If you’ve ever changed someone accidentally or on purpose, you know that it’s very much possible for people to change, sometimes in dramatic ways. If you’ve ever set out to change someone, you know that it’s unlikely to work, and likely to be a huge waste of time.

If the question is “Is it okay to want to change someone?” my answer would be, Of course. We are allowed to want people to be different. If the question is, “Is it prudent to try to change someone?” I would say, Definitely not.

Your life will probably be better, and definitely be more straightforward, if you take people exactly as they are. This is classic dating advice for a reason. It is good practice to note somebody’s flaws as they are revealed to you and presume that each flaw will remain intact until the day the person dies. This is because people are stubborn. If you’ve ever tried to convince a friend to breakup with a bad girlfriend or boyfriend, you know exactly what I mean. Someone can tell you of their own accord they want to make a change, suffer from their equilibrium, and then proceed to not make a change for five years. Or twenty-five years, even.

Unfortunately, some of us suffer from a condition—the condition of wanting to change other people. This is a incurable condition that many of us contract from our parents. It’s not all downside—this is why people become therapists and self-help writers and teachers. Most of my favorite people in the world suffer from it. I often hear this discussed in the language of codependence (hi Ben!) and the two are certainly intertwined, but I don’t think it’s just about that. We all want people to change, even if we don’t need them to—who doesn’t want their loved ones to make better choices? But whether or not it’s healthy often depends on the degree of investment.

Read more on Bookbear Express.

Written by External Article
Everyone is talking about caregiving, but it can still be difficult to find meaningful information and real stories that go deep. We read (and listen to and watch and look at) the best content about caregiving and bring you a curated selection. Have a great story about caregiving? Use our contact form to submit it to us so we can share it with the community!

Related Articles



It was two months after Mum died. I would not meet anyone. I would not answer messages. I would not talk about my feelings. I didn’t want to chat. I...

Elderly and imprisoned

Elderly and imprisoned

"Efforts to reduce the aging prison population are driven not solely by compassion but also by the tremendous cost of incarcerating older people....

Popular categories

After Caregiving
Finding Meaning
Finding Support

Don't see what you're looking for? Search the library

Share your thoughts


Share your thoughts and experiences

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Join our communities

Whenever you want to talk, there’s always someone up in one of our Facebook communities.

These private Facebook groups are a space for support and encouragement — or getting it off your chest.

Join our newsletter

Thoughts on care work from Cori, our director, that hit your inbox each Monday morning (more-or-less).

There are no grand solutions, but there are countless little ways to make our lives better.

Share your insights

Caregivers have wisdom and experience to share. Researchers, product developers, and members of the media are eager to understand the nature of care work and make a difference.

We have a group specifically to connect you so we can bring about change.