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Life Lesson: People Don’t Change

I recently listened to a friend give a post-mortem on ending a business relationship he’d worked on developing for quite some time.

As we were talking, we got into observing some life lessons. One lesson that has held disproportionate weight in my life is: people don’t change. Put a different way, it’s unlikely someone will change and even less likely you can influence that change to happen. Someone may quit smoking, but changes based on personality seem pretty cemented.

It’s possible that people change temporarily: perhaps after a big fight someone changes for a bit, or changes in a way that is compromise-able, but if you are unwilling to meet someone else halfway, it’s bound to end badly. This has been a tough business lesson for me as I tend to be extremely loyal and put a ton of effort into ‘fixing’ relationships of all sorts — I like to be liked, I tend to avoid confrontation and generally like to make things work.

That said, whenever I have compromised my own beliefs, or convinced myself that just ‘giving someone time’ would result in the change I was looking for, I’ve been wrong.

So what’s my takeaway? I don’t know; I guess I need to trust my gut more often and be willing to make hard calls earlier, whether in hiring, dating or friendship.


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  • Lysee11

    So, have you changed? More or less: empathetic, forgiving, focused, content, centered, etc., than you were 10 years ago? Maybe some people can change. It often takes a climb over a wall of ego, hurt pride, self-realization….

  • Boaz Vardi

    hI Sam
    i egree with you that you can’t change peaple and that trying just makes you misarble