If you're a perfectionist, you know first hand that the standards you set for yourself can feel exhausting. But what about the standards you set for others in your life? It's important to step back and consider the ways perfectionism might sabotage your friendships, as well as other relationships, over time. It's all very well to have high standards, but there's a fine line between helpful and hurtful.
Certainly perfectionists can have healthy, awesome relationships and friendships just like anybody else, but when perfectionism is dialed way up, it's possible for it to start leaking into the way you regard others and assess situations. It's important to remember that not everyone holds themselves to the same standards that you hold yourself, and not everyone feels the same intensity or desire to make everything "right." And what definition of the "right way" to do something are we talking about, anyway? It can mean something vastly different to different people.
If you're a perfectionist, it's very likely your friends know you and love you for it. You're likely the leader of the group who consistently has a plan and answers to all of the questions. As a perfectionist, it's also possible you sit a little on the sidelines, figuring out all of the background details, while the rest of your buddies raise the excitement level for your next night out. Either way, perfectionism is probably one of the things your friends recognize in you and do so with affection.
However (as with most things), there's a line where perfectionism can start hurting your friendships. If you're a perfectionist, you may relate to the following list of signs your perfectionism may be sabotaging your friendships:
1. You Expect Too Much From Others
This is a big one. If you're a perfectionist, it's possible you expect others to meet your standards, regardless to how high or specific they are. If your friends are right on your level, this never becomes a problem. However, it's good to keep in mind that even if your friends do generally meet your expectations, they aren't going to do so all of the time — and it's not fair of you to expect them to. People aren't perfect, and no one is going to come through for you 100 percent of the time, even if they're your best friend. It's also very important not to impose your own standards and views onto others, and to appreciate people for who they are, not who you think they should be.
2. You Want Everything To Go As Planned
If you're a perfectionist, it's likely you want everything to go flawlessly. That trip to the movies? Of course you bought tickets (and snacks) ahead of time. Camping trip this summer? No problem — you have an itinerary ready to go. Now, there is nothing wrong with having a schedule or making a plan, but it's also important to remain flexible and be able to role with the proverbial punches. if you're a perfectionist, it's possible your desire to have things go "perfectly" may dampen the experience for your friends, if they feel like they can't voice their opinions or change their minds because it's all about sticking to the plan.
3. You Don't Let Others Take The Lead
I know, I know: Doesn't everything feel easier if you just do it yourself? While a can-do personality is an excellent trait to have, it's good to remember that your friends are your friends for a reason: You value them because they also have excellent traits and habits and are entirely capable of planning a fun night out, organizing a dinner party, or scheduling your next group trip. It's OK to let others flex their leadership muscles and be responsible for things. As a perfectionist, I know it can feel frustrating to not just manage everything yourself, but it's good to make sure your friends feel that they're active participants in your plans, and not, you know, attending a school field trip.
4. You Don't See The Big Picture
If you're a perfectionist, it's likely you're great at the details and working out all the fine print of everything that you do. And likely, your friends love you for it! But if you struggle with looking at the big picture, it's possible this can get tired pretty fast for your friends. Even if things don't go according to plan, it's good to remind yourself to go with the flow and still enjoy yourself. It you're too hung up on the details and don't live in the moment, your friends might feel like you're not as "present" as you could be, and that's a bummer for everyone.
5. You Don't Forgive Your Friends
I know I said this before, but it's a huge one: It's OK to forgive your friends. In fact, it's necessary to forgive your friends. Sure, it's important to have your own standards, and if people aren't meeting them, it's OK to talk to them about that and voice how it makes you feel. However, it's a smart move to step back and reflect on whose standards you're putting onto others: Is this expectation fair to have for everyone in your life, or is it something you can only expect of yourself? When it comes to "little" things like someone running late, forgetting to return a phone call, or inadvertently causing the group to hit rush hour traffic, it's OK to be annoyed, but it's probably not worth it to scold or reprimand your friends for every little thing you think they do wrong.
As a perfectionist, it's normal to want things to be "just right" from the very best place in your head and your heart, but if you add that pressure onto others, it can make friends feel like they're trying to please you instead of being themselves. Remember: Your friends love you for tons of different reasons, and not just because you manage to make everything "perfect" all of the time. It's OK to relax, and let others relax a little, too.