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When You Should Fake It

Sep 1, 2007
As a therapist, I never tell people to lie. In fact, I don't believe in lying, especially to your mate, if you want to have a happy healthy relationship. I believe in confronting issues head on. But sometimes in life, you need to fake it until you make it, or until you can get a handle on the situation to straighten it out. Especially in some social situations, faking it can be the savvy, most appropriate way to handle the situation.

Here are 10 different situations where "faking it" is the smartest thing to do:

1) Fake confidence. The phrase "Fake it" til you make it," is most often used when talking about faking confidence, and for good reason. In fact, most people are faking confidence in many areas of their life, and you're probably believing their act and feeling insecure. Confidence in oneself makes others attracted to you and eager to buy whatever it is you're selling, so if you're not feeling it, fake it until you do. In fact, faking confidence actually makes your confidence level rise for real!

2) Fake knowing more than you do about a subject, especially when in an interview or in front of a boss or client. It doesn't pay to tell them you don't know the answer, as they may use it against you. Act like you know the answer, but you simply don't have the time to get into it right now. Then find out the information quickly, and get back to them as soon as possible. Doing this makes people respect you. This is different than being a "know-it-all," as that makes people avoid you.

3) Fake that you're not angry with your mate or family member when in public, and wait to get them home alone before you go off on them. People don't need to or want to hear your family squabbles. Besides, expressing your anger in public, even when the person deserves it, makes you look like the bad guy.

4) Fake being affected by (hurt or angry) your mate's behavior if and when he (or she) is controlling or abusive with you. There is nothing that a controlling person enjoys more than to get a reaction out of you, so don't give him one. Instead, to get the power back from him, act like you could care less what he says, does, or that he even exists.

5) Fake that you like your inlaws, his children, his friends, or his boss (if he likes him) long enough to be polite to them for short periods of time. If not, you will create an issue between you and his family (or friends or work) that he may never forgive you for. That doesn't mean that in private you shouldn't tell him that this person's behavior is not okay with you and that he needs to set some boundaries with him or her, or you or going to.

6) Fake getting his (and friend's) jokes, especially when in a large group of people, so as not to embarrass them. Either that or act like you have a problem getting jokes in general.

7) Fake recognizing someone who comes up to you, while you try to figure out who they are. This gives you time to put clues together so you'll remember. Also, be sure and tell your mate that you are going to do this, and that he should help you by always introducing himself if you pause and don't introduce him. This buys you time and forces this person to have to tell him who they are.

8) Fake knowing negative information or news about your mate if someone gossips to you about him (unless the person is a very close friend). This helps both of you save face. Then you can discuss it with him when you get home and ask him why he didn't tell you this information. Example: "You know George didn't graduate from college, didn't you?" Or, "You know he used to date her, don't you?" Often, the person is trying to hurt you or cause trouble, and although it may end up causing trouble, the "gossiper" doesn't get the reaction he or she wants.

9) Fake being interested in the details of his (or her) job so that he will feel supported. That doesn't mean that you listen to this for hours or that you can't ask him to tell you more personal details rather than the technical ones he's sharing. Asking him to change how or what he shares with you can often make it more interesting so you don't have to fake it.

10) Fake liking a gift. People get their feelings hurt easily when you don't like something they gave you, especially if they put time and energy into it. You don't have to go on and on and lie about how much you love it, but you need to seem appreciative. Later you may say, "Those ear rings don't look right on me, would you mind if I traded them for a pair I've looked at that match a necklace I have?" But when you first open the gift, fake that you like it, even if it's just the gesture you rave about, "How sweet of you to think of me!"

Again, as a therapist, I am not recommending that you lie or be fake in general. But in these few instances, being fake helps save the situation and is the smart and appropriate thing to do.
About the Author
Carolyn Bushong, a Denver,CO licensed therapist, helps
couples and singles in her office, on-line, by phone.
Author of: Loving Him Without Losing You, Bring Back
the Man You Fell in Love With, The 7 Dumbest Relationship Mistakes. Has appeared on Oprah. http://www.carolynsays.com 303-333-1888
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