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The Faker You Are, The Bigger Your Circle. The Realer You Are, The Smaller Your Circle. Does This Hold Any Truth?

In a world obsessed with social media, networking, and influence, the idea that “the faker you are, the bigger your circle; the realer you are, the smaller your circle” resonates with many. This concept taps into the paradox of authenticity versus popularity, posing an intriguing question about the nature of our social connections. Let’s explore whether this adage holds any truth and why it might be more reflective of our society than we’d like to admit.

The Nature of Social Circles

Social circles, whether in real life or online, are often seen as measures of one’s social success. A large circle implies popularity, influence, and a robust support network. Conversely, a smaller circle is sometimes viewed as a sign of exclusivity, depth, and authenticity. The size of one’s social network can indeed be influenced by the persona one projects.

The Appeal of Fakeness

When we talk about being “fake,” we refer to the act of presenting a curated version of oneself that aligns with what is socially desirable. This involves conforming to societal norms, adopting popular opinions, and engaging in behaviours that are likely to be positively received by a broader audience.

The advantages of this approach include:

  • Increased Social Acceptance: People are drawn to those who reflect their own ideals and values, even if these are somewhat superficial.

  • Wider Network: By appealing to the masses, fakers attract more acquaintances and potential connections.

  • Perceived Success: Projecting an image of success, confidence, and positivity can attract others who aspire to these traits.

The more one conforms to trending norms and popular opinions, the larger their virtual circle becomes.

However, this larger circle often comes at a cost. Relationships built on a façade tend to lack depth and genuine connection. When the mask slips or true challenges arise, these relationships may falter, revealing their fragility. People may find themselves surrounded by many, yet feeling profoundly lonely and misunderstood.

The Power of Realness

In contrast, being “real” involves presenting oneself authentically, embracing both strengths and flaws, and prioritising honesty over conformity.

The benefits of this approach include:

  • Genuine Connections: Realness fosters deeper, more meaningful relationships based on trust and mutual understanding.

  • Emotional Fulfilment: Authentic interactions provide a sense of belonging and acceptance.

  • Resilience: Real relationships are more likely to withstand challenges and conflicts.

However, being real often means being vulnerable and going against the grain, which can lead to:

  • Social Rejection: Authentic individuals may not appeal to everyone, resulting in a smaller social circle.

  • Conflict: Expressing genuine opinions and emotions can sometimes lead to disagreements and estrangement.

  • Perceived Failure: Society often equates popularity with success, so those with smaller circles may be unfairly judged as less successful.

Balancing Authenticity and Social Engagement

The challenge lies in finding a balance between authenticity and social engagement. It’s possible to be genuine while still expanding one’s social network, but this requires a nuanced approach:

  • Selective Authenticity: Share aspects of your true self that align with the values and interests of a broader audience, while keeping more personal details for closer, trusted friends.

  • Quality Over Quantity: Focus on building a few deep, meaningful connections rather than numerous superficial ones.

  • Transparency: Be open about your boundaries and intentions in social interactions, ensuring others understand and respect your authentic self.

By striving for a balance that honours both our desire for connection and our need for authenticity, we can cultivate relationships that are both plentiful and profound. This journey requires self-awareness, courage, and a willingness to navigate the complexities of human interaction with integrity.


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