8 Times Most People Are Faking It

By Paul Michael on 11 December 2014 1 comment

Before we go any further: This will not be an article about faking it in the bedroom.

No, this is about those times when people are faking a reaction, opinion, or some other kind of sentiment — "faking it" to save face, save someone's feelings, or something a little more sinister. (See also: 5 Signs Someone's Being a Fake)

So take a look and then keep your eyes sharp next time you find yourself in one of these situations.

1. Opening Presents

You would have to be the luckiest person on Earth to get everything you want every single time. And yet, we all react in that exact way. I tell my kids that it's okay to tell little white lies, and when it comes to opening presents, that's what they will do (most of the time). How many times have you received a real stinker of a gift, but faked a smile, laughed, or just squealed with joy. You thank everyone, and when they leave, you figure out if it's something you can regift, return, sell, or put in the pile marked "thrift store donations." If you're doing it, everyone's doing it. C'est La Vie.

2. Listening to Vacation Stories

"And then, we went on this beautiful hike through the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Oh, the air, it was so fresh you could have bottled it and sold it on eBay. I saw a bird… what was it Harold? Oh, it's on the tip of my tongue..." It's polite to listen to the stories of people who have just returned from vacation. But after the first few minutes, most people go into autopilot mode, smiling and nodding at the right times, whilst really trying to figure out what to make for dinner.

3. Job Interviews

You are not yourself in a job interview. You are, for the most part, the best possible version of yourself (or at least the most professional). You smile more than usual. You sit upright and alert. You never swear. You are always inquisitive and never give a negative reaction. You make Mr. Rogers look like Mr. T. Fortunately, the interviewer is faking it, too. You are both being versions of yourselves that are fake; but this is not only acceptable, it's expected. Ironically, most people can get a feel for the other person within the first few seconds, so all the fakery afterwards is just a wasted effort.

4. "Does This Make Me Look Fat?"

It may be a variation of that. Like "do you like my new haircut?" or "how about these new shows?" Whether you're a man or a woman, most of the time you will be faking it. No one, ever, wants to hear that the new dress they just bought makes them look 20 pounds heavier. No one wants to know their haircut is a disaster, or their shiny new shoes are actually a nightmare. So, you fake it. We all fake it. "You look fabulous."

5. Meeting the Parents (or Boyfriend/Girlfriend)

Everyone is faking it when they first meet potential in-laws or their friend's new partner. "Do you like him?" will rarely, if ever, be met with "actually, I can't stand him. He sucks. And his breath stinks." No, we all fake it for a while. Emphasis on "a while." If we see that the person is not good for our friend or relative, and things are getting serious, we'll intervene. But that first meeting, it's all niceness.

6. Dinner at a Friend's House

It doesn't have to be a friend. It could be a relative, the boss, or anyone else who invited you over for a bite. Not everyone is faking it of course; there are times when you will genuinely love the food being served. But most of the time, people act like they're being served nectar of the gods when it is, in fact, not all that good. It's the polite thing to do. When someone asks "how's dinner?" who is really going to say "it's ok, but it's totally lacking salt and the meat is dry." Yeah. Just fake it.

7. At the Doctor's

File this one under "dangerous but true." Doctor's have said time and again that we all need to tell them the 100%, no BS, lay-it-on-the-line truth. Do we? No. Most of us vastly underplay how much bad food we eat, exaggerate how much exercise we do, and generally give the doctor a fake version of ourselves. This, of course, it just a really bad idea. If the doctor doesn't have a complete picture, he or she cannot treat you accurately. And you know, most of the time they can smell your fakery a mile away anyway. Just be honest about how much you drink, eat, smoke, and exercise.

8. The First Date

This is very similar to a job interview. If you think about it, you're both interviewing for the open position of girlfriend or boyfriend. You are never going to be yourself, the real, unadulterated you, on the first date. It's a time when farting and belching is no longer allowed. Your table manners suddenly get a massive improvement. You're laughing at awful jokes, and pretending that the dessert he or she picked out was just divine. Fake. But, this is also a common part of courtship, and we all know that this will pass. Hopefully, not too soon though.

When do you fake it? Please spill in comments!

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How often are you swearing that an interview is the only time you are not?