The world is a stage, and we are the actors. Everyone has a role to play in this story, and a script to follow. But life is the ultimate improv show, so many times we stray away from the given lines and freestyle. Sometimes, we are given a role to play, and we may not agree. We will show that we are cut out for the lead role, not just a cameo. I thought about this and began to realize that if life’s a stage, then everyone follows multiple scripts. This made think of the new Showtime original series, House of Lies.
Charming, fast talking Marty Kaan and his crack team of MBA-toting management consultants are playing America’s 1 percent for everything they’ve got. They put the con in consulting as they charm smug, unsuspecting corporate fat cats into closing huge deals, and spending a fortune for their services. Twisting the facts, spinning the numbers, and spouting just enough business school jargon to dazzle the clients, there’s no end to what this crew won’t do to and for each other, while laughing all the way to the bank. Watching this great show made me think of all the swindles and acts we put on daily, whether intended or subconsciously. Are we all living in individual houses of lies? What makes us lead different lives in our interactions with people?
In all aspects of our life, we are cast in different roles. I think about a normal day in my life, and I feel like I have multiple personalities. There’s the work me, who is professional, articulate, and restrained whole retaining a modicum of my “real personality.” There’s the family me, who confides and shows loves for his blood relatives; the ones that I grew up with, who know my Haitian name (which I will never reveal lol) and have seen me at my best and worst. There’s the friend version of me, who is a combination between family and professional me, depending on our relationship. I would probably talk about different stuff with friends versus family, and have the free reign to do all types of hoodrat things without fear of judgment. You have the relationship version of me who shows focused interest in my woman, who knows when to pick and choose battles, who is full of love, support, and rationale, and who puts more pressure on her goal than an English Premiere league football club. You also have the online persona, who writes blogs, comments on world events, and has little sense at times, but will have you in tears!
In outlining all that, I wonder is my life a lie? Am I just living life by the rules that best suit me and playing whatever part is needed for me to succeed? Who is the real me? They say that there is a time and place for everything, so maybe I have a sense I decorum for given situations. I also makes me wonder how many other personalities I harbor in my mind. For that matter, how many do other people carry with them.
As you get to know someone and friends become business partners, teammates, or even lovers, you see the lines start to blur. You can tell that the multiple lives people lead are more like segmented parts of their personality. They put on a “show” for the different circles they inhabit. When you interact with different groups of people, you learn to adopt the customs and rules of communication. At work, you may use technical terms that those unfamiliar with your field may not recognize. At home, you may use a totally different type of slang than around anyone else.
The other item to consider is the resistance to have your different social circles collide. Some people don’t want coworkers to know anything about their personal life. You have no desire to let your work self and your social self be known as the same person. We build invisible walls and treat our personal life as our secret identity. We wear a mask at work and don’t want to reveal ourselves for fear of blurred lines of social interaction. I know that I joke and say crazy things with friends that I might not want to say around coworkers, and vice versa. This is why most bloggers with day jobs have aliases. You spend at least a third of your day at work, around your coworkers. You want to keep certain parts of your life to yourself, which forces us to be different people at different times. You may not even want certain groups or organizations with which you affiliate to interact with other social groups, just so that you have escapes. Social media has sliced degrees of separation into fractions, so its difficult to keep those social lines distinct.
We follow codes of conduct within our personal and professional circles. These codes may require us to act differently, or in an “accepted” way, but it doesn’t make us fake. We are different individuals, depending on what we want to show others. Some situations call for us to change, others we choose. It’s intriguing to watch daily interactions and realize that we have multiple personalities, all controlled by the environments we inhabit. The question remains, does this make us fake, or tactful?
Do you have multiple lives? How do you separate your different social circles? What are the advantages and disagvantages?