That Hot-and-Cold Person In Your Life — Yeah, They Don’t Care About You

Ok soooo you know how everyone always says that older people have wisdom? Well, there have definitely been some angsty moments in my life when I didn’t exactly buy this, butttt I’m starting to realize…it’s kinda true.

I’m only 24, so I’m by no means “old” (or even necessarily wise yet), but there are a lot of things I know now that I didn’t know when I was… let’s say, 20. One thing that took me particularly long to fully understand and accept during my younger years was that the hot-and-cold people in my life didn’t actually care about me.

Hot-and-Cold People: Who Are They?

Hot-and-cold people can be significant others, they can be friends… I feel like they’re not usually family members (right?), but I suppose they could be family members too. They can be literally anyone. Doesn’t really matter.

When hot-and-cold people are in “hot” mode, they might:

  • Give you lots of attention
  • Know EXACTLY what to say to make you feel really special
  • Make it seem like they genuinely care deeply about you
  • Heck, they might even chase you!

But then, suddenly, or maybe gradually, (though I feel like it’s usually suddenly and out of actual nowhere), they go into (dun dun dunnnn) COLD MODE. Ew I just got hives writing that. Cold mode generally involves the following:

  • Lack of attention or eagerness to spend time with you, know what you’re up to, etc.
  • Baloney excuses about being “busy” all the time (#baloney)
  • You feeling really annoying when you reach out to them
  • You feeling like you’re on a one-way street and you’re way more invested in the friendship or relationship than they are (<— the worst)

Now, dealing with this kind of treatment would be annoying from LITERALLY anyone, but it’s particularly frustrating (and painful and desperate) with hot-and-cold people, because you know how absolutely sweet it feels to HAVE THEIR FULL ATTENTION. I mean, if someone is just a cold asshole all the time, like…that’s the benchmark. You know what you’re gonna get, and it’s honestly not even that offensive after a while. But with hot-and-cold people, you never know what kind of day it’s gonna be — it’s a vicious cycle.

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Here’s the worst part:

As if being treated like a literal candy wrapper on the floor of a subway station during “cold mode” wasn’t bad enough, when you confront the hot-and-cold person about their BLATANTLY BIPOLAR BEHAVIOR PATTERNS, they usually make it seem like you’re crazy. Like actually batshit. Then, they usually smooth-talk you into believing that there’s nothing to worry about, and you just over-analyzed things, and everything is cool, and they totally care. If the person is really good, you might end up leaving the confrontation thinking, “wow, I really was being crazy” or “maybe I’m being too needy.”

No. Just no.

I get that every friendship and every relationship is different. I get that there are DEFINITELY people out there that are actually crazy and needy and overreact and get worried about things that are legitimately no big deal. But, I’m going to go ahead and assume that the VAST MAJORITY of times the situation I described above pans out IRL, the “crazy” person isn’t actually crazy. And the hot-and-cold person isn’t actually “bipolar.” What’s actually happening is very simple: the hot-and-cold person just doesn’t really care about the other person; they care about themselves. They’re selfish in the friendship or the relationship—they want everything on their terms, on their schedule, when they’re in the mood to “be there.”

Hot mode can be convincing. Ridiculously convincing. But people that care about you don’t have “modes.” Period. They just…care about you. All the time. They’re there, even when they don’t necessarily want to be. Someone who cares about you might not enjoy listening to you vent, or want to try out some new weirdo activity that you’re into, or, idk, wake up really early one day to drive you to the airport or something, but they’ll do it anyways precisely because they care about you, and because it makes them happy to see you happy.

Don’t get me wrong, people that genuinely care about you might have cold moments (no one is perfect), but there’s no “cycles” going on. Their cold moments are just what they sound like — moments — one-off instances. And usually there’s a good reason for these moments. Not baloney excuses.

So, what to do now?

If you currently have a hot-and-cold person in your life, here’s my advice:

  1. Come to acceptance with the fact that this person does not care about you. Maybe you have a unique situation and they do actually really care about you…but idk–sounds pretty suspect to me. Put simply, if you have to ask yourself if someone cares about you (especially on the regular), they probably DON’T.
  2. When you experience cold mode, don’t even waste your time getting mad or going crazy on this person. Nothing that you do or say will change them.
  3. If you rightfully do go crazy on this person, stand your ground and don’t apologize post-smooth-talk, because frankly, that’s disrespecting yourself.
  4. If this person is a significant other, I’d honestly suggest moving on. Even if it’s just a fling, I don’t think it’s worth it (unless you’re one of those people who has the rare ability to remain completely uninvested, but I don’t know if those people actually exist).
  5. If this person is a friend, asses the positivity-to-negativity ratio of the friendship (check out my “How to Deal With Shitty Friends” post) and move forward with the steps listed there.
  6. Make a list (mental or physical) of all the people in your life that are consistently there for you and never make you feel annoying or needy or crazy. Hold their treatment towards you as a standard for how you want to be treated by others.
  7. Be more open-minded about genuinely caring people. This is something I’m actually trying to work on right now. Idk if this is just me, but hot-and-cold people always seem more desirable and exciting at first. It can be fun to be kept on your toes, and totally gratifying to feel like an exception when hot-and-cold people do give you attention. But these things get old, especially as you get older. People that are genuinely caring might not seem as exciting or desirable at first, but if you dig a little deeper, you might be surprised by what you find, or what you actually want in your life.

I hope this helped someone! I have been prioritizing a few other side projects during my free time lately, but I’m hoping to squeeze in some more blog posts in the coming weeks. I hope you enjoyed this one.