Behaving like an actual adult is hard. It means sacrificing many of the things that you hold dear, such as drinking on weekdays and hooking up with random strangers. It also means taking on new responsibilities, like routinely purchasing fresh vegetables and exercising regularly. This transformation certainly isn’t going to take place overnight. However, just because you aren’t quite ready to behave like an adult doesn’t mean that you can’t, at the very least, convince your coworkers that you have made the transition. With a bit of creativity and ingenuity, it is possible to pull the wool over most people’s eyes. I’ve picked up a few relatively simple tricks that can help anyone appear like a functioning adult to their colleagues without making any changes whatsoever to their lifestyle.
Keep healthy food at the office.
Don’t fret. It isn’t necessary that you actually eat the food; it just needs to be there. Try to store it in a conspicuously prominent location. If you execute this properly, someone will inevitably ask, “Whose organic gluten-free banana bran bars are these?” and the answer will be you. All of a sudden, you’re perceived as a health-conscious adult that takes their nutrition seriously. Congratulations.
Take it to the next level: tell your coworkers that you are in the midst of a Paleo cleanse. Make a point of mentioning how much healthier you feel and remind everyone that “wheat is the new tobacco” on a daily basis. Pulling this off does require a little bit more effort, as you’ll have to avoid eating non-Paleocentric foods within eyeshot of your coworkers.
Create a fake relationship.
Your colleagues will probably have a difficult time taking you seriously if they are able to picture you out at the bar on the weekend, impulsively hooking up with other desperate singles. Instead, create the image of a straight-laced, buttoned down young adult that has settled down with a respectable partner and has an eye towards starting a family. The more serious you are with your fake significant other, the better. As far as my coworkers are concerned, I spend my Friday and Saturday nights curled up on the couch with my serious girlfriend and the latest rom-com. Remember, conjuring up a fake boyfriend/girlfriend is only pathetic if you’re doing it out of self-consciousness, not if you’re doing it to advance your career.
Take it to the next level: don’t stop at faking a mere relationship; go full marriage. This is a risky move, as it could result in detailed questions about the engagement that you never had and a wedding that you aren’t actually planning.
Invest in custom-fitted suits.
For better or worse, we live in a world where a book will usually be judged by its cover. Take this for the opportunity that it is. A well-fitted suit can dupe practically anyone into taking you seriously. If you look like a respectable member of society, people will typically treat you as one, regardless of how much evidence may exist to the contrary. After all, it’s not about the product, it’s about the packaging.
Take it to the next level: master the art of tying a bow tie. In my experience, this is a skill that most grown men still haven’t mastered, so you will automatically have a step up on them.
Clean up your social media profiles.
This should probably go without saying, but it can be hard to stay on top of this task. Devote an evening to un-tagging/deleting all the photos out there of you engaging in unruly behavior. You don’t need to stop partaking in unruly behavior, you just have to stop documenting it.
Take it to the next level: create an entirely new “professional” Twitter account and encourage all of your coworkers to follow you. The beauty of this is that you don’t actually have to put any substantive thought into your tweets. Tweeting a link that is somehow relevant to your industry with a short, one-sentence blurb should suffice. Once you develop a knack for this, you can probably get away with tweeting links to articles that you haven’t even read. This should help create the impression that you are engaged with your profession and up to date on the latest trends. Throw in a RT of a random charity’s tweet a couple of times a week. Really spice it up.
Once you master all of these tricks, you will be well on your way to being perceived as an adult without having to act like one. I wish you the best of luck in your efforts to stave off growing up for as long as possible.