Ever wondered why you behave in a certain way when you are alone, when you are with your friends and family, and when you meet strangers. Under different circumstances your actions and reactions change according to the surroundings. For example, when you are working at your office or any other formal environment you don’t behave like a free bird like you do at home. Believe it or not, the presence of the picture below makes you conscious and alters the way you are reading this article. Why is it so? Why can’t we behave in a similar fashion no matter whom we are interacting with? Are we pretending to be someone else in front of others? Is there a fear of judgment? These questions need to be answered.
The first point of consideration is that our outlook is not only determined by who we are but also who all are around us. A number of people assume that they are wearing a mask especially in the formal settings or conversing with the old people. If there’s anger or frustrations inside we tend to hide them and keep them to ourselves. However, if we are alone or with our loved ones then we tend to express those emotions without any hesitation. There’s a reason for this difference. Our unconscious and subconscious mind understands that those you don’t know us, won’t be able to understand us because of the lack of facts and information. On the other hand those who have been with us, they know the reason behind everything we are doing or saying. Psychologists suggest that the emotions like love, friendship, trust develop due to these differences only. We develop a sense of mutual trust whom we share our feelings with, on the regular basis.
It is also important to mention that we alter our behavior mostly with the people we like. If we do not like anyone at all, we prefer to ignore them. Mirroring is a concept which explains our gestures and body language while interacting with a person. We tend to replicate the gestures of that person so that we can understand them better. For example if the person is telling a funny story, we listen with a smile on our face and we become serious when the environment is solemn. This all happens so fast and so naturally that we fail to realize this process. Mirroring happens only if we are taking interest in that conversation, otherwise not.
Some people propose that changing our behavior according to the people affects our performance. They say that it leads to lack of concentration and therefore we are less productive as a result of this. This is partially true. The effect on the performance is due to the fact that once we start paying attention to how others perceive us, it can cause unintended consequences in our work. However it doesn’t interfere with our performance if we do not allow ourselves to. The conscious mind can help you in such situation, thereby not allowing you to get distracted.
There’s another aspect to it that we ignore. The realization that our work is being watched by so many other people also improves our performance more often than we expect. The expectations set by others are also an important driving factor for most of the people. However that should not be confused with micro management of the work of an employee by his or her boss. Every person needs his or her space to perform but at the same time they need other people to recognize their work. But appreciation and recognition is necessary. And it has been proven time and again that the illusion of progress and recognition can boost the performance.
The bottom-line is that we need other people around us so that we can learn and experience different things and the changes in our behavior not only help us in growing but they are also essential for every social being. So next time you don’t have to worry about being yourself factor while interacting with others, instead you should get in to their shoes to understand them better.