I hate feeling the need to fake it just to fit in

Most of the people in my office are old fogies, but there are two coworkers who are my age. I consider them as friends. We visit each other in our respective cubicles every couple of hours, swapping giggly stories in whispered voices, and eat lunch together. I know we probably annoy some of the older, crochechty guys who would never deign to socialize at work, but we are hard workers and get our shit done. So bump them.

I just moved up here a few months ago and it’s not easy for me to make friends, so I feel lucky.

But one thing that is hard for me is when the conversation turns to boys. Yes, “boys” even though we’re all in our 30s (ugh, I’m still not used to that!). The other day, one of my friends asked us if we had any crushes on anyone, and I was suddenly transformed back to middle school. I almost thought she was going to whip out her M.A.S.H list. My other friend started in with her list of “cuties”–with lots of whispered giggles and excited hand-clapping.

Then the two of them looked at me and said, “Well, monstro. What about you?”

I said “Anderson Cooper” and I won their approval.

But I was lying. To be sure, I like him as a reporter and I agree that he’s handsome, but I don’t have a crush on him. I don’t have a crush on anyone. Not only that, I’ve never had a crush on anyone. But I couldn’t tell them that, because you don’t lay that kind of information on people at work, even if they are your friends. I’m already the Phoebe Buffay-Sinclair James-Rose Nyland “weird” one of the trio. So I’m afraid one more other revelation and I would be on the ousts. Yeah, just like middle school.

So I keep lying, because that’s all they talk about (while my favorite topics are food, politics, and cats). I make up some fantasy crush, some guy I met in the elevator, some “hot” man I saw on TV the night before, just to fit in. One day they will ask me to share details of an old boyfriend or dating horror stories, and I will have to lie then too. Then, when they get married, I will have to invent my own “dear husband”, just so I can keep up with them. I need to start writing up the stories now and reciting them to myself so that they will roll off my tongue naturally when it comes time to tell them.

I know it’s pathetic. And I know someone will chime in with “Well, if they’re your true friends, they won’t care. They’ll like you anyway.” And that might be true. But I don’t feel like having integrity and being brave enough to test it out. I want to fit in for once in my life, painlessly and without embarrassment. Is that so terrible?

I’m betting the gay and lesbian Dopers can relate, but I’m wondering if other Dopers find themselves “faking” sometimes.

That sounds childish behaviour, not that my workplace is the model of professionalism - we talk about relationships but I have never discussed who has crushes on whom, that just sounds weird. When I lived in Japan, the women seem to stay young and giggley longer than here, I remember being quite shocked to find a friend in her 30s had posters of sumo wrestlers on her bedroom walls not to mention soft toys strewn about…but I never joined in the giggling, just was myself.
I have feined interest to keep the group happy, but these days I can’t be bothered. I’ve always been one to go home when I’ve found the party boring or speak out if I think something is a bad idea etc - you just have to be prepared for how others will view you.

Do these women not just go up to guys and ask them out if they think they are cute? Why do they behave this way?
Are you saying that you don’t fancy men or women sexually?

  1. They’re not your “true friends”, they’re just office pals. It doesn’t matter so much what they think of you.
  2. I hate lying. It makes me feel awful. I advise you to stop doing it.
  3. You don’t have to say your real feelings on a topic just because they happen to bring it up. Just gently change the subject. These women don’t seem like the type to be interested in politics, but try food and cats.

On the other hand, once you’ve started, it’s awfully hard to stop, except by small degrees, and over a long period of time.

How long you there in Richmond for, monstro?

It’s okay to be considered bizarre and strange by your co-workers, so long as they understand you pull your weight. I’m not actually sure I’m the strangest person in my office, but I have that appearance because I am least concerned about maintaining a facade of conventionalism. It’s win-win. We entertain each other. Yesterday I was talking about Vegan-friendly pleather bondage gear that I came across in a thread here – ok, I got some strange looks, but a lot of laughs.

Say what you think, even if it seems crazy. You’ll be amazed how many people will cozy up to you later and whisper, “I was thinking exactly the same thing.” If they don’t – screw 'em, they’re no fun.

Two things…
1)This can be a slippery slope. I had a best friend for several years in high school. We were very very good friends. After knowing her for a few years, and talking to some of her other friends, I realized she was a pathological liar. Not only to she lie constantly, she lied about things she didn’t need to lie about. We eventaually figured it out when we realized things she told us individually didn’t jive. Anyways, I know these people don’t seem to be more then office pals and it doesn’t sound like your doing this constantly, but you still need to be careful, you’ll wind up excommunicated and embarressed.
Don’t mean to be mean, but it’s something you should think about.

Is this you?

Neither. For whatever emotional/physical reason, I lack certain desires that seem inherent in humans.

I guess as much as I’d like to believe number 1, I really can’t. I really enjoy having these “office pals”. I like getting along with my coworkers and being able to talk to people (and have them talk to me) without it being solely about work. I like knowing that someone will say “hi” to me when I come into the office. Without these women, I wouldn’t have these things. I wouldn’t have anything to look forward to in my workaday life, as pathetic as that sounds.

About number 2, I don’t like being a liar, but my lies seem so small and trivial and harmless. And the chance of being found out seems infinitesimal. I guess the pragmatic part of me thinks, “Why not?” But I know you’re right.

And number 3 only works so many times before it becomes quite obvious. And also, it’s rude. I hate when people switch the topics that I’ve brought up in a conversation, so I wouldn’t like to do that to someone else.

I guess till I get found out. :smiley:

I’d like to settle down here and stay for awhile. I like it here in History City.


Wow. I don’t like you at all anymore.

Crap! You were right!!

:dubious: Actually, that seems entirely your business, and I can’t imagien thinking to myself, “Wow - better stop talking to HER ( or HIM)” if such a revelation were made.

Well, maybe you could solve your dilemma by learning to tell the truth a little more strategically. In other words, if someone shows you a picture of their small child, and the small child is ugly, you can always say “oh, he’s adorable!” 'Cause you know the parent adores him, right?

In your workplace, when asked who you have a crush on, you could respond with something like, “Oh, well, I wouldn’t say I have a crush on him, but I think Anderson Cooper’s very handsome!” If you use the right tone of voice, it will work just fine.

And you don’t have to make up random elevator men. Just relate real stuff in a strategic way. “This guy at the gym kept staring at me! Yeah, he was pretty cute, I guess, but not really my type…” You don’t have to tell them that he was staring at you because you were grunting on the stairmaster, or that he wasn’t your type because nobody’s your type.

If pressed for details of old boyfriends or dating horror stories…well, you can always do a little conversational shift. Like, “I’ve had a few bad experiences, sure, but nothing like what happened with my friend Jane’s ex!” Then relate that story.

This strategy allows you to participate in the conversation while not creating a web of lies which will catch up with you.

When you say you’ve never had a crush, you mean you’ve never had an attraction to anyone, or you just wouldn’t classify it as a “crush” per se? That is, are you asexual?

I believe the correct answer in that situation is “breathtaking.”

Yack! And how is this not lying? This is the example I came in to provide. When people bring their children in for everyone to coo about, I try to be busy with emergency work, but if that’s not possible, then I try to be silent. But I’ve probably mustered up ‘cute kid’ once or twice. And I’d put that in the same class as the OP. . . lying to fit in.

So to the OP–yeah, I know how it feels. Sigh. I think it’s good that you’re noticing because I agree with some of the others that it can creep up on you (general you which includes me) pretty quickly that you’re going along to get along and that starts to feel icky after a while.

It would be really cool if you were asexual and started an “Ask The” thread. Just sayin’. Fascinating topic, and I would think, a rare thing.

Me too. And sometimes I do feel bad about making up stories. I don’t exactly lie directly I guess. I sort of skirt the issue at hand, drop a few hints, give a few “knowing looks” and people generally fill in the details themselves which seems to satisfy them. Makes me feel weird at times but I’m not so sure the unvarnished truth is such a good idea either. I’ve tried that experimentally a time or two and the results were not pleasing. It made me feel way too vulnerable as well.

I can’t think of anything that I fake to fit in. Usually if the group is talking about something that I have no interest in I will sneer in my most condescending way and say: I can’t believe you still do that!

This usually earns me a lot of bashing and ribbing and no one really seems to mind that I’m not interested.

Saying you have a crush on someone when you don’t isn’t the worst thing you can do. OK, feeling like you have to lie to them so that you fit in or so that they accept you is not fun and although you did lie in this instance, this is really where it has to stop.

Telling a little white lie to save a social situation is one thing, but you’re heading into murky waters when you start inventing things simply to satisfy them and make them think you’re “just like us”.

BTW, I always say “oh, how cute” where babies are concerned 'cos new mothers, well, they’re purely irrational. It’s the hormones, you know!

I think Green Bean’s advice is very good (although the classic comment for a repulsive baby is “interesting”). You don’t have to lie and make up crushes. If these people actually become real friends and not just office buddies, the lies will come out eventually, anyway.

Maybe you can meet some folks through political organizations or cooking classes, where the friendship will be based on areas of mutual interest and gossip about relationships won’t be the main thing, the way it is in an office setting.

I know what you mean. I told a couple of people I had befriended when I lived in Miami the “truth”, and the world didn’t explode. But it was hard not to feel like I had exposed myself too much. I didn’t want to field questions from them (“Have you gone to the doctor?” “Are your periods regular? Because maybe it’s hormonal.” “Maybe you’re just shy?”), but of course they had them. Who wouldn’t? It made me embarrassed and regretful, though I still consider the two people friends (albeit long-distance ones).

Work friends are just that…WORK friends! Sometimes you make a friend at work that you want to have an actual friendship with but mostly work friends are people who make your work day more pleasant.

A little white lie never killed anyone. Consider it creative story telling that you are doing while being paid! If your work mate is drooling over STUD-OF-THE-DAY and it seriously doesn’t make you question your morals and you want to keep up the happy little work friendship, then just say MMMMMM.

Then swiftly change the subject to what a pain in the arse customer A is.

Work mates are great but they are just that WORK mates.

Now you know why the crotchety older folk are that way. They’ve listened to years and years of this balderdash at work and are tired of pretending to care.