Dissembling: The Art of Hiding Your Feelings…Good or Bad?

by David Ryback, Ph.D.

Being your real self in the workplace with Relationship Building does not mean blatant spontaneity. Most important is the sense of appropriateness and timing that makes such openness The Art of Hiding Your Feelings…Good or Bad?acceptable. It involves, first of all, keeping close track of how you’re feeling from moment to moment, and only then sharing your feelings in the context that can benefit from such sharing. There is indeed a fine line between dissembling your emotions to fit into the context on the one hand, and having the courage to share what you truly feel even though it may not find instant understanding and acceptance. If your intent is to be of service to others, then the intimate sharing of what may not immediately find acceptance will, in the long run, stand you in good stead, as the judgment you reveal becomes respected over time.

Adolescent Relationship Building

The skill of gaining over total emotional spontaneity grows over the span of the elementary school years. By adolescence, this skill is finely tuned. Social acceptance is so critical at this stage that emotional dissembling becomes the modus operandi of social success. Children who fail at this social skill may end up friendless and marginalized. If Nancy fails to curb her short temper and bossy demands, she may be ostracized by her peers. If Peter cowers at the prospect of confronting those who tease or harass him, he may lose face in his group and be seen as an outsider.

Adult Relationship Building

In the adult world, dissembling still plays a significant role. One doesn’t just mouth off to an aggressive boss. Nor does the boss casually mouth off to a lazy employee. In the workplace, dissembling such emotions as anger and anxiety is essential. But when the more moderate emotions are also hidden, then the question of degree comes into play: how much dissembling and how much authentic emotion is required to build a strong connection?

If you found these tips from David Ryback, Ph.D. of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in his self-paced, downloadable courses at PDUs2Go.com.


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