The Blog

How to Make Fake Friends, Have a Fabulous Career and Fool People

I've never really been a 'faking it' kind of person. I understand the need to sometimes temper our behaviour and adapt to certain situations to 'fit in' but it doesn't take a genius to find out when someone's being disingenuous.

Apparently, faking it is good for you . . . . . .

A recent study (please don't nail me down to facts and figures, I've already forgotten them) shows that everyone fakes some form of behavior every day, whether it be a smile, a cheery 'hello', a disinterested 'how are you?' or a screaming, earth shattering orgasm. We are all, in one way or another, guilty of putting ourselves aside to make someone else feel better or to make ourselves look better.

I have lost count of the times I've felt like smashing things in the aisle of a supermarket only to then smile sweetly at the cashier and answer her enquiry as to how I am with a 'I'm great thank you'. There may have even been a couple of times when I've bit my tongue and not told someone what I really thought about them, but these times are rare and rarer still are the times when I've laid back and thought of England, whilst someone I have no interest in at all busies themselves down south. Being nice to someone I have no time for takes up too much time, and 'putting out' for someone I'd never put up with is far beyond my realm of understanding, but for many, the only way to get ahead is to lose sight of themselves and quickly morph into someone else.

In my experience, anyone who spends far too much time pretending to be someone else, will normally end up drinking, eating or taking enough pharmaceuticals for two, but only ever have themselves to go home to.

I've never really been a 'faking it' kind of person. I understand the need to sometimes temper our behaviour and adapt to certain situations to 'fit in' but it doesn't take a genius to find out when someone's being disingenuous. Social chameleons and social butterflies are experts in the fake smile, the group hug and the 'I'm so interested' look but I've found that as I've got older, my tolerance for people I have no interest in has been pretty much worn down to the wire.

It's hard for me to smile when I'm stifling a yawn and even harder to look wide-eyed and excited when I'm feeling narrow eyed and furious. Botox was useful to mask a thousand looks of horror, indignation or boredom but when it also started to mask genuine emotions and looks of real happiness, I decided to step away from the needle and let people see my real face (both of them).

The workplace is the hub of fakery and amongst all the movers & shakers there will always be a glut of sycophants and fakers. Every office has a brown nose just like every Rudolph has a red nose. It comes with the territory, be it on a shop floor or the trading floor, that there will always be someone who so desperately wants to get ahead that their whole persona is molded to fit in with what the company vision is. The corporate world allows those with ambition but the personality of a setting jelly to get ahead, whereas the creative world allows those with no real direction to flip flop from one idea to another until they finally go completely off their head.

The creative industry is no place for a border line schizophrenic or those with a multiple personality disorder, and if you work in the fashion industry, you'll find trends come and go quicker than your mood swings.

We have all faked it within the working environment, even if it's going to lunch with the colleague that we secretly hate or completely embellishing our resume, but if you find that every day at work you're having to bow down, curtail and tow the company line, rather than being yourself and doing what you really want to do, I'd advise you to stop faking it for money and go and do something you really love.

Someone famous once said 'a career is wonderful, but it doesn't keep you warm at night' and thinking about that statement, it is, of course, incredibly fake, because they were rich & famous and could afford an incredibly expensive duvet.

I can tell you to leave your job, but I'm not going to pay your heating bills.

Although I couldn't imagine doing it now, I learned many years ago that sometimes the easiest way to appease a partner in a relationship was to smile and quietly go ahead with their wishes however unreasonable or ridiculous their behavior may have been. It was easier at the time to let them think they may have won the argument and got their way, knowing I would then run them a scalding hot bath that they would happily step into. It was also incredibly easy to serve them their dinner knowing I'd just rubbed their steak around the kitchen floor and let the dog lick it. 'Faking it' in a relationship will only ever lead to a broken heart or at the very least, broken limbs. If you find yourself smiling sweetly and playing the perfect spouse when really the only thing on your mind is murder, I suggest you stop faking it and leave, because revenge is not always a dish best served cold, even when you've wiped it around the kitchen floor and let the dog chew on it.

I've probably been guilty of faking an illness, especially when I worked for someone else. The good thing about being self -employed is that I never have to lie to myself. If I'm hungover I don't have to phone in with the flu, and if I really cannot be bothered to get up out of bed one morning, I don't have to say I'm late because someone jumped in front of my train. It is amazing the lies you can make up when you're desperate for a day off work. Illness, famine, and a death in the family will all work and the more ridiculous the fakery the more you'll be inclined to get away with it. I had a friend who said they were borderline asthmatic only to blow their cover when they jumped from their chair and chased the sandwich lady the whole length of the office to see if she had a spare pack of cheese and onion. I once said I was at an aunt's funeral when I was sat on a beach in Sardinia.

The lapping of the waves was excused as the gentle sobbing of my distant cousins.

No matter how many lies you tell and how many truths that lay untold you will always get found out in the end. The biggest star with the biggest smile can switch that off in an instant once the camera has turned away, the most down to earth 'cockney geezer' can soon become the most arrogant (Country) of Squires and the most god fearing of pop stars will eventually be found face down in her bathtub with a nose full of cocaine.

It is never good to live a life of fakery, however big the paycheck or however tempting it may be. It's best to always keep life simple. Say what you mean, say what you want and be yourself. Don't hide your light under a bushel and never compromise who you are for another. There is no excuse for lies, fake accents, false emoting or floods of crocodile tears and there is never a reason to embellish, fabricate or down right lie about your background.

Unless you've taken a call from a cold calling salesman, you're sat next to someone on a long haul flight or you're on a blind date with someone you never want to see again.

In those instances you have free reign to be anyone you want to be, just make sure that they never know your real name and if you're on the blind date, make sure that they pick up the bill.

A little fakery is fine, as long as you don't get caught.