Alex Schuckert

Aug 21, 2020

2 min read

The social impostor

It’s a sociable creature, seeking the attention of others, always in the quest to climb up the ladders of a social group, only to move on to the next when the top is reached. By getting to know many different paradigms of social interaction they learn the essential tools of sociopaths: observation, assimilation, imitation. When observed from the outside, they seem to fit in to any social group, making friends everywhere. They don’t do it for some evil reason or implication, but due to a false self-observation: Because they are attributing everything they have reached socially to the help and influence of others, they seek to “finally reach something themselves” in the social ladder, never meeting their goals and going further and further without taking self-credit. Far from being an isolated psychopath secretly submersed in the sea of the healthy, they are all around us and you are one, most probably, too: a social impostor.

The social impostor, contrary to their counterparts, the career impostor, does not identify with their like, and because of that they are harder to identify. This is natural: social impostors seem sociable to others but not to themselves, therefore not identifying with other sociable people. While being impressive to some, they seem slightly out-of-place to those who know them for a long time: dissonance is created because people who know each other as friends think that the other has equal social status within their relationship. However, the social impostor always continues to try and win the other over; instead of relaxing into a state of self-being, they rather re-create an acted social personality.

The social impostor doesn’t do physical harm to others, but it’s not easy being someone looking up to them. Teaching others is hard when you think you have to impress your students and the students find the lack of support and the vibe of competition discouraging. Counter-intuitively, considering their social genius, they can fall into complete isolation from others, finally “giving up” to their self-alleged lack of social capabilities.

Don’t be afraid if you found yourself in this characterization — most of us do.