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rebbel's avatar

Why does it feel negative (for some) to be called predictable?

Asked by rebbel (23543 points ) December 19th, 2011

Sometimes I get to be called predictable, by my girlfriend for example, when I make a joke or act a certain way.
For a reason, although it is said in a lighthearted way, I feel a bit put down…, feel it as a negative qualification.
Tonight, on a tv show, someone was called predictable as well, and the host said to that person “what a terrible thought, he?”.
So I wonder; what is it that some people feel it as a negative thing to be called predictable?

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9 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Because everyone likes to imagine that they have more than a smidgen of mystery, je ne sais quoi, and, thus, savoir faire about them.

Blackberry's avatar

@marinelife Like SavoirFaire?

It depends on the the context, but I see no problem with your example, I’ve been told the same and I see it as a quirky personality trait of mine.

tedibear's avatar

Maybe it’s the perception that predictable equals boring. If I know that every time you hear a particular song, you’re going to talk about a concert you went to by that performer, it could be considered dull. Or every time I sneeze you ask if I’m catching a cold, that sounds like someone who worries too much.

Conversely, unpredictable people can be considered exciting or “out there.” “Oh, you never know what Rebbel is going to do next. He’s such an adventurer!” Or, “That Rebbel, he always has great surprises.” Those people are considered fun, exciting and “cool.”

Remember though, that predictable can also imply “consistent.” If, every time your girlfriend has a rough day, she can count on you for sympathy or help, that’s still being predictable. And a boyfriend like that certainly isn’t boring. And being unpredictable isn’t always good. An example is someone that you’ve asked that person for a ride home and they aren’t there because something more fun came up.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I expected this question from you, @rebbel

comity's avatar

I don’t know as I’ve never heard anyone called that. But, to me if you’re predictable, one knows what to expect and they can count on you. I think that’s kind of cool.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Urm….well, usually I use it when my SO reacts the way I know he’s going to react.

Sunny2's avatar

It depends on the tone of voice. Predictable with a smile is fine. Predictable with an accusatory tone is not and you’d have a right to feeling insulted. Some things require predictability and responsibility, like taking out the trash. Other things need more spontaneity, like “Let’s go out for ice cream!” If you always react negatively to something, think about it.

The_Idler's avatar

being generally, genuinely predictable is boring.

And that is why people should never say, “you’re so predictable,” when they mean, “I know you so well.”

=}

JLeslie's avatar

I think often times when someone calls someone predictable, they are using it in a sort of judgemental way. Maybe not very harsh necessarily, but kind of like your quirks are not what most people would do. I guess it depends on how the comment is delivered. My husband does this to me sometimes, he knows what I am going to say, what reaction I am going to have to something.

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