Normally, when talking about pretenses, it is in the context of false pretenses. In legal terms, false pretenses refers to a misrepresentation of something that was presented as a fact. In day-to-day use, pretenses come with the inference that deception is occurring. While deception and pretense go hand-in-hand, ill intention is not an automatic part of pretenses.

In many circumstances, a false pretense comes from a place of wanting to be perceived in a certain way. We as humans spend a lot of our life adapting to various social situations. There is an innate desire to fit in and to be liked by those around us. This feeling is especially strong in our adolescence. There is a lot of pressure for young people to fit into a certain box. Beyond expectations for appearance, there are standards of what people should like and how they should act.

For teenagers and preteens, these expectations can lead to a feeling that they need to conform and modify the way in which they present themselves to better fit in. Operating under these pretenses can negatively impact that person’s self-esteem and concept of his own personality. It can also make that person come off as ingenuine and keep him from forming deep emotional connections with other people.

Be cautious of changing yourself to fit in with others. While there are appropriate things we can do to censor our qualities that are more rough around the edges, changing the way in which you present yourself is not healthy or beneficial to your mental health. Remember that the people that really need to be in your life will accept you for your true, authentic self. Do not conduct yourself with false pretenses; a sign of maturity is discovering yourself and living a life that is true to who you are.

-        Bria