harder and harder to break.

1 million £ key questions to discover if your life rules are correctly interpreted:

1. Where is the evidence of this statement?

2. Where else?

3. Which belief would serve me better?

4. Look for evidence/confirmations


The people’s expectations influence our behaviours, our beliefs and life rules in positive ways, helping us to achieve more, to behave better and to become the people we are imagined to be, or in negative ways, making us to withdraw, to limit ourselves and stop self-discovery.

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