Lietuva Tatemae

One of my Lithuanian expo friends, The Political Scientist, got upset with me at a party last night because I was acting differently at the party than I do with her alone.

I know that I act differently at parties than with closer friends.  I will be up-front and honest about the reasons (flattering to me or not):

  1. When I am with a lot of people who I don’t know, I want to talk to everyone and all at once.
  2. When I am talking to people I like to find out a lot about them, and to do this, I often change the way I interact with each person.  I find that people are most comfortable with new people who reflect a similar energy to themselves, so I try to match the energies of new people, particularly those whom I don’t know very well.
  3. I admit that I like it when people like me and are happy to be with me.  Some say this is narcissistic and borderline unhealthy, but I haven’t decided if this is actually a bad thing or not.
  4. The Political Scientist and I clicked quickly compared to most of the other people I know here so I am much more comfortable opening up, looking stupid and silly, and showing off when we are alone.  I am much more guarded and ‘other person’ focused when I am in large groups.
  5. Another result of this is that I might spend more time with new people than people I am closer to – this can be seen as taking the closer friend for granted instead of as evidence of how close the two people are.  on the flip side, it becomes necessary to find a common “clin d’oeil” so that both people know that the connection between them is still shared.

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