If I'm totally bare before you, I do (quite often, actually) pretend I don't know things that I do. But I don't really consider it phony, because I use it for grace and not evil. For example, if I know that you did something really, really bad, I might pretend I don't know about it so you feel more comfortable in my presence, because I don't really care what you've done, I will always love you and give you empathy and compassion, regardless. Or...if you are a cop who pulls me over, I might (not-so-inadvertently and with the hopes of being extended the same intensity in grace) over-emphasize my misunderstanding of the rules so that I can feign an extension of INTENSE gratitude that you exist and took time out of your indescribably busy and important day to help little ole me improve my understanding and better protect myself and everyone I might meet on the road in the future. That's not phony. That's just survival skills 101.
Actually, I LOVE connotation. I prepare my students for their first interview with a lesson on creating an image through specific word choice. For example, in an interview, you have about 30 seconds before the gavel is dropped. 10-15 minutes at best. You HAVE to give everything a positive spin. Everyone has bad qualities. Everyone has weaknesses. Your potential boss does not need to hear them all in the first meeting, or the consequence is that it will probably be your last. Give yourself a chance by letting your positives shine.
Like this: I am probably the most stubborn person you will EVER meet (ask my husband...or my Mom!). However...I'm not going to walk into an interview and tell that as my weakness. Rather, I might say about myself..."I am the most persistent person you will ever meet. I do NOT quit until I get the job done, and I get it done WELL." Is that a lie? No. That is very true about me (ask my boss). Is it phony that I don't tell my interviewer I will also storm out from the bleachers to the plate and let the umpire know very clearly my desire for him to either call them loose or call them tight but for-the-love-of-all-things-good please get some consistency in your calls, or I WILL get between you and my son on the mound as many times as I have to until you pull it together? I say, "not phony." I say it is just presenting one perspective in a situation where it is VERY appropriate to give only one perspective. There IS such a thing as "levels of disclosure". It's social etiquette, for goodness's sake.
There is only one person that gets all of me, and that is the one who has earned my trust that he will remain despite the worst of my worst. Does that make me phony everywhere else? I don't think so. He's the only one who gets it all, really, and that is for your sake as much as mine. Because, trust me...you do not want my all. You would completely reject my all, or in the least be offended by it. So, tidying up my appearance for you...That's not phony. That's just considerate.