set the bar (high/low)

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set the bar (high/low)

To establish an expected, required, or desired standard of quality. (Often said of a standard that is constrictive in being either too low or too high). A: "At this point, I'm willing to go out with just about any guy, so long as he isn't living in his parents' basement." B: "Don't you think you're setting the bar a little low?" While you shouldn't take just any job you can get after college, be sure not to set the bar too high for an entry level job, or you may have trouble landing one at all. I hear that the new restaurant around the corner really sets the bar for exquisite seafood.
See also: bar, set
References in periodicals archive ?
More than 80 per cent of the earnings preannouncements this season were negative, according to Thomson Reuters data, setting the bar lower than is usually the case towards the start of earnings season.
We will make a critical mistake if we are saying to our kids we are setting the bar lower just because you will feel better," he said.
It's also important not be overly confident because by setting the bar lower, you will be able to strive for a better outcome, even if it is not the best possible outcome.
A less discussed but nonetheless very important impact of his decision is the fact that teens are now being held to expectations that are setting the bar lower than ever before.