Are you faking it to make it? You’re being fooled if you think you need to change all of who you are to be loved and be successful.
Certain personality types look like keys to unlocking the coolest social circles and dream job opportunities. What personality traits make for the perfect partner? It’s natural to adapt your persona to social situations and other personalities. Adaptability can go too far.
No sane person is going to jump off a cliff because everyone is doing it, but there is real risk to claiming a fake persona to make it in the world. It takes a toll on your health, relationships and career. Here are three dangerous personas you need to keep in check:
Ride or Die Chick
Being the ride or die chick is just a cool way of saying “I’ve got your back, and we’re for life,” right? While you may want to enjoy the ride, it’s also a conjugation of “ride it out” and “die trying.”
Loyalty is a trait you naturally seek out in relationships and in a valuable employee. Your value is measured by how much you’re willing to sacrifice and how far you’re willing to go, and you can only hope you’ll get back what you give.
The keyword here is “willing.” Yet, “ride or die” promotes an almost mob or clique vibe. It implies the ultimatum — do, or die. Riding anything out for too long places you at risk to lose parts of your self-identity and opportunities, even sticking around when a toxic relationship has become your whole life. What about your hopes and dreams?
Recognize when you’re being pushed too far and aren’t willing to give up your core values. Develop strong boundaries, accept your fears, and practice saying “No” more often. Real ride or die people in your life will accept and respect all of you.
When new to a city or in college, you’re scrambling to network and dip your toe in every social pool possible. There are brewery tours, after work drinks, zip lining, volleyball battles, dinners, daycations, galas…
From afar, the person who is always up for a drink, a game and a last minute trip is driven, fun and successful — and has so many friends! How can you afford to do all of these activities, much less have the energy for it? This social butterfly has to be super organized and have life together, right?
It’s easy to envy and admire the social butterfly and believe that you can do it, too. The costs of doing so much adds up, without balancing social and personal needs. You end up wearing yourself out at work or school, getting into debt and abusing alcohol just to keep up. Sometimes you don’t notice when your habits become addictions. Left unchecked, your actual life ends up in danger.
Adulting is important. Do the boring things. Set up auto-pay to take care of bills first. Do your laundry. Realize your personal needs also encompass self-care. Realize when you need to chill. Binge-watching a show or staying into work on a passion project can involve friends, too. Invite your people over for a night in.
When going out, prioritize what you actually enjoy and ditch the excess. Ask yourself which social obligations are really necessary. Are you passionate about art? Make gallery hops your thing. Choose between Social Saturdays and Thirsty Thursdays.
Balance is key, and you have to make yourself happy first, before you can make others happy.
Type A has gotten a bad rap in the past, being used to represent someone who is anal retentive, obsessive and will do anything to succeed. The Type A drive comes off narcissistic and without empathy for others.
Real narcissists don’t hide they fact that they’re narcissists, even though they may make good leaders, according to scientists; who also claim that millennials are the most self-centered generation. Social media enables this generation to share everything with the world, and other generations aren’t used to that. Self-esteem, self-growth and marginalized voices may be explored at a click. There’s a difference between being self-aware and knowingly exploiting others or being an exhibitionist, all traits on the spectrum of narcissism.
Everyone is somewhere on that spectrum, but narcissism in the Type A persona becomes dangerous when everything is sacrificed on the road to success. You may be guilty of identifying yourself as a hard worker and go-getter when you’ve become a warring workaholic and dismiss anything that doesn’t fit the picture of success you have painted for yourself.
Realize that success means many things, that it’s necessary to slow down, be vulnerable and even fail sometimes. Don’t work yourself to death or to a heart attack. Many professionals who mature in life find success takes new forms in the little things.
There is a difference between natural adaptability, self-growth and utterly giving up your authentic self to fit into the crowd. Is it really worth it, in the end, when the cost may be your values, health, relationships or what you really want to do with your life? Instead, recognize and honor your unique talents, personality and ways in which you need to grow.