Can You Change Someone? Experts Explain What You Can and Can’t Change About Other People
Change is difficult. In this episode of The Verywell Mind podcast, experts explain what changes you can and cannot effect with people around you.
Before anyone can successfully modify their core personality traits or behaviors, they must first address their root causes.
What is change?
Change is the result of transition from one state or condition to the next, which may be either positive or negative for an individual’s sense of identity and feelings. Transition often causes dysphoric emotional experiences as well as disruptions.
Though some character traits may be easier to alter than others, core personality traits tend to remain stable over time. Furthermore, change is ultimately determined by each individual and requires motivation in order to bring about lasting transformations.
Can you change someone’s personality?
Researchers used to believe that personality was predetermined by genes and therefore out of our control. But recent research indicates otherwise; specifically that it may be possible to alter certain aspects of someone’s personality – including extroversion, openness to experience, emotional stability traits and coping behaviors and beliefs which help people deal with difficult situations; for instance if someone tends to lie or cheat they could potentially alter these behaviors by addressing the causes for these actions.
Personality continues to change in adulthood, though core traits usually remain constant unless there’s been significant brain disease or trauma. Instead, changes often happen on a more subtle scale; for instance, introverted people don’t usually become extroverts overnight but might become more social by seeking important relationships.
Some people desire to alter their traits because they’re unhappy with them; others simply wish for change for its own sake. Either way, altering one’s traits takes hard work and persistence if desired; for instance if one desires to become more outgoing they must force themselves into social situations regularly until your thoughts and strivings begin reflecting the desired trait; in order to become more inquisitive it will require repeat interactions with others until you begin more regularly asking questions or exploring your surroundings. It is also important to keep in mind that certain characteristics, like curiosity or an inability to express emotion can be found inherent within oneself’s biology rather than forcing yourself outward.
Can you change someone’s attitude?
There are certain things you cannot change, like the past and human nature. However, you can influence someone’s attitude by creating a space for them to make positive choices on their own – rather than giving an ultimatum that may come off as trying too hard and could turn someone off in the long run. Most people won’t commit to lasting changes when forced upon them.
Instead, attempt to shift focus onto what behavior needs changing and encourage them to discuss it with you. Express how their current attitude is impacting them negatively and how you believe they could make different choices. Attitude change tends to happen slowly and deliberately through meaningful dialogue about competing viewpoints – an excellent opportunity to help someone overcome struggles they cannot control. Attitude can also be affected by how others treat them; when treated as intelligent peers by those around them they will likely respond similarly.
Can you change someone’s behavior?
People can change their behavior, but first must decide to do so. Without the willingness to address emotional triggers that lead to harmful actions such as lying or cheating, stopping such behavior will prove extremely challenging.
Doing everything possible to change someone’s behavior may be futile; therefore, try identifying which behaviors need changing and discussing how doing so would benefit them – this way they will agree that change will be positive and make their own conscious decision to implement it while you support their change process – this gives you the highest chances of seeing behavior change take place.