Reasons Why Our Behavior Changes Around People


I’m a big psychology geek (I minored in it) and enjoy observing human behavior. Lately I’ve noticed that many of my friends tend to act a certain way when I’m having one-to-one conversations with them, but behave differently when they’re in the presence of other people. This phenomenon is discussed in more detail here:

I’ve especially noticed this in the workplace. Some people are nice and polite when having one-to-one conversations, but become jerks when they’re around others who act like jerks themselves. I feel it’s because people have an innate drive to fit in, and in the end, they’re looking out for themselves.

The mindset is something along these lines: “If the jerk in accounting can help me get a promotion, I’ll try to mirror his personality as much as possible – whether by telling similar jokes, acting as silly as he does, etc. That way, he’ll like me more and thus do his part to get me the promotion.”

It’s amazing how people take on different personas when it’s most convenient for them.

Have you guys noticed this in anyone you know?


This happens to everybody, regardless of whether they’re aware of it or not. While it can’t be avoided, the extent to which some people change is quite drastic.

I know that some are more inclined to naturally mirror others, but when people become a seemingly different person, it really makes me suspicious of them.

I can act like a child when I’m around children and be serious when the occasion calls for it. This isn’t the issue to me. The issue is when people have one set of morals around one group of people and another set of morals elsewhere. I have no room for people like this in my life.

I’m not sure whether it’s a type thing or not, but I just expect somebody to be the same core person regardless of the circumstance, and feel that it’s a bit manipulative and dishonest not to be. I want the people around me to have strong character and constitution.


Outstanding post. I agree with everything you said. If one finds himself compromising his core principles while trying to “fit in,” that is wholly unacceptable.


Any other thoughts?