A few days ago, Kit was Kit Simpkins, a skilled waitress who enjoyed a vibrant social life with her roommates and spent her free time writing. Now, she’s someone she doesn’t know or understand; Kit Collins, wife of Keith Collins. Kit is honeymooning with her new husband at the swanky Pink Hotel, an oasis for the rich and famous in a city that’s literally on fire.
Keith likes the finer things: French wines, gourmet cheeses, silk suits, illusions of power, and an appropriately cosmopolitan woman on his arm. Through his tutelage, Kit started a sommelier class, adopted a favorite fancy cheese, learned how to spot name brands, and lost sight of her values.
Kit is a social chameleon; she notices the priorities of those around her and adopts them as her own. This is a double-edged sword. Social chameleons, sometimes known as high self-monitors, are very good at adapting their behaviors to fit in with other people and situations. They blend in well. But it’s at a cost, as chameleons continually present different versions of themselves - diluting their true sense of self.
On the other hand, Keith is a social zebra, sometimes known as a low self-monitor. Social zebras are consistently and unapologetically themselves, no matter where they are or who they are with. That’s less disorienting and leads to a clearer sense of self. But, it also leads to difficulty adapting and increased social isolation, as zebras won’t ever be everyone’s cup of tea.
There’s no right or wrong here, but rather a continuum. To find the right chameleon/zebra balance, try asking yourself a few questions:
What are my values generally? (Here’s a thorough list you can peruse)
What values do I want to prioritize and present to others consistently?
What are the values that I am more comfortable keeping private?
How important is it to me to go along to get along?
How does hiding pieces of myself, or presenting an inconsistent self, impact me in work / home / social / other settings?
Once you’ve answered those questions, create an accountability plan and smart goals (tips on those are coming soon, I’ll link here as soon as they are posted) to keep yourself on track.