People change all the time. Whether it’s small changes to someone’s tone of voice or large changes to someone’s personality, humans frequently adapt to their ever-changing environment and thus, change themselves as well. Sometimes, it’s hard to identify if a person is experiencing a characteristic shift or a more permanent transformation. Anyone in any type of relationship will likely experience some ups as well as some downs, which are all critical parts of building a strong bond. And when both sides make compromises and adaptations, arriving at a common understanding with one another, the relationship will arrive at its most optimal state very quickly. Do you know anyone who is undergoing a change? Well, here are 7 signs suggesting that they have changed for the better.
1 — They forgive instead of resenting
Perhaps you and the other person have had many disagreements. Those disagreements may often escalate to something more personal, something that targets the speaker rather than the actual topic at hand. Although best avoided, it’s normal for emotions to take over arguments. What’s important is how each of you deals with the aftermath. A few days after the disagreement, does your friend, significant other, or family member show continuous resentment toward you? Or do they forgive and initiate transparent conversations to resolve the actual conflict? If you see that they are actively letting go of conflicts and forgiving, it would be nice to verbally signify your appreciation. It takes a lot of effort to forgive — a change in both a mindset and perspective.
2 — They practice self-reflection instead of demanding from you
Everyone makes mistakes. Perfection doesn’t exist and people can deal with their mistakes differently. Does the other person blame you for something they’ve done? Do they gaslight you or guilt-trip you for their own mistakes, or do they practice self-reflection? You know that someone has changed for the better when they practice introspection when something has gone wrong. Please note that self-blame and introspection are two different concepts: one focuses on liability while the other focuses on problem resolution. It takes both sides to resolve conflicts and blaming one another may prevent the issue from being solved and instead harm the relationship. Everyone makes mistakes and that is okay. Forgiveness, reflection, and resolution are key to maintaining a good relationship.
3 — They respond differently to the usual cues
When you spend a lot of time with someone, chances are, there would be recurring actions and conversations within the relationship. For example, there may be a sensitive topic for you and your friend that must be addressed. Your friend may not initially respond too positively to the topic, but through time and perspective changes, you may see that they respond differently. Instead of looking down and avoiding eye contact, they look into your eyes and actively listen. Or, they respond in a calmer tone rather than stiffening up to every word. Daily conversations and actions are great indicators of whether or not someone has changed for the better.
4 — They are trying
Change usually doesn’t happen overnight. Human personalities and traits are often the results of many years of specific experiences. Your spouse, family member, co-worker, or friend might not be able to drop their pessimistic attitude quickly, but the fact that they are trying to change is equally important. Tell them you will support them in whatever way you can and offer constant encouragement; this will boost their confidence and strengthen your bonds. If you see that they have been trying for a while and are still struggling through this alone, maybe it’s best to consult a third party. A counselor, therapist, life coach, friend, or family member may help both of you to form the ideal relationship. Please be mindful of who you choose to ask for help from, as the most important players would still be you and the other person.
5 — They accept instead of judging
Picture this: you have a quirky hobby that you have hidden from everyone and one day, you decide to reveal it to your friend. Would they judge you or accept you for it? It’s easy to brush things off as “weird” and want to follow the status quo because that may feel the most comfortable. However, if you see another person accepting you for who you are and coming to terms with differences, then chances are they have developed a mature, understanding mindset. Everyone is unique in their own way, and judging people for their beliefs and actions will not bode well.
6 — You don’t worry anymore
This is especially applicable for romantic relationships, but it can definitely be prevalent in other types of relationships. When your girlfriend leaves the room, saying that she would return after her party with friends, do you feel a drop in your stomach? Or do you simply say “okay babe, I’ll see you in a bit.” and move right along? When someone changes for the better, trust is formed in your relationship, and you’ll find it unnecessary to worry about them. Another situation could be with your friends: do you feel comfortable around them? Are you certain that you can depend on them? Your intuition will answer these questions, which will shed light on whether or not someone has changed for the better.
7 — They are intentional about changing
Does your family member notice a problem in the first place? And if they do, are they intentionally making an alteration to their behavior to avoid negative consequences? Part of personal growth is identifying possible triggers and actively avoiding them. Changing takes trial and error. It’s completely fine if they take a few missteps along the way; what’s important is that they are determined to achieve a final goal, whether it be a switch in mindset or a more positive outlook on things.
Now is a good time to also reflect and see if you practice any of the aforementioned points. Conflict resolution takes effort on both sides. Mutual encouragement, improvements, and reflections will definitely be more effective than doing things one-sided. Take baby steps to help others improve while checking in on yourself; you’ll be sharing a quality relationship with people around you in no time.
Christine Hammond, MS. “How to Know If Someone Has Really Changed.” Psych Central, Psych Central, 4 Mar. 2016, psychcentral.com/pro/exhausted-woman/2016/03/how-to-know-if-someone-has-really-changed#2.
Natalie. “If Someone Has Truly Changed, There’s Growth and a Change in Their Habits.” Baggage Reclaim with Natalie Lue, 11 Sept. 2015, www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/if-someone-has-truly-changed-theres-growth-and-a-change-in-their-habits/.
Person. “Can People Really Change?” Healthline, Healthline Media, 31 July 2020, www.healthline.com/health/do-people-change.Raypole, Crystal. “10 Ways to Rebuild Trust in a Relationship.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 9 Aug. 2019, www.healthline.com/health/how-to-rebuild-trust.
Raypole, Crystal. “10 Ways to Rebuild Trust in a Relationship.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 9 Aug. 2019, www.healthline.com/health/how-to-rebuild-trust.