Warm Weather, it’s about freakin’ time it reached Toronto! I know a lot of the region’s population has been patiently waiting for it just like I have – and let me tell you, there was no waste of time enjoying it this long weekend, even if I had a gym-related foot injury preventing me from being upwardly mobile.
While out on my Victoria Day adventures this year, my phone’s alarm went off unexpectedly – reminding me that I was to be writing this article. So, instead of leaving my already made plans and smiling friends, I decided to broach a few topics with them to see if any caught interest and to conduct a little research that would be handy in crafting this month’s column.
We tossed through some ideas pretty quickly but when the topic of authenticity was touched upon the entire table (and there were quite a few of us) turned it’s attention to focus on the idea that individuals love to project ideas of themselves onto others – this replaces the idea of just allowing somebody to learn who you are or of your character through natural experiences spending time with them face to face. But, even in those real world interactions it was agreed upon that individuals are so concerned with telling whom they are with traits or characteristics that they want to endow upon themselves.
Even in the digital realm of interactions you come across it – more obviously of course where someone has written out this nicely worded profile enticing people to read about their good-hearted attitude towards life, great circle of friends who they are always depended upon for, and of course, seeking a relationship. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, doesn’t it? That’s until you eventually meet the person and discover that their profile is more of an ‘I want to be this person wish list’ instead of who they actually are – and it’s very clearly identified by their conversation and behavior.
The reason I brought up the online component first is that we discovered back in October’s column, an astounding 95% of readers believed that people drop social courtesy and politeness to behave differently in online forums than they do in person – this result reflects not just how people behave during interactions, but also how they portray themselves and their identities – and for this to translate properly they actually have to model themselves into a more attractive identity that isn’t descriptive of their current state.
In my (and the people’s company on the patio I was sharing) experiences, it was generally found that the most genuine and authentic engagements they’ve shared with people were not from being told what to think about a person (either through self-description or in online text) but with minimally written (or spoken) self-description and more of a self-learning, explorative process of discovering who someone was – the other person was comfortable and confident enough in their current state that they didn’t feel compelled to try to direct their impression and allowed the other person the opportunity of forming their own.
In your own experiences, have you developed more authentic relationships (friendship, romantic, or otherwise) with people you’ve been able to learn about yourself or from individuals who pre-educated themselves to you first?