Can People Really Change?

Can People Really Change?

In June, I wrote a blog post about my friend Kim who resolved to change her wanton ways in order to better attract the loving, committed relationship she craves.  Kim has spent most of her thirty-plus years supplementing her life as a brilliant, professionally successful dynamo with moments being a horny, somewhat debauched wild child.  Kim finally realized the romantic patterns in which she has entangled herself keep her from the life she wants.  Now, she’s ready to change.

A few days after posting the blog, I got a comment from a reader who thinks Kim’s desires to evolve are doomed.  According to him, “how a person has lived his or her life is the only indicator we have to predict how they will live the rest of it.”


The letter got me thinking about all the people I know who’ve either changed successfully, or wanted to change but failed miserably.  A gal pal of mine used to be a directionless, pot smoking drunk whose greatest ambition in life was to wake up before noon.  She called me one morning having just snorted a mound of coke with a complete stranger she’d also had sex with.  Exactly the kind of wake up call my friend needed.  Today, she’s a sober, married mom with a good job.  Another friend stayed in the same dead-end career for nearly fifteen years and had barely eked out a social life.  Almost forty, she hadn’t had a romantic relationship since college.  Last year, she got a new job, a new boyfriend and a new lease on life.

Being a person who thrives on change, and who’s apt to stir some up when there isn’t enough coming, I can’t understand people who are afraid of the stuff.  However, I’ve known plenty of people who can’t seem to recognize the bad behaviors that keep them spiraling into endless voids of misery and disappointment.

The worst are those of us who regularly fall for emotionally stunted men.  Guys who drink too much, treat the women who love them like afterthoughts or invest in video game collections rather than relationships.  Friends tell us, “give up, he’ll never change.”  But who wants to believe the person you’re crazy about will always have the same weaknesses that stop him or her from being the partner you need.

Sometimes I guess it’s true certain folks will never change.  But is it always?

What say you?

**Reprinted from Laura K. Warrell's blog Tart&Soul at