In honour of Imposters returning to our screens this month it’s a good time to look at how you can change or, more importantly, how to trick people into thinking you’ve changed into someone else.
There are all kinds of benefits to becoming a new person, or as near to new as most of us can manage. Sick of your name? Tell people it’s something else. Want a different look? Change it. Want a new life? Ditch your shit, move citites, and go after it.
Anyone who’s ever told a really good lie, or executed a plan well, will tell you that planning goes into it. When deciding to change who you are, even if it’s faking it, you need to figure out what it is you want and how far you are willing to go get it.
You need to be realistic about your timeframe, your budget, and what’s achievable if you aren’t starting from nothing. You can’t really show up to work on Monday with the people you’ve known for 3 years and introduce yourself with a new name just because you got a haircut, people will think you’re fucking crazy.
No – the key to planning a change like this is looking at those in your life and toeing the line between what raises suspicion and what doesn’t. If you’re more of a “go big or go home” kind of person then you’ll need to be moving cities. If you want to execute a new look, and attitude to go with it, you’re going to need deep pockets. Want to rope in a sucker so you can become a trophy spouse? Free your schedule for the next year because bitch you’re going to be busy.
Figure out who you are going to be, how big or small you want to go, and what you need to do to execute this. On this note a practical tip for choosing a new name is picking your middle name, or lying about your middle name. This way if you get caught in your lie you can simply say you prefer to go by your middle name these days.
Practice, a fucking lot
Amateur liars fail at what they do because they don’t believe themselves. If you’ve done your homework you know exactly what it is you want to be, but chances are you already had an idea of this. So why haven’t you just done it yet? Because it’s not second nature for you.
Depending on what you’re aiming for depends how much practice you’re going to need before you debut the new you. If you’re going to be behaving differently you need to practise this so much that it feels natural not only to whoever is observing it, but to yourself so you don’t slip up. For those of us who are more all or nothing, executing a big change in a new city means that if you fall from grace it’s going to be hard to come back from it.
If the new you requires a skill or knowledge you don’t have, then chances are you won’t be able to fake this aspect. Unfortunately depending on how ambitious a change you are going for you may actually have to put in some hard yards. Learn the skill, practice the accent, respond to the new name, conduct yourself in the manner the new you would.
If this is too hard then dial back what it is you’re planning, because if you feel ridiculous practising you aren’t going to be able to do this in day to day life. On top of this if this isn’t something you’re comfortable being for a few weeks, then honey you aren’t going to want to be it for the rest of your life either.
Go dark on social media
If you’re changing who you are then the largest thing that can dob you in is your digital presence. Now I’m not suggesting you delete your social media accounts permanently, because in this day and age a person with none raises more eyebrows than someone who just doesn’t post much, but you’re going to need to clean up your online presence.
Going dark online is going to give you the opportunity to clean up what you need to. Make your Instagram private, temporarily remove your Facebook, stop posting in Snapchat and Twitter. Once you’ve done this crawl through all of your feeds and methodically delete everything that doesn’t fit who you’re going to be now. If there’s too much, then simply salt the Earth and make new accounts.
Put your plan into motion
Regardless of what you decide to do in order to change who you are, a solid choice is changing your appearance. Haircuts and hair dye are a great way to physically show a change, and you yourself can use this to help think of yourself as the “new you”.
You’ve already practised what you need to, learnt the skills you need to, and brought your social media into line. If you’ve moved then you can hit the ground running with your new self. If not then over the next few weeks slowly phase new elements of the new, faker, better you into your everyday life.
Godspeed and don’t fuck it up.