“You can’t get blood out of a stone.” No, no you can’t. But, what I think is the most relevant point to the successful day to day operation of our lives is that you are going to get incredibly frustrated and disappointed trying to do so. One of the most useful messages you can get from this idiom is to remind yourself to consciously and constructively manage your expectations. Managing your expectations is probably one of the most crucial principles and skill to learn in creating satisfying and fulfilling relationships in every aspect of your life.
If you are contemplating asking something of someone, first consider your audience, who they are and your history with them. Do this prior to making a request. What are their innate tendencies? What are they good at? What do they like, and what do they detest? What comes naturally to them, and what do they tend to struggle with? Look for their strong suits, and match your particular needs and requests to their particular talents and abilities. Think about what’s in their wheelhouse, not just about what you need. They may or may not be the best person to give you what you desire.
Even if they’d like to help, heart felt intentions don’t always correlate with practical abilities. Just because someone wants to pitch in and be of assistance, doesn’t always mean they have the capacity to do so. Most people are genuine in their desire and intention to help out when they can, but when they accept a request that is an inherent personal challenge, both parties often end up feeling disappointed.
I recently asked a friend of mine for some advice in a field in which he is an expert. The astounding part was his immediate and in-depth response. I hold this friend in high regard, but he isn’t always the best at responding in a timely manner or following through on requests – I typically end up seeking alternative counsel.
However in this instance, I was swept off my feet and the “aha” light bulb went blindingly bright. This particular request sought something from him that was clearly in his skill set. It was an area where it was easy for him to help and he felt confident in performing. So, manage your expectations by managing your requests. Think about who you are asking and what are you asking for. Ask yourself it it’s a fit, and set them and yourself up for success and fulfillment.