Emotional Wellbeing



Mandy Kloppers

How to spot a fickle-minded person

It is not hard to spot a fickle-minded person. They are the ones that continually change their minds. A fickle minded person never commits and they like to keep their options open. Their decision making skills are lacking and they can be infuriating to those around them. If you want an answer or a commitment, he fickle minded person will frustrate you.

Why are some people fickle-minded?

This is a tough question to answer because they can be so many reasons why someone is fickle-minded. They could genuinely be confused and not know what they want. On the other hand, it’s also possible that they enjoy manipulating others. When deciding intentions of a fickle-minded person, is always a good idea to consider their physical behaviour in context.

What are they like in general? Do they ‘flip-flop’ over many things in their life or is there just one area where they struggle with clarity?

Fickle-minded people often lack a definite sense of self. Their identity is unclear due to a lack of self-awareness and they often don’t know what they want. I have found in my therapy work that people who are unreliable or who switch opinions regularly tend to have low self-esteem and or perfectionistic tendencies. One of the quickest ways to spot a fickle-minded person is by asking them to commit something. They definitely have an allergy to certainty and limiting their options.

Traits of fickle-minded people

Fickle-minded people are not necessarily bad people. Some clients that I have worked with have been fickle due to chronic anxiety. Their anxiety would leave them to catastrophize and one stay began to imagine the worst-case scenario they would withdraw and procrastinate. Individuals with high anxiety are also known to procrastinate due to being indecisive and not wanting to make the wrong decision.

Fear of failure might also be a cause for someone to appear fickle. Perfectionists struggle with the concept of failure and see themselves as failures if they are not consistently successful. The high pressure that perfectionists place upon themselves can lead to a fickle-minded attitude. This is because they want to get things right and if there is any possibility of failure they will avoid committing to a project, event or activity.

So there are genuine reasons for some people being fickle-minded but there are also more sinister reasons behind fickle-mindedness.

Some individuals could be labelled “maximizers”. Maximizers are never quite happy with what they have. Have they tend to live by the motto ” the grass is always greener on the other side”. Unfortunately, we live in an age where there is too much choice. Don’t get me wrong, having choices is great but when there is too much choice it can lead to anxiety and the fear of missing out.

The paradox of choice

Think about this example:

If you live in a small town and you going to the local store and buy the best bottle of red wine out of the 12 bottles they offer, you will feel quite happy with your purchase. Now imagine that you live in a big city and you go along to the local wine warehouse and you purchase that same bottle of red wine, you might feel hard done by.

You may wonder whether you got good value for money or whether there are better choices. Instead of only having 12 red wines to choose from you now perhaps have hundreds to choose from and this makes your decision a lot harder. Maximizers are never happy with their chosen item, whether that’s an object or a person.

There were two types of people according to the author Barry Schwartz (who wrote the book ” The paradox of choice”). Satisficers and maximizers. A satisficer will decide that they need a blue jersey that has a v-neck. When they find the blue jersey that has a v-neck they will be pleased that they have found what they were looking for and that will be the end of it.

A maximiser on the other hand will find the blue jersey with the V-neck and then tell themselves that maybe, just maybe, there is an even better blue V-neck Jersey outfit. They will either by the New Jersey and not feel quite satisfied or they will be fickle and continue to look. The problem with being a maximiser is that they never quite feel satisfied and continue to search for the impossible perfection that does not exist.

If you want to spot a fickle-minded person, figure out early on whether they are a satisficer or a maximiser and this will give you a hint as to what you are dealing with. Satisficers also tend to be more easygoing people compared to maximizers.

Online dating and fickle-minded people

Another area where fickle-minded people abound is the online dating world. This follows on from what I have previously mentioned – maximizers will fool themselves into believing that their perfect “soul mate” is out there. Are you might be their perfect match but due to the way they see the world, no matter what you do it will never quite be good enough. This is more about their attitude rather than you not being good enough so never personalise their rejection.

Ultimately you will go on to have a happy relationship and they will probably end up miserable and alone because no one will ever measure up to their unrealistic standards.

When you spot a fickle-minded person on a dating site, give them a wide berth. They might trigger your need to impress and people-please but they will exhaust you in the long run.

Instead spend time with someone who cherishes you and values your time. Please keep in mind, and that some fickle-minded individuals will just be frightened of getting hurt. However, the difference is that they will be genuine, authentic, and show empathy towards you.

So fickle-minded people aren’t necessarily individuals that you should always avoid. Trust your instincts and follow your gut. If they show a genuine interest in you and don’t repeatedly disappoint you or let you down, you may be on to a winner.

To find out more, or you could ask about decisions they have made in the past. Have they made decisions with conviction and stuck by them? Notice whether they time to have a stable life or whether they seem to change their mind constantly and appear lost all directionless. Always remember that being fickle has nothing to do with you and it has everything to do with their thinking and how they appraise the world. Patience is required and a little ‘digging’ to find out a bit more about their character.

I believe that being fickle is something that we will see more of in the future because there is too much choice, online dating has objectified people and people don’t like making wrong decisions. If you spot a fickle-minded person, make a note of that and get to know them a little better before you decide what to do next.

Being fickle might just be a temporary state that someone is in but it also suggests confusion, uncertainty, and possibly a lack of a good core sense of self.

Mandy X

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