Consistency in relationships means consistently showing up for your partner or friend, being reliable, and fulfilling your commitments. In today’s fast-paced world, where everything changes at lightning speed, consistency in relationships is diminishing in importance, and it’s become more challenging to find people who maintain a steady and predictable pattern of behavior. With these strategies and frameworks, you can cultivate consistency in all your relationships, develop lasting, loving connections, and identify people who can do the same. (Estimated reading time: 9 minutes)
“Consistency is the glue that holds love together.”– Toni Payne
Consistency is the thing I value most in my relationships. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or a partner, if I notice words or behavior that significantly deviate from the norm, alarm bells go off in my head. I’m put on guard, looking for more unpredictable actions.
Of course, there’s always a chance that external factors can impact the other person, but if that’s not the case, something has shifted in the dynamic of our bond. If they don’t tell me what has changed for them, I’m left in the dark, wondering what I did wrong.
Not sharing when something in your relationship has shifted is a form of emotional manipulation and a sign that a person is weaponizing inconsistent behavior to gain attention and control. This repeated hot and cold behavior brings to mind the Katy Perry song that goes:
“You’re hot then you’re cold, you’re yes then you’re no, you’re in then you’re out, you’re up then you’re down.”
The fact that there’s an entire song dedicated to this behavior signifies that I’m not alone in experiencing it. Chances are you’ve also been at the receiving end of hot and cold behavior.
No one likes to be taken by surprise by a friend who is kind and attentive one day and makes mean-spirited and snarky comments the next. Neither do we want to be with a significant other who showers us with warmth and affection in the morning and then freezes us out later in the day. This emotional roller coaster puts us off balance and brings out the worst in us.
We all want to feel like we belong. We want our relationships to be safe zones where we can feel renewed and replenished. We find comfort in the familiar and bloom in these nurturing spaces. As long as we do our part and contribute to the connection, we can expect to consistently receive the same care, love, and support from the other person.
Studies have shown that consistency in relationships is a vital component of their success. If you find yourself in relationships and friendships where you or the other person lacks consistency, it’s essential to look closely at what drives this behavior.
By transforming how we relate to one another, you’ll create connections where you and the people you’re with show up for each other during both the good and bad times.
What does it mean to be consistent in relationships?
Consistency in relationships refers to the ability to maintain a steady and predictable pattern of behavior, actions, and emotions. It means consistently showing up for your partner or friend, being reliable, and fulfilling your commitments. It’s about being present and engaged, actively participating in the relationship.
Consistency can manifest in various ways, such as following through on promises, being emotionally available, and demonstrating a genuine interest in another person’s life. It involves being dependable and reliable, someone your partner can count on in both good times and bad.
Speaker and author Simon Sinek says that no single act or event can make people trust you. It’s an accumulation of little, mundane things you do every day that build trust. As someone begins to trust you, they will enjoy being in your company, working with you, and sharing more of themselves.
When one person is inconsistent, it creates uncertainty and erodes trust. Inconsistent behavior may include being unreliable, breaking promises or being emotionally distant. Such behavior can cause emotional distress for the other person and strain the relationship.
To establish consistency in relationships, it’s essential to be self-aware and actively work on maintaining a stable and predictable pattern of behavior. Consistency requires effort and commitment from both partners, but the rewards are invaluable.
Inconsistency in society: have we become a culture of flakes?
In today’s fast-paced world, where everything seems to change at lightning speed, consistency in relationships seems to be diminishing in importance – this has led to the rise of flaky behavior. Urban Dictionary defines a flake as “An unreliable person; someone who agrees to do something, but never follows through.”
Flakes tend to cancel plans at the last minute, delay or simply don’t respond to calls and texts, and don’t show up when we need them. They may also feel uneasy about committing to and following through on plans and needing to be on time for events. This rudeness has somehow been normalized because so many people do it.
So, what has contributed to the inconsistent behavior shown by flakes? Technology plays a large part in it. With the advent of cell phones and social media, it’s become easier to avoid calling and texting with few consequences. People don’t realize these actions are akin to ignoring a friend saying hi to you on the street and walking past them.
Besides technology and legitimate emergencies, there’s a host of other reasons why people demonstrate flaky and inconsistent behavior, such as:
- Social anxiety
- Realizations that later made them uncomfortable about what they committed to
- Fluctuations in emotions
- Other more desirable opportunities came up
- Poor time management and scheduling habits
- Uneasiness to turn down other options, so they overbook themselves
- Not making you a priority because they don’t value you or the connection enough
FOMO, or a fear of missing out, is a common phenomenon that exacerbates inconsistency towards another person. Social conditioning creates an illusion that the grass is greener on the other side. With so many options now, people have become commodified, and we don’t hesitate to leave them hanging or ghost them.
The ‘plenty of fish in the sea‘ mentality can cause us to objectify others and play down the importance of treating them with dignity and respect, which consistent behavior demonstrates.
Initially, it’s worth giving a flake the benefit of the doubt and asking them their reasons. But if they are habitually flaky, it might be best to distance yourself from them. Their callousness impacts your relationship with them and breeds unhappiness and uncertainty within you.
Building those boundaries is an act of self-care. It lets the other person know you value yourself enough not to tolerate inconsistent behavior and being “an option” in their life. Know that you deserve to have people around you who follow through on their words and actions.
Even in a society of flakes, you can attract those who are consistent if you prioritize yourself and your happiness.
The impact of inconsistency on relationships
Inconsistency can significantly impact relationships, often leading to feelings of insecurity, mistrust, and emotional turmoil. When one person is inconsistent, it creates uncertainty and can cause the other party to question the stability of the relationship.
For instance, if a partner answers your calls during the day but does not in the evening without giving you a legitimate reason, you’re left wondering why they’re available at certain times and not others. Their availability and responses are inconsistent, and this can breed anxiety.
The best way to avoid these hurtful situations is to identify an inconsistent person before you get into a relationship with them. An inconsistent person may sometimes appear distant or emotionally unavailable or change their attitude toward you, making it challenging to establish a deeper connection.
Inconsistency can also hinder effective communication. When one person is not transparent in their communication, it creates confusion and misinterpretation. This can lead to misunderstandings and unresolved conflicts, further deteriorating the relationship.
Additionally, inconsistency erodes trust. When one partner consistently fails to fulfill their commitments or breaks promises, it creates doubt and skepticism. Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship, and it can be challenging to rebuild once it is broken.
Overall, not sticking to your words can significantly impact the happiness and satisfaction of a relationship. It creates a sense of instability and can prevent the relationship from reaching its full potential.
Four benefits of being consistent in a relationships
Some might say that a bit of unpredictability can infuse excitement into a relationship. Being too consistent can make things boring and impact the chemistry between two people. We need to spice things up by occasionally changing our approach and demeanor.
Yet, chemistry does not equal consistency and is insufficient when creating a long-lasting and healthy relationship. As with many things, the key is balance. Chemistry comes naturally and easily when two people are right for each other, but consistency requires work and dedicated effort. When chemistry is overlaid with consistency, you’ll develop a lasting connection.
There are many benefits to cultivating consistency in relationships. Here are four of the most important that contribute to the overall health and longevity of the connection:
1. It builds trust: Consistency demonstrates reliability and dependability. When you consistently fulfill your commitments and follow your promises, your partner knows they can rely on you. This trust lays the foundation for deeper intimacy and connection, making both individuals feel secure.
2. It fosters open and honest communication: When both partners consistently communicate their needs, desires, and concerns, it creates a safe space for vulnerability. This allows for resolving conflicts in a healthy and constructive manner, strengthening the relationship in the process.
3. It promotes emotional stability: When both partners consistently show up for each other emotionally, it creates a sense of balance and support. This emotional stability allows for a deeper understanding and connection between partners, enhancing the overall satisfaction within the relationship.
4. It encourages personal growth and development: When partners consistently support and encourage each other’s goals and aspirations, it creates an environment that fosters growth and self-improvement. This shared commitment to personal growth strengthens the bond between partners and allows for a more fulfilling and enriching relationship.
How to cultivate consistency in a relationship
Cultivating consistency in a relationship requires effort and commitment from both individuals. Here are some strategies to help foster a steady and loving connection:
1. Communication is vital: Establish open and honest communication channels. Consistently express your needs and desires and actively listen to your partner. Effective communication helps to establish a shared understanding and ensures that both partners are on the same page.
2. Set clear expectations: Clearly define expectations and commitments within the relationship. When both partners clearly understand what is expected of them, it becomes easier to maintain consistency. This helps to avoid misunderstandings and promotes a sense of accountability.
3. Practice empathy and understanding: Show empathy and understanding towards your partner. Consistently validate their feelings and perspectives, even in times of disagreement. This creates a safe and supportive environment where both partners feel valued and understood.
4. Prioritize quality time: Make quality time a priority in your relationship. Consistently set aside dedicated time for each other, free from distractions. This helps to nurture the connection and strengthens the bond between partners.
5. Be reliable: Fulfill your commitments and be reliable. Consistently follow through on your promises and show up for your partner. This builds trust and establishes a sense of security within the relationship.
6. Practice self-reflection: Regularly reflect on your behavior and actions within the relationship. Identify areas where you may have been inconsistent and make a conscious effort to improve. Self-reflection allows for personal growth and helps to cultivate consistency.
By implementing these strategies, both partners can work together to cultivate a solid foundation in their relationship. Being consistent with others is a continuous practice requiring ongoing effort and commitment, but the rewards are well worth it.
Many of us dream of having our happily ever after. We want the people around us to consistently show us affection and loyalty. But that only happens when we feel that within ourselves and express those good feelings to others. The outside world is simply a reflection of our inner world. The devotion and love we seek must always start from within.
All my best on your journey,
Questions for you: What does consistency in relationships look like for you? How does a consistent partner or friend make you feel?
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