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Irresponsibility and laziness as a way of life: can you change for the better?

21.11.2019 Author: Psychologist Pavel Khoroshutin

An irresponsible person is an eternal child, used to the fact that everything around him happens somehow “by itself”. He is passive and lazy, isn’t ready to take responsibility, can’t be accountable for his own words and actions. No wonder, that with such personal traits a person will face difficulties while achieving his goals and building relationship with people. In this article we will analyze, if a “chronically” irresponsible person has a chance to change his life for the better.


  1. How does irresponsibility represent
  2. How laziness gives rise to irresponsibility
  3. Origins of unhealthy behavior pattern: reasons of irresponsibility and laziness
  4. No chance to succeed: consequences of irresponsibility and laziness
  5. Children and adults: particular examples of irresponsibility
  6. How to fight irresponsibility and laziness: 6 recommendations

How does irresponsibility represent


Irresponsibility is a negative mental-ethical personal trait, which is shown in unwillingness or inability of a person to take responsibility for his words, actions and life as a whole. [1]

Irresponsible person acts this way:

  • doesn’t have any certain life goal, prefers to go with the stream;
  • doesn’t follow agreements;
  • often makes knowingly false promises, “as long as leave him alone”;
  • constantly weasels out of his responsibilities at work and in family;
  • even if he does something, he does it poorly;
  • has difficulties making important decisions;
  • doesn’t work towards self-development;
  • separates himself from his own behavior’s consequences;
  • always denies his fault till the last moment, puts responsibility on someone else’s shoulders;
  • sometimes doesn’t follow even the simplest ethical norms of the society;
  • panics in the emergency, can’t get himself together.

Irresponsibility – it’s not just a number of negative personal traits. It is a life stance, which releases a person from extra problems and difficulties. An irresponsible person tends to place overcharged demands on others, while doesn’t want to become better himself.

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How laziness gives rise to irresponsibility


Quite often irresponsibility is considered to be the result of pathological habit to get lazy.

Laziness is a lack or a total absence of hard-working nature. Lazy person prefers spare time rather than work. Gradually, it becomes an unhealthy behavior pattern. A person can’t make himself perform even the important tasks, can’t take responsibility for the easiest decisions and delays dealing with current tasks. In this case, person is called irresponsible, in fact, he is just pathologically lazy. [2]

As many psychologists consider, total irresponsibility is a way to hide laziness, fears and anxiety, an attempt to run away from the reality. [2]

Origins of unhealthy behavior pattern: reasons of irresponsibility and laziness

Irresponsibility is our decision, not inborn personal trait. Why then does a person care in the least about anything, doesn’t want anything, doesn’t aim for anything? Psychologists set several main reasons, which can lead to that form of behavior:

1. Peculiarities of parental upbringing

Often parents, of all others, are to blame for the situation, when child accepted family behavior pattern and continue use it when became adult. There are few options possible:

  • Absence of boundaries and rules. Sometimes, irresponsibility and laziness of parents become the bad example which is taken over by a child. If adults demonstrate to a kid that they can weasel out of responsibilities with impunity, he accepts it as a common behavior and will follow this pattern in the future.
  • Excessive discipline with inflated expectations. When parents bring up a child in a system with punishments for even the smallest misbehavior, sooner or later he comes to the conclusion: it’s better to do nothing, mum and dad are going to be dissatisfied with me anyway. This mind set is taken to the adulthood – person, brought up in excessive severity of discipline, rarely does something by his own intention and prefers to stay unnoticed.
  • Overprotectiveness. Laziness can be caused by the situation, when parents don’t let take any actions without assistance. Children don’t learn how to make decisions and choices. As a result, they become spineless and totally not ready for living on his own. [2]

2. Fear

Laziness and irresponsibility are often caused by fear. Perhaps, a person has once taken monumental task and hasn’t coped with it, as a result, he is totally disappointed in himself and doesn’t believe in his own abilities anymore. It is more comfortable for him to stay attached to a safe position, which means, to be inactive.

A person, who is afraid to take actions, has formed clear beliefs: I don’t need anything, it doesn’t involve me, I’m not responsible for this. He is ready to accept any criticism, just not to take any serious responsibilities. [3]

3. Absence of motivation

Many people are lazy and irresponsible, because they don’t have motivation and desire to do the exact task.

Motivation is a powerful force, which pushes us to greater achievements. If a person doesn’t understand or doesn’t realize why to do something, it’s useless to stimulate him for active actions. If there is no goal, there’s no desire to achieve it. [3]

No chance to succeed: consequences of irresponsibility and laziness

Irresponsible people are not deprived of mental capabilities, they are not stupid. Sometimes they are full of ideas, it’s fun and interesting to spend time with them. But when there’s a problem, that needs a solution, all of the activity of irresponsible person fades away. He can’t and doesn’t want to perform serious tasks.

In any sphere of life, you need to be active and decisive to succeed. Irresponsible person is deprived of these qualities, he is gradually degrading. Strong love relationship, career progress, consistent high income – all of these just stay a dream, because you need to be responsible for achieving these goals. [2]

Irresponsibility leaves no chance to succeed for a person.

Children and adults: particular examples of irresponsibility

Irresponsible people “spoil” not only their own lives. Their laziness and passiveness negatively influence lives of those close to them.

Irresponsible child doesn’t want to do anything, which leads to bad school marks. He can’t perform the simplest tasks: pack a schoolbag, write home assignment correctly, pass important information along to parents, can’t stand for himself. This unhealthy behavior model is taken over to the adulthood. If not to take action in time, it would be extremely difficult to fight child’s laziness.

The question to a psychologist: My son is 8 years old, but he is totally irresponsible child. And, it seems to me, this problem doesn’t bother him at all. Can we still change the situation?
Irresponsible behavior is a learned behavior model, person learns it in the process of living. And, if he learnt this form of behavior, he can naturally learn responsible behavior. It’s never late to learn, you can help your child to make the process of learning more fun – for example, in a form of a game. Encourage him when he shows responsibility, in a form of a kind word, support, show you are proud of him or do something nice: go to the Zoo together or to the funfair. When he acts irresponsibly, don’t criticize him, don’t blame or put some pressure on him. Give your child a chance to live through the consequences of such behavior. He hasn’t done his homework – so he gets a low mark, so he would have to spend more spare time on doing it again and changing the mark for better. Even in younger age a child should realize, that each action has its consequences. The most important is to remember that he is a child, he is just learning, and your support is vital for him. You are his helper, authority, role-model, whom he can trust. As soon as you start solving his problems by yourself, performing his tasks (taking the trash out, doing his homework, etc.), you lose your authority in his eyes. Later on, most likely, you’ll be manipulated to take another responsibility on yourself.
The question to a psychologist:
Good day! The situation is the following: when my son was 13, I got marries the second time, my husband had a 16-years old daughter from the first marriage, I made friends with her (it was difficult and not fast, but still). My husband communicated with my son either okay, or with shouting and swearing). From the early childhood I’ve neglected my son, I gave him little love and attention, I realize it now, but can’t bring anything back. My husband and I have common children now, three of them, my son is now 18, and babies are 4, 2 years and 3 months. My elder son is irresponsible, he gives a lot of promises, even vows, but he doesn’t fulfill his promises, even about important and serious things. I understand that he needs attention, but it isn’t interesting for him to talk to me, and I don’t know how to get him closer. He doesn’t want to do any household chores, sometimes steals my money. He threw over studying, doesn’t like any job, works in different places for a month or even a few days, earns no money. He just makes promises all the time. I understand, that he must be jealous, although he doesn’t show it. Help me, how to make up for the lost time?
Hello. This behavior of your son looks like a particular revolt. Don’t forget the fact he is 18, it is still the period of teenager’s crisis, soul searching and identity searching, sort of a boundary before going into adulthood. No surprise, he is resisting. While his mum was fixing up her personal life and establishing a connection with someone else’s child, your son was left all alone, he is used to be alone, without mum’s love and support. Perhaps, with his behavior and actions your son is trying to show that he is a grown-up and he can decide, whom to be and how to live. First of all, to make your son listen to you, it’s important to gain his trust back. You will have to find a way to talk, if you really understand that you’ve spent little time with him, if you consider yourself guilty and want to improve the situation. Tell him about it and ask to help you. Honesty and sincerity are the most import part here. Become his friend, at first. And remember, your son will feel any lie or insincerity, but he will also value your honesty. Children are in need of parent’s love and support in any age. Good luck to you!

Irresponsible man annoys woman, as her favored one takes his time to take even the slightest responsibility and is constantly lazy, literally, doesn’t get off a sofa. This leads to many problems in a couple: constant quarrels due to lack of money, unsolved household questions, unfulfilled promises. In return, irresponsibility and laziness of a woman scares men away in the same way. It’s unlikely, that someone would be happy to get home from work, if there’s a mess and indifferent woman waiting for him.

The question to a psychologist:
Hello, dear psychologists. My name is Asya and I’ll probably go mad while trying to reach out to my man. We’ve been married for 6 years, and we already have 2 kids, his spitting image… My husband has never worked, anywhere:( and now it’s really difficult for him to get a job, he’s not that young as well… He always says, he’s in town due to work, but I don’t see the result. Our home and telephone bills haven’t been payed for 4 months already. He says: I’ll pay right away, just now… For example, he lied to me that he had payed nanny, just so I wouldn’t shout at him. This all concerns financial part, but he is also totally irresponsible with the documents. Oh, you know, I’m really tired. He doesn’t want anything, even if kids and I will work out of a shoe box. He’s so irresponsible, he doesn’t aim at living a little better. He’s not only useless outside, inside too: anything he does on the house is done poorly or after my tantrums. Tell me, what should I do? I can’t take it all on me, and I don’t want to, how to deal with him cleverly, any talks don’t help anymore… Help! Or is it the same with everyone?
Hello, Asya. In order to take any actions on your husband, ask yourself two questions and answer sincerely:— Why do I (not you children, or parents, or society, you exactly) need this (to reeducate husband)?— Am I ready to be a mum for my man?Your husband has leant to live this way and has found his comfort zone. You can shout, threaten, manipulate, ask, but it’s unlikely you can change him. You have already let him this behavior model, accepted it. The only thing you can definitely succeed in – develop a number of neurotic illnesses. Although, many women unconsciously find this exact type of men to fulfill their need to “be a mum”, “be a nanny”. They materialize their desire to be needed and to be of use in these men, they want to be irreplaceable for another person.Find answers to these questions. Decide, what is important for you and change your life, not somebody else’s. Good luck to you!

How to fight irresponsibility and laziness: 6 recommendations

how to deal with laziness

The first step is to admit the fact that irresponsibility in relationships and life doesn’t let you be happy and successful. So, what’s next? Use these valuable recommendations of psychologists:

1. Learn to get the job done

Irresponsible person is unable to get any job done till the end. He is discouraged by laziness and bad habit of putting away for later.

It won’t be easy, but you can start with small steps. Set exact deadlines for exact tasks. And finish them, even if you have to do it with “an effort”. Doesn’t matter, what that will be – cleaning the house or doing an important work project.

2. Learn planning

The life of irresponsible person is unorganized. That is why it’s important to learn how to plan tasks and foresee consequences of your own actions. If you can see the clear day plan, it will be easier for you to perform current tasks.

Try to anticipate your steps on the way to achieving your goal. And, every time you want to give up, think about that: frustrations of plans can influence negatively not only you, but other people too. This thought might make you work harder.

Clear daily time-table and planning skills are especially important when you fight teenagers’ irresponsibility and laziness. It’s important for them to learn self-discipline on this stage of developing their personality.

3. Overcome your fears

A person, who’s free of fears, lives an easy life, because he is self-confident and doesn’t “beat about the bush” when he needs to do something urgent and important.

It’s really difficult to fight irresponsibility when it’s strengthened by the fear of failure. To overcome insecurity is a real act of bravery for a person who’s used to hesitate. But it’s also important to give yourself the right for a mistake. Remember, that failures are not a total defeat, but a powerful motivation to carry on moving forward and develop yourself. [3]

4. Set goals for yourself

It’s important for irresponsible person to grow up and realize, that he is the only one responsible for his actions and words. Yes, someone can help you to solve some problems, but that’s not going to last forever. That is why it’s so important to set your personal goals and, what’s more important, to move determinately towards achieving them. [3]

There are no unachievable goals. However, there’s a high coefficient of laziness and a bunch of excuses. Surround yourself with people, whose level you want to achieve, and try to “equal” by any means.

5. Don’t sit and wait

Get rid of passiveness in your lifestyle. It’s time to act! Start with simply tidying up your flat. Go deep down. Finish your unfinished businesses, meet some old friends, set a new rule to spend time with the family. Responsible person is never inactive.

6. Go in for a psychological training on the 7Spsy behavior modification technique

If you can’t break the bad habits on your own, go to a psychologist. In most of the cases there’s no need to dig down why the person is acting irresponsibly – they just need to work on their negative mind sets, which seems to be so strong that it’s impossible to change the behavior pattern.

Psychological course based on the 7Spsy behavior modification technique — it is the patented method of behavior psychology, based on the theories of famous psychologists I.P. Pavlov, B.F. Skinner, A.A. Ukhtomsky and others. Taking this full course of trainings helps to correct problematic and destructive behavior, become more active, set goals and priorities, learn to take responsibility. After forming new positive mind sets, you will forget about fear of failure, learn how to overcome laziness and procrastination. You will realize, that your irresponsibility is a dead-end road. And no one, except you, can change this path of motion. The training will help you to form self-assurance and will give you a powerful start for self-development.

We will help you to become more responsible!

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The work on 7Spsy technique is done remotely and takes 2 to 6 weeks. Not only will you do tasks daily, but also communicate with a psychologist via cell phone or on-line chat. This training is totally confidential.

To become responsible means to start acting, solving your problems on your own and to learn how to achieve your goals. Self-improvement is a long-term process, but the result will be your satisfaction of life and feeling that you don’t waste it.


  1. «Osnovy dukhovnoi kultury (entsiklopedicheskii slovar pedagoga), 2000 g., V. S. Bezrukova.
  2. «Rabota i lichnost. Trudogolizm, perfektsionizm, len», 2011 g., E. Ilin.
  3. «Obshchaia psikhologiia, 2015 g., P. N. Shishkoedov.