Should you change to fit in?

Everyone’s doing it – making slight adjustments to aspects of their personality, language or behaviour to feel more comfortable in their surroundings. We do it all the time: when we want to make a good first impression, make new friends, get hired… Adaptability can be a useful skill, but are there some things we should never adjust, adapt, or change? And how do we know where to draw the line?

We spoke to seven young people about the advantages and disadvantages of adjusting aspects of yourself to fit in.

Meeting people on their own terms

Reubs is a trans, queer scientist and says that when she wants to impress, she “does a lot of work to meet people on their own terms”. She says that it encourages people to take her more seriously so finds that it’s more beneficial for her reputation and her career. “But after that,” says Reubs, “it’s up to them.”

Drawing the line at how much you adapt yourself to make others comfortable could help break down prejudices. “I can be true to myself whilst also bridging gaps,” says Reubs.

Taking your time

When Will meets new people he puts on “a bit of a front”. He’s “more reserved,” he says, until he’s sussed the other person out. Will likes to take relationships at his own speed – and reminds us that you can take time to feel confident and comfortable before you show the real you.

Stay true to yourself

You might make tweaks to your language and behaviour, but as Ekow says: “Don’t start being something you’re not.” Authenticity is important and you shouldn’t feel like you have to change for anyone. As Jada says: “It’s ok to say ‘no’ and not fall to peer pressure.”

No one should expect you to be someone you’re not and living your whole life pretending to be someone else all the time isn’t sustainable.

Jamie advises: “Make sure you’re doing things that you feel you would be happy with.”

For more advice and support on being yourself have a look at our Bitesize Support Identity pages

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