“I think you set your expectations a little high.”

You went to the movies with a friend to see a new comedy that came out. After the movie, your friend says she was disappointed. You agree that there were some problems with the movie, but you didn't really expect it to be very good going in. You enjoyed it, so you tell your friend this.

I think you set your expectations a little high.

Join PhraseMix Premium or sign in to listen to this lesson and 2,273 others!

set (one's) expectations

Your "expectations" are your ideas about how good or bad something is supposed to be. We use the phrase "set one's expectations" to describe choosing or deciding what your expectations will be:

If you set your expectations low, you won't be disappointed.

You can also use the phrase "set expectations" to describe communicating your expectations to other people, like your employees or your children:

I've always tried to set high expectations for my children and encourage them to pursue their dreams.

As a manager, you're the one responsible for setting your staff's expectations.

(high/low) expectations

When you expect that something is going to be good, you "have high expectations". When you think that something will be bad, you "have low expectations".

You also use the phrase "raise (one's) expectations" to describe making your expectations higher than before. "Lower (one's) expectations" has the opposite meaning.

a little (adjective)

When you describe something as "a little ___", it actually means "a little too much". For example, if a woman is trying to decide whether to go out with an old man, she can say:

He's a little old.

This means "He's a little too old for me to date."