This morning I read this verse…
Proverbs 25: 6 Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence,
and do not claim a place among great men;
I believe the writer of Proverbs is referring to something we’ve all been guilty of. I call it impression management. It’s the process through which people try to control the impressions other people form of them. It’s a conscious or unconscious (but usually conscious) attempt to influence the perceptions of other people through controlling information in social interaction.
Just last week there were a couple clear examples of this is my life.
Example #1: I was talking to a group of guys about a situation that Brandi and I were facing. I included some details in the story that did not need to be included just to make myself appear like a loving husband and father.
Example #2: I was telling some friends about this great new TV show I watched the other night. I started the story by clearly stating, “We don’t watch much TV, but the other night I saw… .” Again, while this may be a fact, the only reason this statement was included was because I didn’t want them to think all I do is lay around and watch TV.
Example #3: I was talking to a buddy of mine and said…. “Hey, did I tell you about what happened to me last week? Oh no, that was #**%@ I was talking to.” Now I hate to admit this because it just seems so dark. The only reason I even brought up the name of #**%@ was so I would appear closer to him than I actually am.
Why do I work so hard to control people’s impression of me? For the same reason you do.
We want to be loved.
We want to be accepted.
We want to matter.
But here’s a little secret: people see right through this. Your impression management doesn’t really do anything but alert the other person to the fact that you are in some way uncomfortable in your own skin.
Anyone else struggle with wanting to control the impressions of those around you?