People who have only just met try their very best to project a particular image of themselves as professional or casual, friendly or intimidating, goofy or intellectual, depending on the situation. Of course, in reality, we are all of these traits, right? We humans tend to wear specific masks in specific situations in order that we may get what we want. And we all want something, whether that means approval, money, love, respect or not to have to take out the garbage.
And to get what we want, we might project confidence, sexiness, intellectualism, goofiness, edginess, etc. You know you do it. We all do. And so do your characters. Remember when you first met your in-laws? You were most likely trying to project an image of being friendly and respectful, right? In order to get their approval. Or how about when you first met the banker handling your mortgage? Truthful. Serious. Grownup. In order to get the loan. We all have an agenda and when we converse, we get to use our words to paint the picture of ourselves that we want others to see. So do your characters.
Is Your Character Wearing a Mask?
What are they trying to project or protect?