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Do people change? (1 Viewer)

Patrick Sun

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Do people's reactions to things/event change as they grow older (let's say after the age of 20 or so), or do become more set in their ways?

I think we become more steadfast in our ways as we get older (the breakdown, I'm guessing is around 90/10 for those who stay the same vs. change over time).
 

CharlesD

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I know I have changed in many ways over the years, even after 20. Life experience, set backs and successes, have taught me alot about life, and has changed my outlook on many things. I am sure that there are some who do get set in their ways, but for me learning is the most important human trait, and we should contintue to try and learn & grow through out our lives in both small and in important ways.
 

Carl Johnson

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With age comes experience which has made me better at what I do but I haven't really changed.
 

Jack Briggs

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Yep, Patman, they do. I've become more radically, um, left of center as I got older. Look, I really try to be open-minded. I make it an effort. To me, the only true constant is change itself. So I try to go with it. I also think I am a kinder person now than I've ever been. My attitude toward Nature has changed, too. It is dearer to me than ever before. And our nonhuman companions on this planet are more precious to me than they have ever been.

Love is more important to me, in its purest sense.

Despite the gadfly nature of some (many?) of my posts here, I like to think I've never been so tolerant and open-minded in my life.

I hope that's reflected in my posts--even in the threads I've reluctantly had to close.

I guess I'm saying is that I am trying to be the best person I can be.
 

Jenna

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Yes, I believe people change.

Every good or bad experience you have changes you.

When people let you down, it changes you.
 

andrew markworthy

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The research literature demonstrates that people are *relatively* set in their ways from early adulthood. Various longitudinal studies (i.e. where the same people are tracked across their lifespan) have shown e.g. that if you are outgoing and gregarious relative to your age group at 30, you will be as outgoing and gregarious relative to your age group at 70. Your *attitudes* to things may change (possibly because you receive new information which changed your opinions) but you underlying personality will be the same. [Take an example - Heaven forbid, but suppose today you learnt a firend you trusted had a secret past life as a child molestor; your attitude to him or her would change dramatically, but your basic personality wouldn't have altered].

It generally takes a great deal of exposure to apecific events to alter personality to any great extent (e.g. to change from being totally trustful to totally suspicious would generally require a lot of uncovered deceptions).

Oh yes, and wisdom does not get 'acquired' with age - experience obviously increases, and there is a tendency as we age to solve problems by drawing on past experience of similar occasions rather than working things out from first principles. However, 'wisdom' (the raw ability to find practical solutions) is just as wtrong in younger as in older adults.
 

Andrew W

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I'm pretty open minded about most things and always defer decisions to the last moment to allow the most data to base the decision on. Ideas are easier to change than beliefs. (Hmmm.... Where'd I get that from?)

I am more accepting of things I can't change, for example world peace, but much more demanding about things I can change such as poor service or a messy garage.
 

TheoGB

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I would like to change but I have to say that I don't think it can really happen. You are who you are deep down and I'd have to go with Andrew on this one...

By your talk on politics, Jack, I am presuming you started somewhere else. I think politics in the 'voting' sense don't mean much - deep down you are a certain sort of person and who you vote for may just be a matter of certain policies or whathaveyou. I have seen people change that allegiance but I still get on with them because you realise that actually you're very similar.
 

Andrew W

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At about 6:00pm on 9/11, my wife and I decided there was nothing that we were going to STOP doing. We are still travelling, flying and refuse to let any fear stop us from the thing we do and enjoy. I am a bit more aware of the people around me and what they might be up too, I think that's a sensible behavior.

We also decided to live more fully and to enjoy more of life with our friends and family. We've been a bit more generous with donations to charity, but I have no intention of becoming a missionary or joining the Peace Corp anytime soon.
 

Jared_B

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What I find interesting is how different my grandparents are from my wife's. Her's still think it's the 1940's. They are extremely racist and complain non-stop about how they don't like what the world has become. It's almost like they refuse to live in society as it currently is.

Mine, on the other hand, are totally opposite. They seem to embrace change. While they still can't program a VCR, they're very open-minded and they like the way society and technology has progressed.
 

Janna S

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While a core personality may not change, as some above argue convincingly, I am living proof that one's fundamental behaviors and views of the world can change significantly in the adult years. And it's the behavior that matters, I think.

Some significant events, including the suicide of a fiance and the deaths of my parents, and some ordinary cumulative experiences (long years of work experience with people in need and in crisis, as well as people in positions of power) have made me more compassionate and patient, more giving and understanding, and more pragmatically liberal in a political sense.

I find myself recognizing in myself what Jack expresses above about himself (except I still don't like cats - with apologies to Jack!)
 

Jack Briggs

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Theo: I've always been firmly on the left. Always. Only now I am more so.
"...I still don't like cats..."
Nobody's perfect, Jenna. :) (Hey, you're not writing inflammatory posts advocating cruelty toward and hatred of felines--and that has occurred here. That vibe doesn't come from you at all.)
 

Alex Spindler

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I think we do and we don't. It is probably true that our underlying psychology and personality doesn't change outside of our formative years, but that is not the sole factor in determining who we are or how we think. The part of us that does change is our own experience, our outlook, and any concious or unconcious modifications of our underlying feelings. It is the combinations of all of these that make us who we are, and since several of these change, I think the we can too.

Of course, if you are the kind of person who relys heavily on those underlying motivations, then you aren't likely to change at all.

Good post.
 

Patrick Sun

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I knew leaving this such an open ended question will lead people in different, but valid directions. :)
I think I was after that situation when someone you haven't talked to in quite a few years crops up in a conversation, and you find out what they've been up to, and you finish the conversation with "so-and-so, he'll never change..." and smile about it. So I suppose I was after basic personality traits to lead to you to react to stuff, and do stuff that seem quite natural for people who have known you for a long time, and know your foibles/strengths/interests quite well in such a way that what you've done doesn't really surprise them (even if it's a nice accomplishment).
 

Jack Briggs

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Well, I managed to track down an old high-school buddy of mine about four years or so ago. It was the first time we had spoken since the early '70s. We had been "best buddies" in school. One of his comments: "You sound like you always have!"

He mentioned that when John Lennon was assassinated he thought about me. Same when Dr. Timothy Leary died.
 

Rain

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I know I've changed, hopefully for the better.

I used to be a shy, introverted boy to the point that I couldn't even speak to people I didn't know well. I was awkward, insecure and miserable.

Through various experiences and realizations, I've come to the point where I just basically live my life as I want to, not really worrying about what other people think of me.

Yes, people can change.
 

Danny R

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I think whether or not people change depends on how open minded they are. I've found that folks who are willing to listen to the "other side" and consider all options are much more likely to change their minds about things.

Those who don't want to listen to the other side tend to be set in their ways and grow more so as the years progress, as if even questioning how things have been done directly insults them. With these sort of people, it would take a dramatic event to break them out of this rut.

So in other words, before one can change, one must be willing to be open to change and experience other points of view.
 

Ted Lee

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i guess i can't speak for anyone else, but i know i've changed. as others have said, various life experiences have changed some of my fundamental beliefs.
a couple of things that come to mind:
my first roomate in collge was gay. up to that point, i never knew anyone who was gay and never really gave it much thought. when he told me....i remember thinking about it for like a whole five minutes. it took me that long to realize that people are people are people and that if i'm not going to like them for who they are, then i'm the one who has a problem. i learned acceptance and open-mindedness that day.
both my parents died before my sophomore year in college. i learned about fate and mortality that day.
a girl i was totally in love with for four years dumped me and got engaged to a guy she only knew for six months. i learned humility, shame and anger that day.
that same guy dumped her soon after...i learned about kharma that day. :)
i guess all i'm saying is that each of us develops our personalities and beliefs over time. we're given the chance to make the best (or worst) of a situation and it's how we handle those kinds of tests that determine if (and how) we'll change.
bottom line: people can change, but only if they want...
 

Jeff Pryor

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People can definitely change, but it usually takes willpower and many years to change the bad stuff.
 

Nathan*W

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want...
Amen, Ted. No one can FORCE somebody to change, though many try and will continue to.
Personally, I've made up my mind about most things. My willingness to change comes in by being able to accept new arguements that refute my current beliefs. (consequently, I was able to move to a pro-OAR stance a long time ago because I was willing to HEAR and not just listen)
So in a (big) nutshell, I also change - but with reason, not just willy-nilly.
 

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