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January 27, 2005 / TildeWill

Will Mode

Over the years and relationships it has come to my attention that I have “modes”. These modes are where I act or behave, not out of character, but different than what a person may expect. The most pronounced example of this is when I am refereeing or coaching for fencing at a tournament. Especially in these cases I tend to dress up and I make far fewer inappropriate jokes. To me, fencing is something that is very important, and I wouldn’t want a goofy referee standing on the side of the strip, I want my referee to be clean cut, to be in control, and to at least appear authoritative so I know that the other fencer will not sway his decisions.

In the case of coaching, I know that I will be interacting with parents and other influential members from nearby clubs. These are the support systems of any good fencing club (as well as the customers of any good fencing business). To give an impression of irresponsibility or kid-ish-ness is like shooting yourself in the foot here.

There are other modes, like when I’m with a familiar group of friends where I’ll be 200% nutty vs. a new group of friends where I’m only 80% nuts-o. There are boyfriend modes, where I fluff up my feathers and play the defensive boyfriend, or where the two of us will be alone and I’ll whisper things so only she can hear them. People will tell you that I’m not aware of what “an indoor voice” means, but here I am talking softly even though I don’t have to.

As a general rule of thumb, when I try to cater to one group I always sacrifice something with another group. Like when I’m coaching, I’m a great coach, but not a very good friend or boyfriend. When I’m being a friend, I’m not a very good leader. Part of this is all somewhat disconcerting personally because I enjoyed the thought that I was the same person all the time, everywhere, but I see that isn’t 100% the case. I’m not so put off by the thought that I intend to change any time soon.

Ideally there would be one Will, one mode that would be pleasing to everyone. But it is like the saying goes: “You can please some of the people all of the time, and you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”


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  1. Brittany / Jan 27 2005 4:20 pm

    To be in these different modes isn’t really a bad thing so long as you’re not sacrificing the core values of you are and what you believe. From what you’ve said “director” mode and “coaching” mode come from your respect of the sport, your idea of what it means to have good sportsmanship, and how best to show people the value fencing can bring to their lives. To recognize that there are parts of your behavior that are better equipped to do this for different people is actually quite complex and important. There is an arguement for always “being yourself” but to me, to do so in the face of knowing that my values and beliefs are much better served by fine tuning my behavior for situation to another is too stiff and rigid.

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