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How to deal with inconsistent behaviour

| Updated on November 03, 2013

Some people have the need to control their interactions, leaving the other person bewildered.

Two people I am quite friendly with are very inconsistent in the way they are with me. Sometimes they are very friendly and sometimes they just look through me. It makes me confused and quite angry. Please help me understand this strange behaviour.

Nirupama Dwivedi answers: Consistency in behaviour, I would imagine, is one of the first steps towards trust and loyalty in friendships.

There are lots of people who seem to feel a sense of power or rather have the need to control their interactions, leaving the other person bewildered.

It has to be said though that many a time people are unaware of how they are coming across as they are preoccupied with their own issues. In other words, sometimes it can be intentional and sometimes not.

With your friends, however, it seems clear that they have been inconsistent towards you enough times for you to see a pattern in their behaviour. Naturally it leaves you confused.

My thoughts are that it’s best not to think of your-self as their target; instead it probably stems from their sense of inadequacy as it reflects that they seem unsure of themselves. Like I said earlier, it may be nothing to do with you and it may be more about them and their personal worries.

One way would be to speak to them about it. May be you could say, ‘I met you the other day and said hi, but you did not respond...are you okay?’

Another way would be to give them the opportunity of making the first move, rather that you going up to them or greeting them first. If this happens a few times, I am sure that they will get the message. I would recommend you did this first.

You could give them a few opportunities to make the first move and if not initiated, it would be best to distance from them. The last thing you want is to be kept guessing as playing games certainly does not lead to lasting friendships.

(Nirupama is a clinical psychologist, who is interested in working with adjustment issues of young adults.)

Published on November 03, 2013

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