“You change the world by being yourself.” — Yoko Ono
I have a tendency to filter who I am depending on who I’m having a conversation with. It’s not that I’m lying or trying to create a false impression, rather, I’m looking for similar interests or things I don’t know about but am curious about so that I can ask questions about what excites the other person.
“Oh, you like to cook? What something you’ve cooked recently you’ve enjoyed? What are some go-to dishes you cook frequently?”
“You’re a martial artist? Tell me about your experiences. How did you get into it? Can you think of any big lessons you’ve learned from your practice that you’ve applied to your life?”
“How do you like being a mom? What’s it like raising kids in the digital age?”
When I meet someone like me—someone who is interested in many things—I’ll nerd out of course. But more often than not I’m filtering who I am to be more compatible with the person I’m talking to.
Is this a bad thing? I’m not entirely sure. As a multidisciplinary, I have a wide variety of interests, whereas most people only have a few things they are drawn too. This is likely why I’m good at being a podcast interviewer (once I get over the initial nervousness of talking to someone I admire or someone I haven’t met before!)
Think of it this way: If friendship were a series of concentric circles, then the close relationship in the innermost ring gets all of me (…cue John Legend song). My likes and dislikes. My thousand projects and interests. Books I’m reading. Problems I’m struggling with. And as you go further out, you get less and less about me. For example, if we just met (hi, how are you?) then perhaps you only know that I’m a writer or a designer.
The bigger issue with this kind of personality filtering is that a lot of people won’t know about all the cool things you are creating or how deep your interests go. They only know a piece of you. I’d say there are quite a few people that I personally know that don’t know I’ve written a thousand blog posts in a row, or that I even have a blog! That’s bad marketing on my part, for sure.
I think filtering yourself for strangers is fine, but there needs to be something you do or somewhere you give all of yourself to. A place where all of your interests and ideas and personal philosophies are out in the open. We do ourselves a disservice when we always compartmentalize ourselves to everyone.
Besides, who cares if you are too much for someone? Start slow, of course. But let yourself be known. Be your whole weird self. Let your freak flag fly. Can two friends have differences in tastes and opinions? Of course. But if someone can’t handle who you are—all of you—then maybe they aren’t worth your time.
STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1001