General Question

yankeetooter's avatar

Why would someone act one way toward you when it's just the two of you, but totally different when others are present?

Asked by yankeetooter (9648points) August 1st, 2014

I don’t know if this is relevant to the question or not, but it’s a coworker. He acts totally sweet, very nice, etc., towards me when we’re talking one-on-one, but sometimes barely acknowledges my presence around others, particularly higher-ups. I’d be interested in hearing people’s thoughts on possible reasons for this behavior.

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15 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Sounds like a jerk. Although, those jerks often get promoted.

yankeetooter's avatar

That’s just it…he’s not a jerk, as far as I can tell. And the one time that he was venting to me, and then must have realized that I thought he was upset with me personally, he went out of his way, as busy as he is, to come and talk to me about it, and explain the situation…so, although one might automatically think “jerk”, with him it doesn’t add up at all. Hence the question…

Coloma's avatar

Clearly he is a chameleon, in other words, he makes himself up from the outside in, meaning, he is a phoney, that morphs into whatever he thinks others want him to be. It’s an image game, a schmoozing game, at worst he is a sociopath at best an inauthentic and insecure.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

I don’t believe it is intentional.
Most of us change somewhat depending on who’s around.
Two people interacting is a more personal setting than a group. In such cases, extroverts tend to dominate conversation and activity. Introverts tend to back away a bit. There’s no design in it, it is simply how we are wired.
I imagine he is a very nice guy, who isn’t always ready to draw people in when they start to back away.
Enjoy his friendship,and if you feel a bit left out sometimes, try doing more to engage others yourself.

yankeetooter's avatar

I agree with most of what you say, but why wouldn’t you at least say hello?Yesterday he wouldn’t even make eye contact with me.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

That wouldn’t have to be about you. Something could have been heavy on his mind. Give him a day or two. I bet things get back to smooth. If not, friendship IS a choice, not an obligation. It is also a two way street. How much of a friend are you BEING? I’m not pointing a finger. It’s just something to consider..

chyna's avatar

Why don’t you ask him? We can all come up with what we think, but we can never really know why he acts that way.

jca's avatar

I would ask but I would make it part of an intimate conversation. Something like “Hey – I notice when everyone else is around, you’re so serious. You don’t even say hello! Do they make you nervous or something? Only because when it’s just you and me, you’re so friendly! I was thinking about it and it was kind of confusing.”

canidmajor's avatar

Please understand that I don’t mean this harshly, I ask out of concern. I have looked through your previous Qs and this seems to be a somewhat recurring theme for you. Have you considered consulting an objective party to perhaps evaluate your responses to the kindnesses shown to you? You may, albeit unintentionally, be presenting as off-putting or too grateful, or in some manner that makes people uncomfortable.
We are rarely able to assess for ourselves how we come across to others.

SABOTEUR's avatar

First think that came to mind is you’re probably not popular among co-workers, but this particular guy likes you anyway. He doesn’t want to ostracize himself by allowing himself to be seen associating with you.

yankeetooter's avatar

Good thought, but I’m friends with the person this happened in front of.

chinchin31's avatar

ha. I had a colleague just like this. The personality he shows you is his true personality. He probably even likes you….

The thing about guys is that their career is very important to them. They will not do anything to jeopordize it so yes they will pretend not to know you when other colleagues are around because they want to give off an image of being focused and professional all the time on their work.

That is also a reason why even though a guy find you attractive at work he would not date you. I don’t think any man would jeopordize his career for the sake of a woman.

I think with most men their career comes first, then themselves, then everyone else. It is an ego thing.

All guys at work are like that. I worked in many offices and I notice that. They show their true side with you but when the boss is around or anyone important they change to something really serious and completely different.

Charm takes women far in the workplace but it doesn’t for men. They only get ahead by being competiitive and kissing ass so to speak.

Coloma's avatar

@chinchin31 Yep, and…it is all BULLSHIT! haha
I think the world would be a much better place if people didn’t have to cater to and mold their authentic selves into the masks society forces people to wear. I take pride in being my true self all the time and refuse to play the game. This is why I am best suited to being self employed and have an entreprenurish spirit.

I just can’t go along with the phoney games people play.
This makes it very hard for someone like me to work for others.

chinchin31's avatar

@Coloma I also hate the corporate world too. It is full of fake people. I wish I knew how to open my own business. I am just like you. I hate being fake. I like being my self but unfortunately if you want to make it big in the corporate world you have to be a corporate slave aka. a phony.

snowberry's avatar

What do you mean by being a phoney? Buying into the company philosophy even though maybe you don’t agree with what they do? Or is there something else?

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