Ever wonder why some people seem to change their minds more often than they change their socks?
One day they’re all about joining a gym and the next they’re convinced that a home workout routine is the way to go.
Or maybe they’re adamant about dining out tonight but, before you know it, they’re calling for a cozy night in.
This tendency to frequently change opinions, decisions or commitments is called fickleness.
It can be tricky dealing with a fickle friend, family member or coworker. Sometimes it’s hard to plan anything because you’re never sure if they’ll stick to the original plan or not.
But have you ever stopped to wonder why they are like this? Is it just a bad habit or is there something more to it?
In this article, we’ll discuss ten reasons why some people are fickle. Whether you’re dealing with a fickle person in your life or you identify as one yourself, this article has got you covered.
What Does It Mean to be Fickle?
Being fickle refers to the tendency to frequently change one’s mind, opinions, or loyalties. It’s characterized by a lack of consistency or stability in decisions, preferences, or affections.
For instance, if you decide to follow a vegetarian diet one week, then switch back to eating meat the next, only to declare yourself vegan the following week, that’s an example of fickleness.
Yet, it’s not just about the change itself. It’s about the speed and frequency of these changes. Everyone changes their mind sometimes – that’s completely normal.
But when these changes become frequent and unpredictable, when decisions and preferences shift like the wind, then it’s considered fickleness.
It’s important to note that fickleness isn’t inherently bad or good. It can be both, depending on the context and the outcomes of these frequent changes.
10 Reasons Why Some People Are So Fickle
1. Influence of Emotions
Our emotions are powerful, and they can be persuasive. They can easily sway our judgment and bias our decisions, often to the point of fickleness.
Now, imagine you’re on an emotional roller coaster ride. You’re high on joy one moment and plunging into sorrow the next.
It’s not surprising that such a person’s choices might swing from one extreme to another. Hence, the fickleness.
For some, this emotional volatility is a part of everyday life. Their decisions change as their emotions do, leading to inconsistency.
Emotions also have a strong connection with our memory. The things we remember most are usually linked with powerful emotions.
So, for people with heightened emotional states, memory might associate different emotions with different decisions, contributing to their fickleness.
For example, a person who was happy when making a decision might remember it positively, but when they’re in a bad mood, they might start to question or even reverse that decision.
2. Insecure Attachment Styles
Early experiences with caregivers can shape our attachment styles, which in turn affect our relationships and decision-making patterns later in life.
Insecure attachment refers to a spectrum that includes anxious and avoidant attachment styles.
Think of the person with an anxious attachment style. They often seek reassurance and validation.
They are prone to second-guessing themselves, worrying about rejection, and seeking constant approval from others.
Such tendencies can make them frequently change their mind, seeking the ‘right’ decision that will earn them acceptance and validation.
Now consider someone with an avoidant attachment style. This person is uncomfortable with too much closeness or commitment, often resulting in decision-making patterns that keep them detached and independent.
This can lead to fickleness as they attempt to maintain a distance or create a sense of independence, changing decisions that might make them feel too reliant on others.
3. Lack of Self-Knowledge
A Greek aphorism goes, “Know thyself”. This piece of wisdom is a cornerstone for consistent decision-making.
Those with a solid understanding of themselves, their values, likes, dislikes, and goals, usually exhibit consistent behavior and are less likely to be fickle.
However, many people struggle to truly understand their own motivations, desires, or even the reasons behind their actions.
This lack of self-knowledge leads to uncertainty when making decisions.
They might be influenced by the latest trends, other people’s opinions, or momentary feelings because they lack a strong sense of self to guide them.
When individuals don’t know their core values and principles, they are like ships without a rudder. They drift with the currents and winds of circumstances, changing direction frequently.
As they continue to explore their identities and discover what is meaningful to them, their choices and preferences often shift, leading to perceptions of fickleness.
4. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
Then there’s FOMO, a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent.
This social anxiety is characterized by a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing.
You’re probably familiar with the feeling, given our hyper-connected world where everyone’s experiences are just a click away.
For those heavily affected by FOMO, decision-making can be an ordeal. They are frequently concerned about making the ‘wrong’ decision and missing out on something better.
Hence, they may flip-flop between choices, trying to keep all options open. Their decisions are provisional, ready to be changed at the hint of a better opportunity.
Imagine a person planning their weekend. They might agree to go hiking, but then change their mind when they hear friends are going to a concert.
Yet, the decision switches again when they find out about a cool art exhibition. This indecisiveness and constant switching are hallmarks of FOMO-driven fickleness.
5. Social Influence
Human beings are social creatures. We have a deep-seated desire to belong, to fit in, to be liked. This influences our choices and can lead to fickleness.
Consider a person who is sensitive to the opinions and behaviors of their social circle.
They might frequently change their decisions to align with the group, even if that means contradicting their previous choice.
Their position on matters could change depending on the dominant view in their social circle, contributing to a perception of inconsistency.
However, it’s important to remember that social influence doesn’t only come from direct interactions.
With the advent of social media, influence is a continuously flowing stream of likes, shares, and comments.
In this environment, decisions can change in the blink of an eye, further promoting fickleness.
6. Inability to Tolerate Discomfort
Comfort zones are, well, comfortable. They are our safe space where we don’t have to face challenging emotions or situations.
But personal growth often requires stepping out of these zones and facing discomfort.
Some individuals find it extremely difficult to tolerate discomfort. They might choose to avoid difficult emotions or situations, leading to a tendency to change decisions when discomfort arises.
For instance, they may back out of commitments that start to seem challenging or switch their stance when faced with opposition.
This inability to tolerate discomfort can extend to mental discomfort as well.
Cognitive dissonance, the mental discomfort experienced when holding two or more contradictory beliefs or values, can make people change their decisions to restore mental harmony.
This discomfort-driven change in choices is another contributor to fickleness.
7. Low Self-Esteem
Low self-esteem often results in self-doubt and a lack of confidence in one’s judgment.
This can lead to chronic indecision and fickleness. When a person does not trust their own judgment, their decisions are often weak and easily influenced by external factors.
Think about how someone with low self-esteem might choose a restaurant. They may suggest an option but then quickly change it if someone else shows hesitation or suggests a different place.
Their decisions hinge on the approval of others, leading to frequent changes and perceived fickleness.
Further, low self-esteem can lead to people-pleasing behavior. To avoid conflict and maintain harmony, people-pleasers are often ready to change their choices.
So, for a person with low self-esteem, fickleness may be a way of trying to keep everyone happy and avoiding potential conflict or criticism.
8. High Sensitivity to External Stimuli
Some people are like sponges, soaking up every bit of their environment. They are highly sensitive to external stimuli, whether it’s a conversation, a news article, or a change in the weather.
This high sensitivity can lead to frequent shifts in mood, perspective, and decisions.
Someone who is profoundly affected by the opinions expressed in a news article might change their stance on a topic based on the article’s arguments.
Later that day, a discussion with a friend might offer a different perspective, leading them to reconsider their position again.
This heightened sensitivity means their decisions and preferences are heavily influenced by their immediate environment.
Since external stimuli are always changing, their decisions keep changing as well. As a result, they might come across as fickle, but it’s primarily due to their sensitivity to the environment.
9. Desire for Novelty
People have an inherent drive for novelty. We are drawn to new experiences, ideas, and perspectives.
This desire for novelty helps us learn, grow, and satisfy our curiosity. However, it can also contribute to fickleness.
People with a strong desire for novelty are always looking for the ‘next big thing’. They are eager to try out new ideas, eager to embark on new adventures, and eager to meet new people.
As a result, they might frequently change their decisions in pursuit of novelty and new experiences.
Imagine a person choosing a vacation destination. They might initially decide on a beach holiday but then switch to a city tour for the novelty it offers.
Then, hearing about an offbeat trekking adventure, they might change their decision again. This pursuit of novelty can easily be mistaken for fickleness.
10. Personality Disorders
Conditions like Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Antisocial Personality Disorder can lead to inconsistency and changeability in decisions, relationships, self-image, and emotions.
Someone with BPD, for example, might struggle with an unstable self-image and intense and fluctuating emotions.
This instability can translate into fickleness as the person’s decisions shift along with their changing self-perception and emotional state.
Similarly, Antisocial Personality Disorder might manifest as disregard for social norms and the rights of others.
This can result in frequent changes in decisions based on immediate gratification without consideration for long-term consequences, appearing as fickleness.
How Do You Deal With A Fickle Person?
Dealing with a fickle person can be challenging due to the unpredictability of their behavior. One effective strategy is to develop a sense of patience and acceptance.
Understand that fickleness is often driven by deeper issues like insecurity, fear, or a need for validation. Instead of getting frustrated, try to empathize with their struggle.
On a practical level, try to minimize the impact of their fickleness on your plans or decisions.
If you’re aware that someone tends to change their mind frequently, avoid relying on them for critical decisions.
If you must make decisions together, gently encourage them to think things through and consider the consequences before deciding.
And if their fickleness is causing significant problems, it might be worth having a frank conversation about it.
Can Fickleness be a Symptom of a Mental Disorder?
Conditions like Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and certain mood disorders can lead to inconsistency and changeability in decisions, relationships, and emotions.
In BPD, for instance, individuals often struggle with an unstable self-image and fluctuating emotions, leading to frequent changes in decisions and perceived fickleness.
However, it’s crucial to remember that occasional fickleness is a part of human nature and doesn’t necessarily indicate a mental disorder.
A mental health professional should make the diagnosis based on a comprehensive assessment.
Is Fickleness a Bad Thing?
Fickleness is typically seen as a negative trait, primarily because it can lead to instability, unreliability, and unpredictability.
Constantly changing decisions can frustrate those around the fickle person and even harm their credibility and relationships.
Fickleness can also create internal stress and confusion for the people themselves, as they may struggle to make decisions and stick to them.
It’s also important to consider that fickleness might reflect an open-minded nature, a sense of curiosity, or a desire for novelty.
It could be a sign of flexibility and adaptability, though it becomes problematic when it crosses into inconsistency.
So, while excessive fickleness can be challenging, occasional changeability can be seen as part of an evolving personality.
[Read: 7 Signs of a Toxic Person]
How Can One Overcome Fickleness?
Overcoming fickleness often involves developing self-awareness and self-confidence.
Understanding the root causes of your fickleness, such as insecurity, fear of missing out, or need for approval, can be the first step towards addressing it.
This might involve introspection or seeking help from a therapist.
Practicing decision-making can also be beneficial. Start with small, low-stakes decisions and gradually work your way up. Consider the pros and cons, make a decision, and then stick with it.
Over time, this can build your confidence in your decision-making ability.
Mindfulness and meditation can also help by improving your ability to manage emotions and reduce impulsivity.
Remember, it’s a gradual process and it’s okay to seek professional help if you’re finding it challenging to handle on your own.
- All photos from freepik.com