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Self-Presentation and its Interrelation

Often people appear in such situations when they seem to be better than they are and try hard to make an unforgettable impression. It refers to those cases which people regard as the situations of great importance. It may be a job interview, a meeting with potential partners or clients, first date, acquaintance with new people, etc. However, being too concentrated on the final result, one may forget about what kind of person he or she really is.

Almost all people had such an experience, when they created an image of a total stranger out of themselves in order to make an impression, and then, they followed this artificial image, more and more moving away from their true nature. This practice becomes widespread and in everyday life people frequently face thought-out performance, rather than sincere behavior and deeds. Moreover, sometimes an interlocutor tries to convince his partner that this is his natural manner of behavior, even when actually it is not. The thing is that people subconsciously interpret communication as an act of expressing oneself and impressing the others. Obviously, all their acts during communication are directed at the impression they will make on their interlocutors.

Erving Goffman in his work The Presentation of Self gives simple explanations to such complicated human activity in the process of interaction with others. The author distinguishes two kinds of individual activity and calls them – “the expression that he gives” and “the expression that he gives off”. Goffman ascribes to the expression that a person gives all verbal means used for conveying information. The second kind of expression comprises nonverbal means of expression: gestures, facial expressions, other uncontrolled acts. Actually, these means of expression reveal true attitude of a person to the information he/she conveys (Goffman, 33). Therefore, sometimes while paying attention to the body language of the interlocutors, people get more trustworthy information, than from listening carefully to their words. Moreover, there are some situations when the words and actions of a speaker do not coincide, which is a vivid demonstration of language asymmetry and affirms that the speaker has some hidden intentions, probably related to manipulation. It may occur, for example, when an interlocutor says that he agrees with his partner, however, keeps shaking his head.

Nowadays, people get used to live in the society where there is no clear distinction between good and bad, truth and lies. Such conditions make them lose their own identity. After acquiring certain social status or some other characteristics, people want to be in keeping with their new vocation so much that they forget about who they are indeed. Furthermore, they direct all their energies at making new appearances with the help of which they will be a success with others in any situation while totally ignoring their need of internal development. Although, not many people think about: why is it happening this way? Why does the opinion of others matter more than a personal one?

People are prone to forget that only if they live in harmony with themselves they will achieve understanding and support from the associates. Therefore, they should better encourage their personal development and stick to their own principles. All in all, no matter how great people want to look like or what impression they make on the others, only being themselves and behaving naturally will lead them to success.

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