How to master the fine art of lowering expectations.

The best way to impress people is to lower their expectations, then exceed the heck out of them. Most people waste time puffing themselves up in advance of doing something mediocre. Far better it is to use a different strategy.

Let’s say I’ve decided to take a potential bunk-mate on a fun date of bowling. If I tell her I am awesome and show up with a custom ball, shoes, and a glove, I’m setting her up for disappointment. If I pin-smash my way to whooping her by fifty pins, that’s not going to part her thighs. Also, if she happens to beat me, I might as well go cow tipping, because I’ll get nothing from her. However, if in advance I tell her I suck at bowling and have never bowled anything over 100, any outcome should be good.

This is why I always tell women I have an average-sized ding dong and have a pretty good idea where the clit is. (I do, actually.)

I hone this strategy while promoting my books. I brag about the bad reviews and warn the new friend that she may be offended by my irreverence. That way it sounds like a challenge. I’m careful to not taint her by saying she won’t like my books. I simply say there’s a certain type of woman who enjoys them–she’s exceptionally intelligent, confident, and somewhat dark on the inside, like me.

“Thank you. I’m going to read them tonight. I’m so excited!”

“Don’t get carried away, my dear. I’m not Jane Austen.”

“Oh, I know. I just couldn’t make it through the original Fifty Shades. The girl was weak and the man was unrealistic and abusive. Plus, the writing was awful.”

“My books feature butt plugs.”

“I see.”

“So, don’t get too excited. Like with all of my books, these are primarily designed to be potty reading. This way, if something stinks, it may not be my book.”

“I’m going to read them in bed.”

“If you insist. Can I recommend you smoke a deep bowl and play Earth, Wind, & Fire while you read?”

“I’ll email you my thoughts tomorrow.”

“Be gentle with my fragile ego.”

Other times you should lower expectations include:

  • Blood-pressure exams
  • While working with a personal trainer
  • Serving dinner to a group
  • Cracking open the bottle you can’t recall buying that has the price tag scratched off
  • Giving a foot massage
  • Playing Words with Friends
  • Handing over a Christmas gift (This includes Christmas cards, with which the envelope should read, “Warning: There’s no money inside. Please recycle.”)
  • Taking someone to your favorite restaurant
  • Driving
  • On your dating profile (underestimate height and income; overestimate weight and hair loss)

Follow these guidelines and you’ll be slightly (note my lowering of your expectations right there) amazed by how often people are somewhat (again) impressed by you.

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About the author

Author of humorous essays about relationships and lifestyles.
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