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Thursday Thoughts - Be Yourself


I am always puzzled by people who act one way when you are alone with them, and then totally different when they are in the presence of someone else. 

I once worked with a young woman who was intelligent, confident and caring. She was a great employee and a fun person to work with.  From time to time a group of staff would go to lunch together, and on occasion her husband would just us.  He was on the police force, and a rather arrogant, intimidating sort.  When he was present, she became a timid, unsure adolescent. In part, I didn't blame her, because anything she contributed to the conversation he either corrected her or contradicted her.  In short, a real ass.  We always groaned if he showed up to join us for lunch, and I often suspected he wasn't a very nice person at home either.  I was actually happy when I heard a few years later, after she left the agency, that they had divorced. I am sure she was glad to be able to be herself again, at least I hope so!

I went thru a similar experience in my last marriage.  It lasted nearly thirteen years, and by the time I stumbled out the door I barely resembled the person I was when we'd first met.  I didn't know who I was, what I believed, or what I even liked anymore.  I did know I was tired, and miserably unhappy.  I'm sure I wasn't much fun for other folks to be around.  It took me a full year to recover my sense of self.

Now I work in a situation where two of my coworkers are nice, friendly, intelligent folks.  We care about each other, converse on many topics, share information about clients and other work-related issues, and in short get along just fine.  I like them.  But, when the third co-worker, the "bad apple" of our bunch, is present, they both take on a totally different persona., laughing at her crudeness, whispering behind backs, making unkind comments about clients, and being distant and uncooperative...  changing just as if someone had flipped a switch.  Huh?  I find myself often wondering "Who are you, really?"  I certainly don't trust folks like that!  If you are so easily swayed, or intimidated by someone with a bigger than life attitude, that you can't just relax and be yourselves in her presence, then well, that's pretty sad, I think!

I treasure people who are themselves.  They don't have to be perfect - I know I'm certainly not, and they don't have to change to suit me, they just need to have some continuity of personality and behavior so that I know where they stand and that I can count on them.  I get annoyed with folks who act like they are my friend one day, and the next seem to hardly know me.  Sounds like grade school stuff, doesn't it?  Yup!

I am pretty much a "what you see is what you get" person.  Not one for games, pretences, or false faces.  I try to be friendly and get along with everyone, but if I find myself having to guess which person you are being today, I probably won't spend much time building a relationship.  I am all about being real.  How about you?

8 comments:

  1. There are many facets to someone's personality, so although I'm always me, I'm also different depending on who I'm with. I can be crude with my sisters but not with some friends. Or outspoken with some but not with others who are a bit more sensitive. It all depends on the person...did any of that make sense? lol

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    1. I agree,Lily, we are all mutifaceted and temper our actions and commentary to our audience. My issue is with folks who don't stay true to their core values, who are easily swayed to participate in something that isn't really them. It is easy to be duped into being a follower of someone who will lead us over the cliff.

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  2. It is much easier when you can trust that no matter what, a person is the person you know them to be. But life and circumstances sometimes change people. I am talking about over time, not the bad apples of the day. Those make it difficult. Those people I avoid.
    I am too old to play games, and refuse to waste time on superficialities. I am Me, and those who love me accept my ebbs and tides, because they know I am being real. I may change my mood on a given day, but I am always Me. My personality, my spirit, my heart, are always genuine and true.

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    1. Yes Annie, it is sad when people become someone different from over time, when they become strangers to us. The bad apples of the day drive me crazy, one often hears "just ignore them", but this is much easier said than done when working in a team environment where what one does, or doesn't do, impacts the next person's ability to do their job. I agree that we all have our ebbs and tides, I know I certainly do, but I like to think that the solid part of who I am can be trusted, that one day I wont show myself to be someone else entirely. I know you to be genuine and real. I like that about you!

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  3. I think you’ve gotten some very good answers already. Josie. Even those of us who insist on being true to ourselves always, may find that they are inspired in a special way by some people. It could be that for your two coworkers, it is very important to find a common ground with all the people that they relate to. And when they are with you, they find it very comfortable to relate in such a way that is benevolent for all of you. But that when the ‘bad apple’ joins the crowd, they don’t want to have a confrontation with her, or to cause her to feel left out… maybe there are other more complex reasons… maybe they have a bit of rowdiness in them that has to be ‘let out’ on occasion, but the don’t feel that you would appreciate it… whatever. But if you enjoy the time spent with them, I would make the most of that, and not be too quick to judge them, when they’re in the company of ‘bad apple’.

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    1. I agree with your thoughts Shimon. The only time it becomes an issue for me is when the exercising of those rights to be "yourself" interferes with my rights as a person or as an employee, or my ability to get the job done.

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  4. I have a very good "bullshit meter" and I can pretty much see how a person is by being around them a few times. I don't really get too close to people for awhile for this reason!

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    1. That's probably a wise way to approach things, Kristi, to reserve judgement. I hope your new work place has lots of truly friendly, caring folks. I think you'd be so much fun to work with! :-)

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