Individuals who are inconsistent are great at keeping others off balance.
But why is this the case?
I think it has to do with the fact that all of us are drawn to the familiar.
So it’s easier to deal with Karen being nice and Bill being mean than it is to deal with volatile Vicky.
Understand: This can be an intentional strategy too.
What happened when the undermining colleague was also supportive at times? Things didn’t get better; they got worse. Being undermined and supported by the same person meant even lower commitment and more work missed.* Negative relationships are unpleasant, but they’re predictable: if a colleague consistently undermines you, you can keep your distance and expect the worst. But when you’re dealing with an ambivalent relationship, you’re constantly on guard, grappling with questions about when that person can actually be trusted. As Duffy’s team explains, “It takes more emotional energy and coping resources to deal with individuals who are inconsistent.”
-Adam Grant, Originals