The short answer is, maybe.
People can change, but only if they want to. We cannot force anyone to change though no matter how hard we may try. This even applies to helping others in difficult situations. I know a few people close to me whom I have seen go through tough times with addiction, and other personal things. I have tried over the years to help them change directions and quit this bad addiction they had. Unfortunately, nothing ever changed, even with all the years of me trying to help in any way possible. No matter how hard I tried, it didn’t change anything because this person was not ready.
Some need time to have that epiphany before they are ready to make any changes in their life. Especially if it’s a big dramatic/life changing thing for them. They may tell you they are ready to change, but if they aren’t ready within themselves then they may fail. Perhaps they’ll resent you for pushing them towards it when they weren’t ready.
It’s better to allow people the time they need to accept that they need to change. There is nothing wrong with letting them know you are there to help. Just be mindful of how much you may be pushing them to change the issue.
Now moving onto people changing more personable things about them… usually they cannot change. Sometimes you need to look at how long they have been the way they are (or if this has to do with addiction). Are they younger and still learning things about themselves and life? Are they more mature and pretty confident with whom they are? Observe this person and how long they have been the way they are. Chances are, they have been that way for some time and it’s just a part of who they are. It doesn’t mean they can’t change their ways (or addictions, etc.), but it’ll take time. Just remember, the only way they can change any of it, is if they feel they need to change. Change is necessary when it’s negative, toxic or unhealthy.
Change takes time. I have seen people change, but in due time. We are all changing. I am not the same person I was a year ago. Heck, even six months ago. I’m learning things all the time about myself and am always trying to grow as a human being. Yet, who I am at my core has not changed. I have broken bad habits and changed them over time. This is because I accepted what they were and I wanted to make those positive changes. Become aware of these things and take those steps to change on our own (or with a professional’s help).
Changing any bad habits (addictions, lying, cheating, anger, short temper, etc.) these are things that can change… with time. But, remember again, it can only change if that person wants to change it and feels the need to. Some of these issues though will take a long time to change. There are two choices here. Either you will need to be patient if you choose to stand by their side. And let it happen naturally, don’t become a nag. Rome wasn’t built overnight. Also, accept people fall down here and there. Or you should walk away to give this person the time for themselves to change these bad behaviors. If you can’t handle it and they aren’t willing to change, then leave the situation.
Be mindful if you are expecting someone to change who they are, don’t expect any change at all. It is who they are, and who they will most likely always be. I don’t find it fair or right to ask anyone to change who they are to their core. I would not be receptive if someone asked me to change who I am. How about you just walk your silly ass out the door of my life then! <— That is what I would tell them!
I would think hard about what you’re requesting before expecting this person to change. Make sure it’s actually a positive change you are looking for from them. Otherwise, let it go! “Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others”.