Have you ever sat in a room and just stared ahead unable to move your face into a smile? By 3pm I often can’t even formulate words let alone put a smile together. I often push through such a state of being. I manage to fake it. I will fake being upbeat and having high energy and by the time I get home I feel completely spent. But I try and I try. What drives me crazy at times is when people can’t even fake it.
For instance, there are some people who do not care to say hello in the morning. They just don’t bother to. A “hello” is apparently too much to fake. Civility most definitely by the wayside. There are also those people that don’t bother to hide their animosity towards one another even though a sense of professionalism should carry one through the workplace day. Or so we are told when we fist enter the workforce and leave our childhood playgrounds behind. Yet, have you seen our national political debates in the United States. I think they all stopped faking it a long time ago. Honestly, when did discourse become so uncivil? There was a time when politicians faked their friendliness by holding babies and petting dogs or was that vice versa? Now they are exhorting supporters to drag someone out of the space.
There are a few television shows currently on air that are all about faking it. There is one that is actually called “Faking It.” It is about these two girls who desperately tried to be part of the “it” crowd but failed miserably until one day they were mistaken for being a lesbian couple. Instead of letting people know their perceptions about them was wrong they went with it. They decided to go all in on their “faking it” scheme. Of course, that television show is on MTV. The birthplace of faking it on the “Real World” where every cast member is a stereotype at best and at worst a full on trope. Actually, I don’t readily know how a trope is worse than being a stereotype just seemed to fit the mood of this piece.
There is also another television show called “Younger” about a 40 something year old woman reentering the workforce who has to pretend to be 27 in order to succeed. The first season was a bit funny. Its second season is just a constant rehash and ends up feeling “old”. You know why? Here is why.
After a while, faking it just becomes tiring and takes too much energy and concentration to maintain. People like to say they are keeping it real and being authentic. I will tell you something. It is not about being authentic. It is just about being tired. I say to those people that are too tired to fake saying hello that they should then move on. I understand being tired of faking it. However, faking it is necessary at times in order to maintain civility and decorum. And when you can no longer be fake, and need to show your true mean-spirited, angry bedside manner, it is time to pack up and go.
The funny thing about those that can no longer fake it is that their disengagement creates very odd situations that make us reflect on how we can be better (at faking it).