By Trevor E Smith Posted: March 31, 2014
Why I Fake It
Excerpt from a conversation.
Trevor: So you believe that deception is the fuel that drives relationships today.
Stew*: Faking it is a skill that is essential to navigating relationships. The cards are heavily stacked against being real.
Trevor: Why is that?
Stew: Faking starts to set down its roots from the early years of our socialization. We are primed to put on a show. We are drilled in the importance of presenting an image that the world would like. Developing the skills to effectively pretend is mastered by the time we hit kindergarten. We hone them to perfection consistently after that.
Trevor: Aren’t you being a bit cynical?
Stew: I am just being real. Think also about the mega beauty industry. Think of how many billions are spent each day by individuals who want to disguise how they really look. Do you accept that there are women who would be scared to be seen without their make-up on?
Trevor: Sure, but….
Stew: Then what about the guys who wear the platform shoes since height is such a desirable feature. Not to mention the roaring business in toupees. Lies, lies, lies. What you see is hardly ever what you get. Girdles and special bras further the illusion on the other side. Deception is today’s currency.
Trevor: So what is your take-away from all this?
Stew: Hold on…not so fast. You need to first understand the magnitude of the problem. The almost universal acceptance of having to fake it with our physical appearance seeps into our mindset and reinforces our lifelong encouragement to put on a show.
If I can comfortably pretend to have a full head of hair why can’t I not only cover up my baldness but also the fact that I am selfish jerk?
So, the desire to employ deliberate deceptions makes the leap into the realm of our behaviours. The new frontier to be conquered is the capacity to create storefront personalities for our stage performances – dates, job interviews etc.
How many employers wonder where did this guy come from once he has picked up his third pay cheque? There are coaches who teach applicants how to ace interviews.
Not everybody hires a Hutch to coach them into faking their way into a relationship but most of us know endearing things to say and just the right mannerisms to display to open doors.
Trevor: Wow! You make it sound like it is a minefield out there.
Stew: But it is. Reflect on this. Think how many times you have met up with an old friend and asked “So, how is John or Mary?” and you get the answer “Oh, we are not together again.”
This is within your circle of normal, average individuals. We are not here including the tabloid revolving doors scenario.
And many of these started out with great prospects. What happened?
Trevor: You are on a roll, you tell me.
Stew: My guess is that as more and more of the masks are removed one or both parties see things that are not appealing to them. They find it challenging to commit to a lifetime of having to deal with certain characteristics. It doesn’t help if the source of the attraction was not sufficient to anchor a lasting relationship.
So, you ask about my take away.
I really think that this all-encompassing call to deception is actually wasteful and painful. If the intention is to go beyond short-term frolics, then the process of unmasking will take place. What is covered up will be revealed in due course.
If what is being hidden is unacceptable to the other party all that has been achieved is a postponement of the inevitable. The real danger is that by the time it is discovered so many things might have happened to make it really painful when the plug is pulled.
Trevor: Thank God I have 4 decades of a fulfilling marriage under my belt otherwise you would have scared me off relationships. How is someone who is dating or worse engaged to be married to respond to your convincing but very scary views?
Stew: Millions like you have taken the plunge and have come through unscathed. Today, they have the advantage over you in that they can add some behavioural assessment to their intuition to land safely on the other side.
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