Authenticity: If I Were Being Honest...
Daily Origami is a way for us to record our off the cuff thoughts, feelings and observations about the world around us. Published every weekday, Monday through Friday.
I was at the edge of my patience by the final day of the Vegas conference. I was tired of pretending. I was also tired of watching other people pander for attention in the name of networking.
My last obligation of the day was dinner with a few close co-workers - people who I genuinely enjoyed hanging out with. Alas, at the very last moment, one of my co-workers decided to invite along a young tech journalist. I was disappointed because I was ready to let loose and be myself at dinner...but now, I had to continue with the charade.
Partway through dinner, it became apparent that the tech journalist was overcompensating for his lack of experience by being an arrogant little know-it-all. You know the type. That was when I got really aggravated.
Then I realized two things:
1. I didn’t want to be here.
2. I could leave if I wanted to.
After all, this was my downtime.
Near the end of dinner, after the journalist left the table to use the restroom, I said what was on my mind.
Me: Hey, I want to apologize in advance if I sound a little aggravated. But honestly, that’s because I don’t want to have dinner with this guy.
Co-worker #1: Wait, what? Why? Don’t you like him?
Me: Yeah, I’m sure he’s a nice guy but he’s just not the type of person I’d choose to spend time with. I understand he’s a PR connection, but to me -- he’s simply another dude who thinks he knows everything. But in reality, he has no power and is young and naive.
Co-worker #2: Well, he’s definitely a little naive but he’s a colleague of a good friend of mine. He was alone at the conference and I thought it’d be a good to bring him under my wing and mentor him.
Me: I think that’s great. I totally understand where you’re coming from. But I’ve sat through this entire dinner and he didn’t act like he wanted to be mentored. He acted like he wanted to run his mouth telling us how big of a deal he was. If it were up to me, I would’ve liked to have dinner with people who actually added value to my life - like you guys.
After a whole week of fake interactions, it felt good to get that off my chest. It felt good to finally say what was on my mind. I didn’t get angry or upset. I was just firm and matter-of-fact. After days of sitting back, listening, and accommodating to others… it was liberating to finally stop pretending and make the choice to say something.