Relationship Series: Red Flags – Part 3

Part 1 Part 2

This article will highlight Irresponsibility, Immaturity, and Unpredictability as a relationship red flag. The accompanying video can be found here.

Irresponsibility: A person who is irresponsible is what I also call “shiftless.” They aren’t moved by much. Things don’t affect them in any way. They may not have any goals or know what direction they want their life to take. They go with the flow of almost everything and don’t seem to take much seriously. They may complain about not liking their job and, yet, don’t do anything about it. They don’t take responsibility for the direction of their life. They’re content with an unsatisfying job because they don’t put effort into obtaining something more joyful to them. Or, they may constantly have ideas they’re unmotivated to act upon.

They may not handle their finances well. They may pay bills at the last minute or even after receiving late notices. They don’t have the foresight to avoid the consequences of mishandling their money.

They don’t effectively deal with their own well-being. They may be diabetic and don’t monitor their sugar level or eating habits, a smoker with lung problems, an alcoholic with liver problems, etc. and continue to live their life as if those issues will fix themselves. The problem with this is if you have a health problem, they won’t be able to emotionally support you and may even complain you’re making a big deal out of something unimportant. They don’t see the value in living as healthy a life as possible.

They don’t respect themselves, you, or your relationship. This person doesn’t take care of their belongings, which is a sign they won’t respect or take care of yours. Their living style may be different from yours and they treat your belongings as they do their own. An example would be a person who lives in a cluttered and dirty space. Your space is uncluttered and clean. They may visit you and track in dirt, spill food on your furniture, or dirty your bathroom without cleaning up behind themselves. They don’t see anything wrong with their behavior and may question why it’s a big deal to you if you bring it up. They don’t acknowledge the difference in living styles even though it’s apparent when looking around the space they’re in.

The disrespect toward you and the relationship is in their inability to separate your views from their own and their inability or unwillingness to accept you feel differently about something than they do. They behave in a way that can lead to mental and verbal abuse. They may attempt to make you see things from their point of view through arguing versus agreeing to disagree. They may refuse to work on changing behaviors you’ve expressed aren’t conducive to building a health relationship.

Unpredictability: The person’s unpredictability may be fun in the beginning. You may like how spontaneous they are. They’re quick to accept invitations to do things that sound “fun,” sometimes without thinking about their (or your) obligations. It’s one thing to be spontaneous on vacation but is something different when lived on a daily basis. This person goes with the flow of whatever is going on and as long as they’re having a good time, they’re okay with it. This person is not a planner and views having a schedule as a way of being put into a box. They ignore some of life’s responsibilities and think all negative consequences will work themselves out in their favor without any effort on their part.

Immaturity: Unpredictability can also manifest in their emotions, which leads to immaturity. Their immaturity shows when they become extremely moody. Physically acting out is called a temper tantrum and is when someone becomes a physical danger to themselves or others, or becomes destructive with property. I call emotionally acting out “emotional temper tantrums.”

Emotion temper tantrums may include the person shutting down, or being verbally and mentally abusive. This person is unable to deal with even the smallest crisis in their life, and acts out in inappropriate ways, because they haven’t learned or are incapable of effectively expressing themselves.

A person who’s unable to deal with their own crisis isn’t going to be able to deal with yours. They don’t know who they are as an individual and are unable to articulate what’s positive and negative about their own behaviors or perspectives which makes them appear insensitive to you and your needs. If they don’t understand themselves, they aren’t going to understand you.

Another sign of emotional immaturity can be as simple as someone acknowledging they don’t make friends or maintain friendships well. They’re telling you they have problems putting forth consistent effort to build and maintain health friendships. This person may be nice, kind, easy to talk to and fun when you’re around them. And, that’s just it … when you’re around them. When away from each other, you’re likely ‘out of sight, out of mind.’

This person may be unwilling or unable to put in the effort you need to maintain a balanced friendship. Think carefully about whether or not you want to begin a relationship with this person because, essentially, they’re saying they likely won’t be able to support you in good times or bad when you’d want them to. They’ve subconsciously realized they’re not good at keeping in touch or putting someone else’s needs ahead of their own.

An immature person typically lacks empathy, aren’t sympathetic, and are unaware of others’ feelings even when explained to them. They only seem to care about things that have a direct negative effect on them. You may explain why something bothered you and they still don’t understand why you feel the way you do. They may criticize you for being upset or they may become defensive thinking you’re talking about something they did or didn’t do. Their inability to recognize things from your perspective means they won’t be able to emotionally support you through troublesome situations.

I’d love to hear if you’ve experienced the abovementioned red flag in a potential friendship and how you dealt with the situation. If you recognized yourself in the article, what have you learned or how did you overcome those behaviors?

Comments are always welcome as well as sharing this article using the available social media buttons. Subscribe via email for automatic notification of new posts and the continuation of this series.

Thank you.

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I journeyed from GED to a PhD in Psychology. I decided to focus on my writing once I retired from the clinical field. I write in various genres and have several WIPs for publication once edited. I post articles on this website for intellectual and entertainment purposes.

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