How to Deal With Wishy Washy People

When it comes to annoying habits, one of the most frustrating for many people is someone who can't make up their mind. Whether it is about reneging on something they have agreed to, or even someone who believes fiercely in one position and tries to convince everyone, and then flips a month later. This is played up in politicians, but it can be just as frustrating in a neighbor, a partner, or a friend. However, if it is someone you must have in your life, or that you want in your life, there are ways to cope with this and make it better. Here are a few ideas:

Get it in Writing
If you need someone to hold to something, get them to write it down, and hold them to it. This is especially important if they are borrowing money from you or promising something that requires a lot from both of you. If you need something from a wishy washy person, let them know that you are getting it in writing, and draw up some sort of contract. Contracts are designed to protect both parties from forgetting or changing their minds about their obligations. It's okay to use them outside of business, and if it continues to happen with them, then use it as a reason to stop doing business with them, even of a personal nature.

Ask them their Reasoning
For people who change opinions like they change clothes, and try and convince the world that they are right, ask them questions to better understand how they came to a certain conclusion. Some people act this way because they are looking for attention. Others are acting this way because they are insecure and don't really feel comfortable with any opinions. Either way, by asking them to explain their point of view in a calm and kind way, you can both give them the attention they crave as well as possibly helping them to feel a little more confident in their opinions as they learn a little bit more about them. Be careful not to be hostile or condescending with them while they talk out their ideas. Simply work with them as a sounding board to help them better see where they stand. It is more than likely that they will be a little more firm in their opinions once they feel heard and understand, and they have talked out their point of view.

Be Compassionate
No matter what you do with a wishy washy person, you probably won't be able to fully change them, and you will more than likely need to be okay with that if that person is to stay in your life. This is true whether they have to be, like your boss, or if you choose them, like a freind.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "How to Deal With Wishy Washy People," in PsychologyDictionary.org, January 25, 2016, https://psychologydictionary.org/article/how-to-deal-with-wishy-washy-people/ (accessed July 18, 2019).
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