Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Myriad of Personalities

Over a lifetime of years, developing relationships from family & friends to acquaintances , I find myself wondering if my personality changes from person to person. With each person, I think we act differently. We say one thing to one person, yet would never blurt the same thing out to another. What makes us act differently? Maybe the nature of the relationship? Maybe it’s the trust factor? Or maybe it’s the way someone else lets you be yourself, instead of putting up a total façade. Do we put up airs in front of certain people we want to impress?

Let’s start out with friends. I usually joke around and laugh with the friends who are lighthearted and fun. These friends aren’t offended very easily with sarcastic jokes or comments I make in jest. They don’t take things personally, unless it’s a personal attack on one’s integrity. Insults are much different from making a sarcastic joke. When you insult someone, you hurt them- possibly making them want to become distant from you or break up the friendship entirely. There are people in my life who are very conservative and a bit uptight. There’s nothing wrong with that- they’re just reserved a touch. I tend to not tell as many jokes or make remarks that would normally make my laid back friends laugh. I become a bit reserved myself around these types of people.

I have some friends who are overly sensitive. To even entertain the idea of joking around about someone else, or even them, makes them upset. Sometimes they conjure things up in their own head. For instance, I’ll say, “Gee, I think I put on a few pounds!” They’ll immediately think you’re talking about them! “Well, she probably noticed my hips look bigger in these pants- and that’s why she’s mentioning that!” Wrong. I’m mentioning it because my scale gave me a few hints. I literally go insane with these types of friends because their insecurity levels are so high, that it’s like walking on eggshells when being around them.

We all have our levels of insecurity. But when does it come to the point where we have to say, enough is enough? What baffles me even more is that most of the people who are like this are usually the beautiful / handsome ones that hold themselves well in social settings. Underneath, they’re a pile of nerves about to explode. I feel bad for them, but I can’t help but feel uneasy about being in their presence. I can only imagine how many of my friends are reading this right now thinking, “Is she talking about me?” Watch.

There has always been a huge pet peeve of mine. I have a few straight girlfriends that are literally chameleons when they get together with me and the rest of my friends. What happens is, they end up saying, “Well I don’t know if I’m gay or straight. I think I may be bi.” And that’s fine. But in my opinion, you would already know this since childhood. I firmly believe that if you are gay, lesbian or bi-sexual, then you would know before even toggling around if this was truth or not. Also, it irritates me when a girl wants to make me, or one of my other friends a complete guinea pig to the whole ‘gay scene’. This happened to me before I was in a long-term relationship, and I fell for it a few times. Now I see a few of my friends going through the ‘guinea pig phase’, and it always makes me cringe. I know they’re going to get burned in the end.

It’s interesting how much more careful we have to be in order to keep a stable friendship with certain people. This even trickles over into family. There are different and unique personality traits that have to be handled differently. For instance, I can joke about one thing to one sister, but kind of tone it down with another. All my sisters are great with my sense of humor- so I’m thankful. One of my sisters is just hysterical. If you tell her, “Hey, your hair looks great today,” she’ll turn around and say, “Why? What was wrong with it yesterday?” It’s cute. But I have learned to stay away from the word “today”. Another sister of mine will take offense to the word “cute”. “What a cute top that is!” She’ll quickly glance at you with a questionable look… “Cute?” She wants “sexy” to be the word-- “GORGEOUS” to be the key word with any garment she is wearing. Again, it’s funny. Another sister of mine will take offense to the many remarks *I* give her about the baby safe locks all over her cabinets and house…even her toilet. She takes this very seriously (which I think is great and it keeps kids out of dangerous stuff), but I can’t help but poke fun at her about it. Each cabinet, toilet, door, and window is securely locked to prevent anyone (including adults sometimes) from opening it. Thank God I’ve mastered the toilet lock, or she would have kicked me out of her house for clean up in aisle two.

So now I sit here, wondering which person in my life is going to send me that email asking, “Was that one part about me?”


Natalia said...

There is this thing that us in the communication field call codeswitching; that is to say, how you speak differently to different people. I think we also do trait switching. I think we are all of these different personalities. Or rather that we have all of these traits and we pull out the appropriate ones depending on the person. But it's still all us.


Leesa said...

I talk different to different people as well. I am one of these gals you talked about (saying "Well I don’t know if I’m gay or straight. I think I may be bi.") But really. I am straight with lovely lesbian experiences.

You know, I am a bit more careful around a few of my lesbian friends. If a top is cute, I may refrain from saying anything, just in case they think I am hitting on them. Strange, I know, but there it is. But you know, I refrain from commenting on most men for the same reason.

Leesa said...

And, ~deb, I am in the process of switching to the new blogger. Wish me luck. This process that was supposed to take "minutes" has taken a long time thusfar (a couple of hours, I would guess).

I will let you know if my site crashes and burns.

~Deb said...

Natalia: I never heard of codeswitching. But it's so true- different people makes my personality switch a bit. I was thinking about it all week actually, because I come across this a lot.

Leesa: Yeah, sometimes you do have to be careful which people you do compliment, because they take it in another light. Totally understandable. I HOPE to God you don't lose your blog, because you invested so much into it Leesa! The best thing to do, is to set up a new account, and then transfer all your work on there. I wouldn't risk it, unless you already backed your work up. Your blog is huge.

Anonymous said...

I like Natalia's perspective. People have so much to teach one's okay to pull positive influences from this person or that person, but there does have to be a point where we don't "chameleon" or hide what we are going through.

Even though life is a continual process of learning, when a person has family and friends that love you, they will be there for you and that alone should be enough to empower you to be yourself and take what comes at you with grace and finesse and a fabulous sense of humor.

I know that I for one, have that and am constantly learning as I go.

ablondeblogger said...

You are so right about this! I do find myself "toning down" my personality around my more conservative friends and it's rare to find someone who shares my faith, values, etc. who also doesn't mind cussing or having fun.

I really wish I could just be myself around everyone, but I know it's just not realistic, but I still value all of my friends, regardless of whether or not I get to cuss in front of them. :)

Anonymous said...

I think we are all different selves - or maybe lesser parts of ourselves - with different people. There are things I would never do or say while wearing my collar or when giving counsel to people sitting in my office. I still mind my p's &q's in front of my parents and there are things about my life I would never share with my children. With the friends who know me and love me I am sarcastic, flirty, and I curse like a salior (hey - I don't drink, smoke, use drugs and am celibate - I NEED one vice!)and feel free to lean as I need to. I think we all have to judge how safe we feel in each relationship and what the boundaries and obligations are we have to respect within our relationships

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Deb, indeed it is good to be aware of other people's sensibilities. With family and good friends, we've usually known them for long enough to know what words make them tic and which humour makes them laugh.
Strangers may laugh at our jokes and 'humour' us when with us, yet bitch about us behind our backs.

PS - I think you are cute & cuddly even on a bad hair day, but I bet you are simply sexy & drop dead gorgeous in a glamorous way. I'm sure I'd be happy to wake up next to you any day.

GW Mush said...

I know for a fact that most of Deb's posts have references to me in them. It pains me to read the posts about me undrer the guise of not using my real name.
It makes me mad and i want to bomb some foreign country and stuff becvause of it.

~Deb said...

Amy: I think that many people can teach us many things regarding their life and their experiences, but sometimes it’s just difficult to open up to some people. With each person I find myself altering my personality just a touch…or a lot sometimes.

Ablondeblogger: Well, when it comes to religion or politics, I think everyone should tone it down if there are major differences. No one will ever agree if they are strong-minded about their faith and political views. That’s a touchy topic right there!

Rev. Kate: I guess there has to be some major altering as far as wearing that collar and throwing on a pair of old jeans to barbeque with family and friends. Do you think the setting is also a personality switcher, so to speak?

Quasar9: Well, we can't really tell who speaks behind our backs or not, but we can certainly give them the benefit of the doubt....

GW Mush: Do I have to change my personality even MORE around you? ;)

Crassius Maximus said...

The worst is the person that says they are joking after they throw something out there that is offensive, and believe me, I am difficult to offend.

samuru999 said...

Hi Deb
You asked "Was that one part about me?"

One thing I do know is that what you wrote to me today...was so sweet!
It was truly a treat!

I have been sick the past few days
You cheered me up!

As I head back to bed...


~Deb said...

Crass: There's always a bit of truth in joking around.

Margie: Did you get the cold from me all the way from NY??? I hope you feel better! Sorry to hear you're sick!

samuru999 said...

Hi Deb
And, yet another visit from you!
You are a sweetie!
Thank you!

I actually have the flu!
Feeling achy and blue!
But, I shall soon be on the mend
And writing my poems again!

Hugs back to you!


Anonymous said...

Toilet locks? What if it is an emergency and you can't open the toilet? Hmmm I'm so easy amused!

Hope you're feeling better!

Anonymous said...


That is so true! I couldn't have wrote it better myself!

HAHA...good post!

geek said...

Im pretty much the same to everybody, my brother is the careful one. Maybe I should learn a lesson from

Oh the freshest posts on my site is below the sticky post. maybe that helps? If not join up to my site and I will give tech support!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I think that the manner in which we communicate with another person depends on two things: the objective of our communication and the role we have in relationship to the other person. If I have a vested interest in communicating something—for example, confronting Dr. House about his Vicodin addiction—I will be much more intentional in selecting my words than if we were discussing a movie that we just seen. In the second category, I view inappropriate laughter coming from a person who is my therapy client differently from a person is a casual friend.

~Deb said...

Samuru: Of course another visit- I have to check up on you to see if you’re feeling better! I was worried about ya!

Steff: That’s what I’m saying! Thank God I mastered that lock!

Sandalina: Just a point of view I have…but some of it’s pretty funny the way people react to certain comments or remarks!

Geek: I’m just clueless! I guess I should have realized that. Do you have online technical support? That would help greatly. (hehe)

Nick: The role in the relationship is a huge one! I totally agree. And inappropriate laughter is always awkward in any circumstance…

Anonymous said...

Wait, are you referring to the pants I wore last Saturday? You said they were slimming!

Do I look fat?

geek said...

No problem at all.

yes! I can do the tech support online. the only thing I need is for your PC to be able to get on the internet. Im a geek ya know.

~Deb said...

Amy: You look F*I*N*E! Geez!

Geek: I don't have the internet. It amazes me how I'm even able to blog sometimes. :o)

geek said...

Sorry for being so difficult.

OK im now confused. How do you blog.

geek said...

Not thats its any of my buisness...
(and I dont want to know if its in the nude, ok, ok)
Get better, if I had your addy Id send you some flowers. That always helps.
love ya.

Nihilistic said...

I don't think there are two people that I act exactly the same with...

Anonymous said...

Oh I have a few of those friends too.

Åsa said...

Deb! Good post! And so true. I tend to look for people whom I notice that I like who I am when I’m with. Some people just seam to get me, some don’t. Or I don’t get them maybe. It goes both ways I’m sure. And I agree that most of it must have to do with self-esteem. People who make me feel ugly and boring must have hit my low self-esteem button. And the folks who I seem to hit their button when I’m with: are equally annoying/unpleasant to hang around. Frames of references are equally important for us to understand one another.

With family we don’t have a choice though I guess.

I love people and may flirt with both men and women. Flirt might not be the right word. I like to point out good traits/sides or what have you. That doesn’t make me bi or gay – just happy. Hopefully I don’t go around giving the wrong signals because of it.

Good thoughts from you as always Deb!

~Deb said...

Geek: As of now, still being sick and all, I blog in the most hideous plaid pajamas you’d ever want to see. Really. And if I’m not mistaken, I do believe you are flirting with me by offering flowers….if you weren’t married and I wasn’t so damn gay- this coulda’ worked out! (Send the flowers anyway!!!)

Nihilistic: Unless they’re twins, right?

Zibi: The overly sensitive ones?

Asa: That’s so true- people who insult others or make others ‘feel ugly’ is simply out of insecurity. Sad that they have to go to those extremes in order to make themselves feel better. Flirting isn’t a bad thing at all. I’m a huge flirt! My girlfriend doesn’t particularly like it, but she understands my personality. The only problem with this is some people don’t take “flirting” lightly. They think it’s a sure sign of a romantic gesture. Thanks Asa!

Anonymous said...

I believe the difference in personality around different people is about comfort, and knowing how far you can go before you set someone off. It varies from person to person, therefore you're different from person to person, because you don't want to be offensive to them or make them feel uncomfortable, so you make sure you don't cross the invisible line.


Anonymous said...

I'm really really REALLY lucky.

None of my friends are like that. Mind you, I only have 3 friends, but they've been by my side for 20 years now and they'll be there probably on my death bed.

I can say whatever I like around them and I never worry.

I love my friends!