The personality I’m going to talk about in this post is the Chameleon. Chameleons are strange. They will match their personality to the people they are around. If they hang around people who are honest, hard workers with strong morals they will act the same but if they are with people who are backstabbing jerks, they will willing join in with the backstabbing and being a jerk.
These people are really good at hiding who they really are. If you are one of the hard working crowd with the strong morals you probably won’t know when you have a chameleon in your midst. He will blend in effortlessly. This shows that the chameleon knows what is right and wrong but chooses to go with whatever the flow happens to be. When the chameleon is with the problem people in the office he will act the same as them. The chameleon doesn’t swing back and forth between the different people. That would give away what he does. He picks a group and acts like that group until he can’t take it anymore or something happens to break up his alliance. Remember, as low as a person is willing to go is where their moral floor is. The chameleon has a low moral floor but hides it very well.
I have met two chameleons (that I know of). Both happened to be men. The first one I met very early in my career. This one was part of the hard working group. When he finally got fed up taking the high road, after several years, he started hanging around with the office’s problem people. He allowed his low moral floor to show through. The extreme ‘change’ in personality was shocking for me. He was not the person I thought I knew. I didn’t know about chameleons back then. In fact, seeing the change was probably what started me in my hobby of people observing.
The first chameleon was just a regular worker so he was able to switch to an ugly personality without there being a big issue. He became just another one of the problem people. The second chameleon I met was in a high position. He came in with a new group of administrators. One of the administrators he hung around with was a terrible man. The terrible one was probably in his late 40s to mid 50s. He would hang all over the youngest female employees in the office, flirting with them and looking down their shirts, giggling like a school boy. The chameleon joined in with this behavior.
Once the new administration realized the issues with the problem administrator and began putting on pressure to get him out the chameleon backed off and started acting more like the rest of the administrative staff. Once the new administration got the problem administrator to leave the chameleon completely took on the more moral behavior of the rest of that new administration.
I always stayed courteous but when the chameleon would speak to me in his new roll of a professional business person in my head I would be saying, “I see you. I know the real you”. I never fully trusted him no matter how much he tried to act like he was a good person. I had seen how low his moral floor was and knew the rest was just an act.
The thing about the chameleon is that they are not really a problem. When they are at their lowest behavior they are just another problem person. When they are putting on a façade of being a good person, well, they’re acting good so no problem. The main problem they pose is more towards your personal beliefs. They can shake your belief in people. They can shake your belief in your own ability to judge others. If you ever end up in this position don’t let them shake your confidence in yourself. They are experts at dissimulation.
Façade – an outward appearance that is maintained to conceal a less pleasant or creditable reality.
Pose – present.
Dissimulation – concealment of one’s thoughts, feelings, or character; pretense.