Due to Charlie’s anxiety about discussing his achievements with strangers, I decided that we would gather data by recording him bragging to my own mother. She reacted supportively and seemed genuinely excited for his accomplishments. If we had done this with complete strangers, I expect that they would have reacted differently. I expected that they would have said “Oh…that’s nice…”. This illustrates the way that reactions are different when sharing news with known people versus unknown people. As discussed in class, we put on different faces for different people. Goffman describes the presentation of self as a theatrical performance, where we behave our best and most formal on stage, and behave in a relaxed manner when off-stage. The interaction in this video would be considered as an off-stage interaction. Off-stage performing is important to keep anxiety under control. Constant performances far away from our true identities is incredibly stressful, hence why towards the end of this project Charlie was less willing to perform for this project in front of strangers. Off-stage is a place for recovery from anxiety.
Society in America warns against discussing accomplishments out of fear of “bragging”, a quality that will result in disgust and annoyance from others. This folkway has created generations of Americans who cannot acknowledge pride and hard work and feel embarrassed when discussing accomplishments. The long term consequences of this include lowered self-concept and lowered self-esteem.
(“Inter-personal,” 1948, p. 201).