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Why do people conform to societal norms?


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#31    spartan max2

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 06:56 PM

View PostAlienated Being, on 30 November 2012 - 06:47 PM, said:

The intention of this thread is to understand why people conform, not whether or not I should conform. I have included some hypothetical scenarios to see what people think; for example, I have given my mother presents/cards/etc for Christmas... I am just interested in seeing what others have to say.

Also, I will not do something that makes another feel uncomfortable; I am just interested in why some feel as if I should do things to make a person feel comfortable. Why do we care if we're liked? Why does it matter? Is social grouping as important to us as it was through our evolutionary history?

I know i just felt bad for your mom so i wanted to say something lol.

But the answer to all your questions i think is that we are "hardwired" to care.Empathy is hardwired in us. I do not think it is as important as it was but it is still important some. Like if all your freinds are rich and upper class your going to have more open doors.

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#32    bLu3 de 3n3rgy

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:08 PM

View PostAlienated Being, on 30 November 2012 - 06:33 PM, said:

So, basically I should conform to the societal norm of doing things out of concern for the feelings of others, instead of doing things for myself...

I understand your point of view, really I do, one  of your earlier posts could have described me to a T. But we are also worlds apart and very very different. One thing that stands out to me is you are frustrated, you are restless about this and that if you truly were happy being the way you are, you would just relax and allow people the time and space to learn that about you, without feeling like you have to compromise yourself to meet their needs or come across like a douchebag.

One thing i will say, niceness and manners has nothing what so ever to do with conforming or giving your self power away. It doesn't actually cost anything to be nice and considerate, and it shows great emotional intelligence if you can communicate with people by recognising their needs/mindset/way they function. So what if some people like your Mother relish the thought of receiving a card / gift. At some point you will mature that aspect of your defiance and realise that how you make people feel does matter.  Everything you are towards others is reflected back onto your self, like a mirror. You may not agree, but the key word in knowing this is empathy. And i don't mean in a way that should feel fake or false to you, as it's not ABOUT YOU - ---  at some point the penny will drop there. Like ouija said before, you are getting away with a lot because of your youth, there will come a time, where you may need to watch that you don't become perceived a self centred mean person, even though that is not what you are trying to be.

On a hypothetical note, what would you think if you did something that managed to start a trend.  People copied you because you were the 'new different', thus as a result you were now a trend setter? How would that make you feel ?

Edited by bLu3 de 3n3rgy, 30 November 2012 - 07:11 PM.

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#33    ouija ouija

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:21 PM

I know you don't want this to be part of the discussion but I can't help myself: if you had even an inkling of what parents selflessly do for their offspring(18yrs so far in your case?), what they give up and what they put to one side(and are often not able to pick up again), just an inkling ...... you would be falling over yourself to get your Mum a present and a card!

Look at it from her perspective: why wouldn't you occasionally want to give her something that would please her?

Life is all too much ............................................. and not enough.

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#34    ouija ouija

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:27 PM

View PostbLu3 de 3n3rgy, on 30 November 2012 - 07:08 PM, said:

Like ouija said before, you are getting away with a lot because of your youth, there will come a time, where you may need to watch that you don't become perceived a self centred mean person, even though that is not what you are trying to be.

And an older self-centered mean person is not a pleasant thing ..... and will usually be ostracised and in extreme situations, attacked. Attacked because you have made it clear you are 'not with the the crowd', which assumes you are against the crowd(whether that is in fact true, or not).

Life is all too much ............................................. and not enough.

It is only when you form your question precisely and accurately that you receive the true answer.

#35    Mr Right Wing

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:46 PM

View PostAlienated Being, on 30 November 2012 - 05:04 PM, said:

My question is, why is it that those who engage in activities that deviate from the norm are viewed in a negative light, or cast out?

Being an individual is alien to most of society.

They come in two types -
1. Weirdos who everyone avoids (criminals and deviants).
2. The eagles (mentally strong with complete self-confidence).

The eagles dont know how to follow (it isnt in their nature) only lead and all the great leaders in history have been eagles (Joan of Arc, Napoleon, Hitler, etc).

Edited by Mr Right Wing, 30 November 2012 - 07:47 PM.


#36    Sakari

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:50 PM

Because it is all about a " status symbol "....

Some ( most ) want to be better then their friends, in clothing, cars, etc.

" Look, I am wealthy "

Weddings are a good example....tens of thousands of dollars, just to out do past weddings of friends and family.


I am proud to say I am not like that. My wife's family is ( yuppies )....I wear normal shoes ( Vans usually ), I have 3 pairs of jeans, a lot of t-shirts, sweat shirts, and a couple of jackets.

I do not dress up to " impress " others, or in laws. I am who I am.

I spend my spare time fishing, they spend theirs shopping.

Fun for me is friends with a BBQ, a couple of beers, and more important...Fishing.

Fun for them is going to a fancy dinner,( valet parking ) drinking, then a night club, drinking more, to the point of not remembering the night.


It is what it is, greed and money are what make the world go around......Some conform to it, others do not.

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#37    Melo -

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 08:02 PM

One day a couple of years ago I had a life changing experience, afterwhich I looked at myself in the mirror. A nice clean-cut fade, design on the side of my head, cheap earrings, white ecko unlimited shirt, and some Nike Cortezs'. And I thought,'This isn't me'.
For a good while after that I had really weird time trying to explain myself to my gangster-a s s family who used to really rag on me about it, but it was good and needed because at the time I didnt know why I didnt change sooner.

I figure many people probably have a hidden inferiority or insecurity complex that might make them scared or too timid to let a physical introduction of themselves be seen, u know?

Some people ive come across look alot like they have the potential to let something crazy loose but don't because of what other humans might think and its kinda embarassing from my perspective cuz im one of those idiots that stares at you for lookin normal lol :)

more dangerous than any weapon is a face of evil, with a mask of good intention...

#38    pallidin

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 08:09 PM

I like being somewhat different.
In fact, my wife say's that (you're not normal) !

However, while in public I try to conform to some sense of societal "norms"
It has, so far, kept me out of jail. :w00t:


#39    Karlis

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 08:17 PM

View PostAlienated Being, on 30 November 2012 - 06:47 PM, said:

The intention of this thread is to understand why people conform, not whether or not I should conform. I have included some hypothetical scenarios to see what people think; ...

... I am just interested in why some feel as if I should do things to make a person feel comfortable. Why do we care if we're liked? Why does it matter? Is social grouping as important to us as it was through our evolutionary history?
Hi AB -- I believe that there are innumerable reasons as to why some people conform, or conform not. There seems to be no pair of shoes that fits any "grouping" comfortably, because each individual *is* an individual -- a unique personality.

That said, I found the following on-line self-analysis "test" interesting, even though it does not answer "why people conform". Also, it is good to keep in mind that no on-line personality tests exist which are capable to show us as we really and truly are. So, anyone interested, have a go at answering the 42 personality questions about yourself > here :tu:


And these are the results for my answers. ;)

The Results
There is no clear indication that you might have a
psychopathic / antisocial personality disorder.

Score: 2 of 38 [2:0/2/0]

There is no indication that you might have a narcissistic personality disorder.
You might have certain traits of narcissistic personalities but certainly not in a form that would justify a personality disorder diagnosis according to the standards.
Score: 2 of 9

There is no indication that you might have a histrionic personality disorder.[D:1/I:1]
You meet as little as 20% of the range of general personality disorder criteria.


#40    Bling

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 08:59 PM

I've never fitted into this world, and I now know why. I was diagnosed with a Personality Disorder (PD) 6 years ago, and once I discovered what a PD was everything just clicked into place. I realised there were reasons why I did and felt things differently from the norm of society. It doesn't bother me as I'm settled now, but it has caused a whole load of problems for me in the past, because there are just some ways you can and cannot behave in life.


#41    pallidin

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 09:10 PM

View PostBling, on 30 November 2012 - 08:59 PM, said:

...because there are just some ways you can and cannot behave in life.

Spot on! Great statement.

EDIT: Now, if only radical extremist would listen to you, the world would be a much better place. :yes:

Edited by pallidin, 30 November 2012 - 09:15 PM.


#42    Ryu

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 09:13 PM

There are things I "conform" to because it makes my life a bit more tolerable. For instance since I am living with my father and his wife (economic issues) I try to eat dinner with them because 1) It is a chance to sit with them and 2) by cloistering myself off in another room I am basically thumbing my nose at them and coming off as a real snob.

I see no point in going out of my way to be different just for the sake of doing so such as wearing unmatched socks or color combinations that would make someone go instantly colorblind. To me that is not being "different" that is just someone going out of their way to make fun of society.

Yes..I do care about the feelings of others because if I deliberately act like a heartless jerkface to others then I am hurting myself because I know better and it doesn't make me feel good to know I intentionally hurt another.

There is nothing wrong with basic conformity to things like rules, laws and basics of civil conduct, that doesn't mean you can't "be yourself" but in the process it would help to take care not to burn down bridges netween yourself and others.

When you are still in high school or college, that "in your face" and "I don't give a *****" attitude will not go over with prospective employers or other colleges.


#43    Kazoo

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 09:28 PM

Because no matter how much we deny it. We all want to be with fellow humans.

"The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all." - H.L. Mencken

#44    freetoroam

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 09:37 PM

View PostAlienated Being, on 30 November 2012 - 05:04 PM, said:

Why do humans conform with the norms of society?
what is the "norm" to one man is not neccesserily the norm to another. I think the difference in cultures and the amount of wars we have been through is proof of this.
there are also the laws of the land? they are the laws man has made in order for the next man to conform to his way, is that right? in certain things yes, but morals rights do not exist in the law courts.
In our countries we have the vote, I did not vote for the party/parties which are in power here now, but i have to "conform" to their rules...is that right? you damn right it is NOT!

In an ideal World a law would be passed were NO guns were allowed and all those out there destroyed, trouble is the law makers are not going to take a risk of trying to pass that without making sure they are armed first.

#45    Melo -

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  • ...more dangerous than any weapon is a face of evil, with a mask of good intention.

Posted 30 November 2012 - 11:35 PM

Diggin' that one ^^^^

more dangerous than any weapon is a face of evil, with a mask of good intention...




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