Thursday, December 10, 2009

Who Am I, Really?

Hi everyone - I've been a reader here at Venus and Mars for a while and now I'm finally taking the plunge.

Have you ever noticed that you are a different person depending on who you're with? My husband made this observation about me recently, and I am unsure what to think about it. I don't feel like I change who I am... but if I do act differently around diferent people, is that necessarily a bad thing? Does that mean I am disingenuous? That I'm a hypocrite? Is the goal in life to be the same person regardless of whose company I'm in?

He said he doesn't like the SSG who is her parents' daughter so much as he likes the SSG who is his wife. Who I am when I've spent time with my best girlfriend isn't his favorite either. So now I wonder... who am I when I am with them, versus who I am when I am with him? What qualities about me does he like, and which traits that are influenced by them does he dislike? It is interesting information, this observation of his... but it only adds to my self consciousness. Now when i'm with him I subconsciously try to be the person he wants and not the person he isn't so crazy about.

And I've just discovered something else that bothers me more than a little bit. I think I like the person I am when I'm with my favorite girlfriend more than the person I am when I am with my husband. What does that mean?

Maybe it only means that I think too much.

What do you think? Please, be gentle on my first day. :)

Stupid Smart Girl


Shirley said...

I think it's a normal thing to act differently around different people. I would say it's only a bad thing if you are changing your values depending on who you are with. But if one maybe becomes more timid (or bossy) around parents; or perkier, more outgoing, louder, sillier around best friend; and more controlled, serious, again bossy, or maybe timid around husband, it's still the same person, just reacting differently to different people. (None of those might apply to you, they're just examples.)

Has your husband told you exactly what he doesn't like about you as a daughter or friend? Could it be that he recognizes that you like the person you are with your friend more than when you're with him? Is he controlling or could he be a little jealous?

If your husband has recognized some truly negative traits that you might want to rid yourself of, that's great to be able to work on changing. If he's just nitpicking, you need to find the self-confidence to be happy with who you are.

Anonymous said...

Yes. You think too much. But in this case, I think maybe it's warrented.

I think knowing what your husband's thoughts on this are important. However, I believe EVERYONE changes a little bit depending on the situation they are in and who they are with.

I curse, a lot, but when around children other than my own, I try hard not to. I'm also more polite when around my Aunt & Uncle who are very religious. It's just the way things are. I'm more wild when I take my trips to see friends (who live a few hours away) and wouldn't dream of behaving that way around my husband lol.

I think, as long as YOU are comfortable being whoever you want to be, than that's what matters. Unless, your husband gets to the point that he loses respect for you. Then there's an issue. But him just "not liking" that other side of you, in my opinion, isn't a good enough reason to change your behaviour.

Anonymous said...

Great job on your first post. :-)

An old boyfriend I had in Europe made a similar comment to me once, but I attributed it to the fact that I conversed with him in what was a 2nd language for me. The observation he made was about me speaking English with some American friends. Maybe there was more to it???

I think it is natural that different people bring out different traits, reactions and behavior. These are all a reflection of who we are. That said, I think we all have a "core" nature, regardless of whom we interact with.

A lot probably depends on the nature & history of that relationship (especially parental). My closest friends and relationships are all people that usually bring out the best in me (but often different sides of "me").

People are naturally complex. It would be boring if we weren't. I wouldn't worry about it if I were you, unless you find yourself trying to "change" yourself to fit into someone else's ideal of you. Be true to yourself first. If it is bothering you, ask your husband those questions you asked here in the 2nd paragraph. I would say it is likely that the same observations could be made about him, or anyone for that matter. Good luck! Again, great post.

Becky Andrews said...

Great post (first or more!) This is a good one to think about -- and agree as long as you are authentic and feels good. I find different people bring out different qualities in me. For instance, I am going to be more outgoing around people I feel comfortable with -- and quieter in a different environment. I tend to be around people that I feel comfortable, safe and can be myself. Agree it would be interesting to ask your husband more!

LoJo said...

For the first 15 years of my professional life I actively worked against my "professional" personality having to coexist with my "home" personality. I didn't want my coworkers meeting my husband or vice versa. If the two worlds meshed, I wasn't sure how I would act because I, too, acted differently in the two settings. I was aware of it, though, and couldn't figure out how to reconcile the two. Now I'm older and wiser, (and work closer to home) and it's not an issue. help from this quarter. Just empathy...been there, done that.

Anonymous said...

Excellent first post. I think everyone does some adapting to their environment.

OneZenMom said...

Welcome! Great first post. :)

I agree that we all morph and modify a bit based on where we are and what we're doing. I think it's natural.

Goob said...

unless you're altering your personality to manipulate a situation or set of people, I don't think you've got anything to worry about. Everybody else pretty much said its normal to adapt to social situations and I agree.

April said...

I'm very outgoing and goofy. I like making people laugh. I am the one at work who breaks up the monotony of the day. That is me. I could never be that person around my ex-husband because he would always make some comment that would put me down. So, I wouldn't act that way when I was around him and I would be told by my friends, family and co-workers that I act differently when he's around. I hated that. Obviously we're divorced, hence the ex in front of the husband, not solely for the reason above, although I'm sure that was part of the big picture.

Now, I've been in a long term relationship with a man who loves the goofy me just as much as he loves the sometimes lazy, occasionally bitchy, the let's have serious talk, to the let's say nothing and snuggle me. He loves that sometimes when we're sitting on the couch I'll just turn to him and bust out singing a random song. Unlike my husband, he'll never tell me to shut up. He loves that sometimes when he's standing across the room from me I'll call his name, scuff my foot and make a bull's sound, and then run to him and jump into his arms, wrapping my legs around his waist. He laughs every time.

The point I'm trying to make is that you are who you are. Sometimes that may involve being different around different people, but you have to truly like that different you in each scenario. I started to not like the me I was around my ex because really? It wasn't ME!