Do you ever "misrepresent" yourself?

Are you ever in situations where you intentionally try to hide aspects of your true nature - or even try to give the impression that you are other than you actually are?

I’m currently enjoying a number of bluegrass jams and festivals in a rather rural area. The majority of participants are extremely conservative and relgious. I am not, but I’m more interested in being friendly with these folk as we make music togather, rather than making friends. So I just smile a lot and ignore and deflect any political and religious comments others make.

These folk generally do not have tremendously advanced educatons, or terribly high incomes, so I am happy for them to not know that I am a lawyer with a pretty good income. Sometimes I feel guilty, like I am insulting these folk by assuming they would react somehow or another if they knew more about me. But I’m just getting involved in this community, and mainly just don’t want anything to get in the way of my participating in these jams.

The only times I have actually said anything untrue is on the rare occasions when they asked what I do for a living. I just say something general like “I push paper” for my employer. Because it is very likely that in my official capacity I have dealt with someone they know or are related to.

Anyone else have any situations in which you either actively tried to hide or downplay some aspect of yourself? Why did you do that, and how did it make you feel?

I am constantly pretending to others that I give a damn about what they say. Seriously. I find myself saying things like, “Hmmm” or “Really? that’s interesting” just to make them think I’m engaged in the conversation when I’m actually just waiting for their mouth to stop moving so that I can make my getaway.

Is this crappy behavior? Not sure. At least I try to look concerned. So that’s something.

Really? What an interesting post! :wink:

You have to know your audience. A paper you write on the same topic will be different depending if its for a law class or an English class. I don’t think there is an issue playing to your audience. You have to do what it takes to get along in polite society.

I was a secretary when I started working, and learned that you can get a lot of business done “secretary to secretary.” I am not a secretary now, but will sometimes put that on to ease a business interaction.

I do it more or less all the time. I am intensely competitive about many things. But showing that to people is tacky, so I hide it.

I don’t think you’re really misrepresenting yourself, you’re just not exposing parts of yourself that you know would upset a relationship.

For example, I get along great with my boss; he listens when I have opinions on our work because he knows I have experience with a lot of this stuff that he doesn’t, I usually get his opinion when I have some gardening or home remodeling I’m looking at because he does that as a hobby, we have similar tastes in movies and tv so we chat about that. But politically, he’s very conservative and I’m more liberal - and when we get on those topics, there’s a bit of a religious fervor to the topic, so I just let him rant and wait for the conversation to turn to something we don’t disagree on. I don’t think he would retaliate if he found out my political leanings, but why ruin the relationship?

Pretty much any time I interact with other people, I’m misrepresenting myself as “normal.” I had to learn to do that when I first started working and needed to deal with clients or customers; in my real life I am unable to conduct pleasant small talk or even appear to pay attention.

I see what you did there.

My suggestion, and as a lawyer you should be an expert at it: never lie or be deliberately misleading, but be willing to keep the cards close to the chest. As people get to know you, they’ll be less judgemental as the truth gradually comes out.

And of course, never forget that while people can be uneducated and living in a practically mythological world due to how they were raised, it doesn’t mean they’re all stupid. So don’t be too surprised when, as your true nature comes out, some aren’t at all surprised.

Sorry to hear that you play bluegrass, but at least you’re not a blues player like me.

Sure. For example, I hide my atheism from my religious relatives. I don’t really need a discussion, they won’t convince me and I won’t convince them, not sure I’d even want to because I think religion is a comfort to many people.

I also hide the fact that I know much about computers because I don’t want to fix everyone’s computer.

I’ve also noticed like the OP that music tends to bring out groups of like-minded individuals. I find myself at bluegrass shows, country shows, rock shows, metal shows, and goth shows. All have their own crowds and I don’t go 100% for any of them but I can blend in.

I assume this to be very normal behavior, especially as people exist in various social circles.

Why? Because ego and judgement exist, among other things. In a better world, you could be all aspects of yourself at all times, without serious social consequences (or more), but it is what it is.

As to how it makes me feel, I’m largely indifferent for most daily interactions. It has more bearing when it comes to personal relationships, and at that level, I typically associate with people who are comfortable with my opinions, ideas, and attitudes, including when they differ.

Actually, it is kinda funny, because up in the Chicago area, a lot of the bluegrass players and fans impress me as being pretty far to the left - along the lines of folkie/hippy types. Whereas the more rural area where I currently find myself is just pretty darned conservative and religious across the board. I suspect the same might well hold true for many of the areas where bluegrass is the indigenous music. Lot of god-fearing folk up in the hills and down in the hollers!

So with bluegrass, at least, I sense there is a significant cultural difference between the southern/rural areas where it is a part of life, as opposed to morthern/metropolitan areas where it was imported as “entertainment.”

I married into a liberal family and go to a Catholic church where almost everyone is extremely liberal.

I bite my tongue quite a bit!

I never consciously misrepresent myself. It goes against my creed.

I have a baby face that makes me appear to be in my late 20s when I’m actually in my early 40s, so I unintentionally misrepresent myself all of the time. Deliberately, though? No. As others have mentioned, there’s a difference between misrepresenting yourself and keeping quiet to keep the peace.

I change accents, though I’m not sure where that falls. It can just make conversations easier, improve communication. They’re all facets of myself…kinda. OK, some are fake facets of myself. Oh well, it gets things done.

Opposite of this. I’m a member of a church of which most of the other members are very politically conservative. I flat out refuse to discuss politics with any of them. Several of them have said things that make it clear they assume because we agree on religion I’ll be voting the same way they are. I don’t make any effort to correct them.

Only my very closest friends know how I stand on religion and politics because I simply don’t discuss it in public.

I don’t find anything wrong with not bringing up something that might be objectionable. Like being a lawyer.

I have a few different careers (A, B, C, C1, D) going on at once. Depending on context, I will often claim that “I am an A-doer.” Typically, that kind of statement implies a full-time commitment to said career, but I like to preemptively avoid the “oh, you only do that work part-time, so you must not be that good at it/know as much as a real A-doer” assumptions that people often make.