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In the sentence below, I am not sure whether it is saying "so as to calm me down" or "as if to calm me down". I could imagine 落ち着かせるように being used to mean either of these meanings, so I am not sure how to distinguish between the two.

そんな私を落ち着かせるように、肩に手を置いてポンポンと叩いてきてくれる

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    Gonna need a bit more context (source text, surrounding text, etc.) but I'm assuming it's the former. – JansthcirlU Dec 23 '20 at 13:43
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そんな私を落ち着かせるように、肩に手を置いてポンポンと叩いてきてくれる

The ように means "as if".

To say "so that~" here, you'd say:

そんな私を落ち着かせるために、肩に手を置いてポンポンと叩いてきてくれる

To use the ように in the sense of "so that~" here, you'd need to say:

そんな私が落ち着くように、肩に手を置いてポンポンと叩いてきてくれる

Related:

  • On the interchangeability of ~ように and ~ために
    To mean "so that~" you'd say 学生が勉強するように、先生は毎日宿題を出します rather than 学生が勉強するために~. 学生に勉強させるために毎日先生は宿題を出します sounds good but 学生に勉強させるように毎日先生は宿題を出します sounds off.
  • Difference between ために and ように
    ように is used when you cannot control the situation ("so that").
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= So that I calm down, so as to calm me down, (in order) to calm me down. "(They) put their hand on my shoulder and patted me (so as) to calm me down."

If you wanted to include the pointed implication that it's for show or is futile in "as if to calm me down", you can add か to make "落ち着かせるかのように".

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