We are told that, if you're not confident, you should just "fake it til you make it."
This is great--in theory. In practice, sometimes "faking it" can have extremely real and terrible consequences, which these people found out the hardest of hard ways.
Here were some of those answers.
When It Becomes OffensiveGiphy
At Nelson Mandela's funeral, people took note of the sign language interpreter that seemed to just be making random hand gestures instead of actual sign language. Turns out he had made quite a few appearances previously and nobody had caught on that he knew literally no sign language. To me, this dude is just the poster child for 'fake it till you make it'.
When Non Je Parle
This reminds me of a TIFU post where OP moved to a new neighborhood for just a few months and decided to take some LSD to break it in. OP thought it was a good idea to go for a walk and when he went outside, his new neighbor greeted him. Being on LSD and a bit of an introvert, he avoided conversation by speaking French as he knew enough to get by and did not plan on staying there for an extended period of time. This went on for about eight months (longer than he expected to stay there) and eventually the neighbor had a friend of hers over who also spoke French and tried to start up a conversation with him. That's when he was like "yeahh..I don't speak French."
When You're Looking Busy
Guy I used to work with told me about when he used to work as an electrician apprentice at a plant. When there was nothing to do, which apparently was most of the time, the lead guy and him would walk out to a random spot in the plant with a ladder a conduit bender and a bent piece of conduit. Then one of them would stand on top of the ladder and the other on the ground holding the conduit and they'd just chit chat all day. If any of the bosses wandered by they'd nod and pass the piece of conduit up to the guy on the ladder who would then make a show of trying to fit it in somewhere.
Said they both made it through 3 rounds of layoffs doing that.
When You're Not Flexible Enough
I was 8 years old and I told my dance teacher I could do a backbend (I couldn't) so she moved me up a level in acro and put me in a special role for our recital. For the next week my mom tried to help me get a backbend but it wasn't happening and I had to come clean. Luckily she didn't get too mad. I had to move back down a level, but I still got to keep my special role!
I hired a mandarin translator for a game I'm developing.
Ran her translations through google translate, to find they were a good match. TOO good a match.
Showed it to a friend of mine who's from China, told me the translator just google translated everything and that the end result was barely comprehensible.
When Cousin Couldn't Keep It Up
Went to visit my older cousin in a big city (small town girl). Before going out, he told me that the friends we would be meeting are super snobby, and would probably make fun of me if I told them I was from SmallTown-A (today I would tell him to get better friends, but when I was 18 I just wanted to fit in). We agree I would tell them I'm from City-X.
So the blonde bombshell in the group (6 years older) starts talking to me while my cousin and his friend head off to buy shots. "Where are you from?"
"OMG, me too!" She proceeds to ask me which school I went to, which coffee shop was my favorite and where my parents work - just making polite conversation. Of course, I
do the adult thing and confess make up an entire fake life story.
My cousin gets back to the table with the shots and I have never been more grateful for the opportunity to put alcohol in my mouth and stop words from coming out. At seeing me knock back my shot like an animal, my cousin forgets our cover story and loudly proclaims "Good god! You don't have to drink like you do in SmallTown-A, just chill!"
I did not look at Bombshell for the rest of the night. I have seldom wanted the earth to swallow me as much as I did in that moment.
When You Need A Job
A few years ago I got a job interview after months of looking. I was desperate. I thought I was going to be working in the mail room for the City but when I arrived it turned out it was for delivering mail between City offices. Okay, no big deal, I can do that. Well, in my province we have G1 (Learners), G2 (Still have some restrictions about when/who you can drive with) and G (Full License).
Well, I needed my full G for the job but hadn't gotten around to doing the test. No big deal, I thought, I'll just go along and schedule a test ASAP, hopefully before any paperwork needs to be done. So I went through the interview and I think I'm home free, but no. They want to do a driver's test right then and there, and I need to present my license to the testing company.
Thinking quick, I tell them I don't have my license on me. Well, they need it and they were willing to find a City employee to drive me back out to my house (~30 mins away) and get it. Backed into a corner I finally have to admit that I don't have my G license. I blurted it out and basically ran out of the office and didn't look back.
Still one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.
When You Don't Know What A Manhattan Is
Got a part time job as a bartender to help with bills. Told them I knew how to bartend. I can pour a whiskey coke and beer so just figured I'd pick up the rest as I went along. 1st week I was serving to get to know the menu and someone called in sick. Owner makes me bartend. So I'm doing fine, just beers and a few mixed drinks. Then a party of about 40 people coming from a wedding come in and starts asking for all these different shots, different specialty drinks, etc. Total Yikes.
When A Cat Screeching Is Your Theme Song
I took orchestra in elementary school and I eventually realized that I was just not going to understand violin. But I still wanted to be in orchestra because it had some perks. So, whenever we had lesson I put my fingers over the strings and moved my bow around like I meant it. When we had to play individually, I had to do it for real. I thought maybe, by some miracle, I'd get it and play normally.
When It Could Have Backfired, But You Got LuckyGiphy
Okay, I guess it ultimately didn't backfire, but it's a pretty good story I was told in film school eons ago. Back in the 80/90s, a guy snagged an interview for a camera operating job at a TV production company that was way above his experience level. The interviewer gave him a camera, said "okay, take this apart and lay it all out for me. You have 20 minutes," and left him there. After panicking for a minute, he walked down the hall, found a technician working and asked him to take apart the camera for him, which he did. Interviewer comes back, says, "good work. Now put it back together," and goes off to put out some other fires. Our guy tracks down the tech, who obliges again, and he was hired. When I heard this story the guy had worked in the field 15 or so years so I guess things worked out.