Each person has a personality that is filled with many facets of behaviors, beliefs, standards, morale, and ethics. A person is not linear and simple, they only seem linear due to certain restrictions of the environment and/or personal standards they have implemented upon their selves when they are interacting with that certain environment or person.
This is why when a person acts in a certain manner around you, it would be unwise to assume that is their full personality. There might be more to their personality if you probe more, though that might get resistance if you go too aggressively. Better yet take that person into a different environment you have never interacted with them in.
One thing I can say is that I cannot and do not show every facet of my personality, so my co-workers might not even know I am a free spirited person who will dance to music regardless of my dismal dancing skills. I display certain behavior related to certain facets of my personality depending the situation, the persons I am interacting with and how I feel.
So would that mean I am hiding? Well yes and no, the saying “there is a time and place for everything” applies in such situations. Everyone is multifaceted in personality, not every behavior would be appropriate for every situation. So we tend to tailor our behavior to different situations such as the right time to tell a joke, a funeral might not be best place for vicious jokes at someone’s character.
We usually put up people in these mental bubbles based on the personality we have seen and assumed. It is called the Halo Effect. When we see someone do something outside that “bubble” there is a disequilibrium in our mind as we try to understand this new behavior or belief we did not know they had. It might be defined that the person in question is “changing”, people do not change personality, they can only change their behavior and values but their core personality (ethics and morale) stays the same. So really and truly that person is just acting different to a regular situation or now exhibiting personality traits that they in the past either decided not to for some reason.
Halo Effects are usually the principal cause for relationship problems whether between families, friends but mostly couples.
Families forgive this type of change more, friends tend towards not making a problem out of it, a significant other usually are rigid to the idea of change especially if they are not in favor of it. For example, you have a partner who you are in a relationship with. During the early stages of a romantic relationship, people tend to avoid divulging information or acting in any way that might turn off their partner. Until later when they can relax their mannerisms and most behavior considered negatively might be forgiven and given a pass for the sake of the relationship.
This is why I recommend counseling before marriage, I think airing out issues especially unspoken ones in a neutral controlled setting might be good.
Then there is the possibility of missing opportunities when you do choose to not show that side of you when it would be best utilized. You shrink in fear of the outcome.
Hiding parts of our personality has its purpose but it can restrict you if overdone, or done in the wrong places. It can also be taken as misleading and deceitful if utilized wrong. So we as humans need to be able to recognize when to do things and express ourselves openly and tactfully in that regard.
David Shaw is a certified nerd and scum of the earth. Jamaican by birth, he enjoys long walks and the simple things in life. He is also an entrepreneur, writer and graphic designer. You can follow his mundane madness on twitter @davidcs_aw