Is pretense bad? It depends. I know, I know...that is the worst answer. But it's accurate. Of course we can all agree that pretense in many situations is horrible. I'm not going to argue that. However, there are so many scenarios where pretense is absolutely necessary. It's polite, it's social, and it's courteous. And honestly, I think as a society we are lacking that decorum more and more.
If you refuse to have any pretense in your life then you likely have very few friends, you probably get threatened with bodily harm from people regularly, and are referred to as psychotic or some other mental condition.
If you are on the end of the scale where you just abhor having to use pretense and only use it when you absolutely HAVE TO then you probably fight a lot with your family and significant other, get poor service, and wonder why so many conversations with others escalate to anger.
Pretense, when used in proper doses, works wonders in your relationship. It makes people treat you better at a restaurant or store. It opens the door to conversation and makes people feel comfortable. It allows you to have stronger friendships and relationships with your coworkers. It gives people around you self-esteem. It makes people think you are nice, pleasant, fun, open, and approachable.
What does the pretense that I'm referring to look like?
"You look great today!" "We would love to!" "Thank you so much, that was the best manchego I've had!" "Staying home tonight sounds great, we'll watch a movie!" "You are the power point master!" "This is the best bakery in town!" "It was so nice to meet you!" (I totally meant these if I've ever said them to you).
How do you know what the "proper dose" of pretense is? Try this:
- Is it giving someone a boost or deserved compliment? If so, then say it. I give you permission to be fake! Embrace it! It will be good for you...
- Is it detrimental to you to say or do this? If not, then say it.
- Are there any repercussions of saying it or not saying it? If not, then say it.
- Can you say it sincerely and nicely? If so, then say it. If not, tone it down until it sounds sincere and go back to question 1.