Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Show some emotion

Some weeks ago my ex girlfriend went abroad. I just asked her how she’s doing there. She replied “Fine thanks and you?”. I told her that I’m doing as fine as I can be (given my circumstances). Then I wondered if she would tell me the truth. So I asked her whether she would tell me if she would not be fine. “No certainly I will not :-)”, she replied. Why do people prefer to hide their true emotions?

At a young age, we learn from our parents that it’s better to hide our emotions. In each class there’s always one kid who is the outlier, the freak, the weirdo (NL: pispaaltje). You really do not want to be him or her. So it’s better to hide your emotions in order to prevent becoming the center of negative attention. We seem to master that craft in later years.

Hiding your emotions can become a serious obstacle at work. Everyone has seen colleagues at work struggling to solve a problem and being to proud to ask for help. At least that is what we assume how they feel. Actually, they probably hate it to show their weakness to others. At least that is what they assume how we would feel about them.

People are often afraid to ask for advice, because asking for help “implies incompetence and dependence, and therefore is related to powerlessness.” But a new Harvard Business School–led study suggests that asking for advice makes you look more, not less, capable. “Individuals perceive those who seek advice as more competent than those who do not seek advice,” the authors write. The reason: When you ask someone for advice, you validate his or her intelligence, experience, and expertise. And because you’ve made a person feel good, he or she feels good about you. (Slate)


Hiding your emotions is most likely the most serious obstacle in relationships. In general, when it comes to emotions, men like to keep their emotions to themselves, while women like to talk about them – especially the ones of others, including their partner’s. That different mind set is often the cause for new emotions/problems. It then becomes “easier” to hide your emotions.

Actually, the answer “fine” has become the default indication that you are not willing to talk about how you’re doing. This makes perfect sense in case of a waitress or a shop attendant who also have other clients to serve. It may even make sense towards people who are no longer privy to know your situation. Between friends – and colleagues – it doesn’t really make sense. Friends and colleagues are supposed to help each other in the interest of friendship, team results and company results.

Showing your emotions may make you feel vulnerable and weak but it also makes you authentic / genuine, sincere and transparent. Basically, we are even looking for such qualities in business and private life. But when we find them then we struggle to accept them and try to blend this minority into the majority. Another emotion (disappointment) in the making.

The challenge is to dose your emotions, to pick the right person, time and place. Achieving results may require a poker face during the game. Winning and losing is not the time for a poker face. People without emotions express a lack of sincerity, even a lack of humanity.

Show some emotion, Put expression in your eyes. Light up if you’re feeling happy, But if it’s bad then let those tears roll down. Joan Armatrading (artist, lyrics, video, Wiki)

Joan Armatrading – Show Some Emotion (1977)

Lady Gaga – Poker Face (2008) – lyrics, Wiki


Framework Posts


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest