At least once in our lifetime, we’ve all heard the phrase “fake it ’til you make it.” While the phrase has good intentions – fake enthusiasm until you feel enthusiastic, or be kind until you feel kindness – it’s had more of a negative than positive cultural effect. Maybe the phrase itself hasn’t created negativity, but its connotations have. “Fake it ’til you make it” implies that you are faking who you are or what you believe in order to get to some point where you no longer need to “fake it”, but I think the “making it” part is usually forgotten. Faking should not be seen as a means of achieving success in any situation. I mean, when we’re at a 7:30 AM meeting and we’re faking enthusiasm until we feel enthusiastic…that’s pretty much necessary. But faking kindness? Faking friendship? It doesn’t really work in those situations, but that’s started to become the pattern…and being “fake” in general needs to stop.
It’s easier to be sickly sweet and fake than to be open and honest with another person. It’s easier to write someone off as someone we dislike and then putting on a front instead of actually taking the time to get to know them. It’s easier to be fake and condescending to a person than to be real. Now I’m not saying that if we dislike someone we should tell them point-blank that we do or why we do…
I’m saying that the answer is not to be fake.
If we dislike someone, our default shouldn’t be to pretend to like them. We should still treat them with respect, but not dishonesty. It’s easy to know when people are being fake, and it really hurts, and I would frankly prefer brutal honesty to an insult coated with a false compliment. I’ve witnessed people condescend to me, and it’s insulting. It feels as if they think they’re on a much more intelligent level than you because they can condescend to you…and they seem to believe that you’re too ignorant to notice.
Bottom line: it’s better to be honest with people than to be fake. If you dislike someone, be civil. It’s better to be civil and carry ourselves with integrity than overkill it with flattery and fakeness. Because let’s be honest – nothing good comes from condescension, fakeness, or whatever you want to call it. Eventually, we all hear if someone isn’t being real with us, or we can sense it. Authenticity and honesty will always be respected. The same can’t be said for the alternative.