Beware the Chameleon

Beware of the chameleon. Not the reptile–the human kind.

Such a person becomes the person he’s with. He’ll think like he thinks you want him to think. He’ll act like he thinks you want him to act. His premise isn’t authenticity; it’s people-pleasing.

Such people are generally not evil. But they are bad for you. They often mean well, but they define “well” as pleasing others. They don’t really know what they think or want. They just want affirmation. They can be so pleasant. Until you actually get to know them.

You’ll end up feeling betrayed by such people, especially if you have a mind of your own and you fail to fully grasp what it’s like NOT to have your own mind.

Chameleons are liars, manipulators, two-faced cheaters, to be sure. They do bad things. They might steal a part of you, but it’s not because they want something for nothing. It’s more because they simply don’t know what to want or think, about anything. So they think and want what you want … only while you’re with them. Five minutes later, it could be totally different.

You become the victim of their own self-negligence. But they are their own worst victims.

You can minimize their harm by doing what most of us don’t do enough of, especially with regard to other people: Pay close attention. The red flags will be there. Words and actions will fail to match. Lies, even small ones, will be uncovered. Don’t minimize. Realize these are always symptoms of something deeper. It’s like addiction. The chameleon is addicted to the approval of others. He’s unwise enough to think such approval can be sustained on false pretenses.

It’s easy to hate and be angry with them, for a time. In the end, you’ll see how chameleons are really just very, very sad.


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