We’ve all had that one person—that one person in our lives that we always find ourselves saying, “If only they would…” Month after month, year after year—we love them, we care about them, we worry for them, but when we turn off the light or hang up the phone, we think to ourselves, “If only they would…”
Or maybe it’s a friend. Maybe you see them fucking up left, right, and center. Drinking too much. Cheating on their partner. Blowing all their money on their odd yet obsessive go-kart hobby. You pull them aside and give them the hands-on-the-shoulders pep talk that friends are supposed to do. Maybe you offer to take a look at their bank statement and maybe even give them a loan or two. Meanwhile, in the back of your head, you keep thinking:
“If only they would get their shit together…”
We’ve all got that person in our lives. Loving them hurts. But losing them hurts. So, we decide, the only way to salvage this emotional clusterfuck is to somehow change them.
“If only they would…”
And my answer, in every situation, was the same: you can’t.
You can’t make somebody change. You can inspire them to change. You can educate them towards change. You can support them in their change.
But you can’t make them change.
That’s because making someone do something, even if it’s for their own good, requires either coercion or manipulation. It requires intervening in their life in a way that is a boundary violation, and it will therefore damage the relationship—in some cases more than it helps.
Check out the rest of the article at Mark Manson