put up a front
put up a (brave) front
1. To appear or make oneself seem more courageous, resolute, or dauntless than one really feels. I could feel my knees shaking with terror before my commencement speech, but I put up a brave front and stepped out onto the stage to deliver it. This girl I'm dating has a big dog that I'm really scared of, but I put up a front when it's around.
2. To react to or face difficulties, setbacks, or adversity with high spirits or good cheer, especially when it is disingenuous or unauthentic. John's been putting up a front since his wife left him, but I can tell that he is devastated on the inside. I really didn't want to spend Thanksgiving with my wife's parents, but I put up a brave front and suffered through it with a smile.
put up a (brave) frontand put on a (brave) front
Fig. to appear to be brave (even if one is not). Mary is frightened, but she's putting up a brave front. If she weren't putting on a front, I'd be more frightened than l am.