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Why do people conform to societal norms?

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#46    freetoroam


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Posted 30 November 2012 - 11:43 PM

View Postpallidin, on 30 November 2012 - 08:09 PM, said:

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:
so far? you must be good.
Listen i have a cunning plan! ;)

#47    Alienated Being

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 12:15 AM

Apparently I show 6/9 signs of narcissistic personality disorder. According to that site, anyway.

Should I get help? LOL

#48    Karlis


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Posted 01 December 2012 - 12:28 AM

View PostAlienated Being, on 01 December 2012 - 12:15 AM, said:

Apparently I show 6/9 signs of narcissistic personality disorder. According to that site, anyway.

Should I get help? LOL
Should you get help? Well, I'd say that the only person who can answer such a question would be the person themselves.

#49    Lilly


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Posted 01 December 2012 - 01:04 AM

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, even if I really want to do it?

Depends upon what it is you "want to do" and where you plan on doing it.


If I wanted to dress up as a clown, and I made many people feel uncomfortable, should I stop doing so, even if it makes me completely happy? In a sense, I am conforming to their wants and needs, not my own. Sorry, but I will not intentionally avoid doing something just because it displeases others.

Depends, the clown thing would be fine unless you wear it to your work place (assuming you aren't employed by Ringling Bros), or anyplace else such attire would be considered distracting or inappropriate. You could of course choose to wear the clown outfit despite the opinion of your boss or others...you could also lose your job or be removed from various venues. In life ones actions/choices do have consequences.


If I am reading say, Harry Potter on the bus, and a group of people around me say that they feel extremely uncomfortable while I am reading it, yet it brings absolute bliss to me, should I stop reading it?

Honestly, no one is going to give a proverbial 'rodent's rear' if you read a Harry Potter book on a bus.

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#50    lightly


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Posted 01 December 2012 - 02:28 AM

I'd say that in your case Alienated Being,   you are secure in your Mother's Love or you might not dare to be so radical as to  Not!  get her a card or whatever.

I think people conform for acceptance/LOVE.   ..and fear of being Unloved if they don't .   I guess Ego play a role?  People want to feel at least adequate.. some try to believe themselves    superior   .. which really means ..  that they don't!      I  think most everything we do is done out of fear or faith.

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#51    Kazahel


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Posted 01 December 2012 - 03:12 AM

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

Why do humans conform with the norms of society? Why do we want to fit in to social groups, and be respected?
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?

Monkeys and sheep come to mind for me.

Monkey see monkey do. Most people are like sheep, so if you're not a part of the herd then you're exactly that. Then you're like a black sheep. And white sheep wont really understand black sheep because they're too busy following... monkeys?

Anyway in regards to buying christmas gifts. I havent bought a christmas gift for anyone else in my family(a large family)for many years(I dont even spend christmas with them and they live kinda close). I opted out of all that and its the best thing. I can now enjoy christmas without having to stress about buying gifts or the awkwardness of it all. I still buy christmas gifts for my son of course(so I am somewhat forced by society), but other than that I never do. I think people should grow out of it basically and to expect a christmas gift when you are older is bizarre to me. My mother still wants to buy me gifts as formality though because she says I'm her son. So she says its the same as me with my son. I guess I can understand that. Thats why I got a cookie jar yesterday for my birthday. :D And I do love my new cookie jar I must admit.

So I buy gifts as a form of surprise. I think when people buy gifts simply because society has basically told them to then its not really a gift at all. Its a formality. So imo if someone really wants to give a gift to show appreciation or love then you give it when they least expect it and actually make it a true surprise/gift.

#52    JGirl


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Posted 01 December 2012 - 03:27 AM

it's good to follow some social mores, just so you don't get poked at with sticks for being  barbarian or something, but i think the OP is talking more about rebelling against what others expect from him more than just doing his own thing
as for the brother who has to wear the same shoes as everyone else...what is he, 12??

#53    Jinxdom


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Posted 01 December 2012 - 03:52 AM

People follow what gives them pleasure and people follow what gives them the least amount of pain. Everybody interprets the values on that scale differently. Conformists and non-conformists are more alike then they realize.

Edited by Jinxdom, 01 December 2012 - 04:06 AM.

#54    FlyingAngel


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Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:32 AM

View PostAlienated Being, on 30 November 2012 - 05:39 PM, said:

And why should we care about the feelings of others? How one feels in a certain situation is their business, not mine. I am not a person who does things to merely please. If they are uncomfortable, that's their own problem. I will not intentionally avoid doing something simply because I am afraid that others will be uncomfortable with it.
Lack of empathy. You are a type that should be living alone.

#55    lightly


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Posted 01 December 2012 - 01:15 PM

Honestly?   ...  you  simply seem to be self centered / selfish   and somewhat  "spoiled "   .   You can't wait for your father to get  home?  you have to eat YOUR meal?
  You can't buy your Mom a small gift in consideration of HER FEELINGS?     Sometimes 'CONFORMING"  .. is  simply being considerate of others feelings

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#56    Ashotep


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Posted 01 December 2012 - 02:12 PM

View PostAlienated Being, on 30 November 2012 - 06:29 PM, said:

No, it would not kill me; but why does she require material items in order to feel loved and appreciated?
Because she does, that would satisfy her that she is loved and thought of.  Do you ever tell her that you love her?  No insult intended but I think you are being a little selfish.  Don't have to go out and buy a card or present for everyone just your mom.  You only get one and she won't live forever.  Will you feel good about your decision if she gets killed today?

I know we are talking about your mother here but in relationships selfishness won't get you very far.  Might get you cheated on.

#57    Bling


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Posted 01 December 2012 - 02:18 PM

I know from experience that we all too soon lose our loved ones, and every day with them should be cherished. Celebrating their birth, the fact they are alive, is a wonderful way to show you love them....and a privilege that so many people don't have.

#58    markdohle


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Posted 01 December 2012 - 03:20 PM

You try too hard, it shows, maybe, that your concept of yourself is weaker than you think.  Why else to you need to make a show of how different you are.  I hope things get better for you.


#59    Beany


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Posted 01 December 2012 - 04:17 PM

Why the disrespect for conformity? Imagine what society would be like if it were ruled by anarchy. Many of the ways people conform are harmless, just as some of the ways your non-conformity may be harmless. But making no attempt to meet your parents needs while you're living under their roof sounds disrespectful. If you don't want to be a part of the household, to interact with your parents in a way that creates harmony, than move out. Get a place of your own. Then you won't be faced with these problems. People conform to create harmony and a positive environment that allows for the largest numbers of people to thrive. Certainly there are extremes at either end of the spectrum, but most of us are bunched together in the middle. And when the population is as large as it is, it behooves us to conform. Do you drive? There are rules of the road to which almost all drivers conform. If we didn't there would be more death & destruction on the roads, and getting behind the wheel would be risking one's life. Did you go to school? Then you conformed. Do you live in a house instead of a cave or abandoned warehouse? Then you're conforming. Do you plan on being self-supporting? Then you're conforming. Do you obey the law? Conformity, again.

So you don't buy your mom a card. That's a picayune, meaningless gesture towards a woman who presumably fed you, got you to school, washed your clothes, kept you clean and out of harms way. If spending $2 on a card would make her happy, could you possibly sacrifice your own need to assert your independence of conformity to give her a little joy? Because I guarantee you, she sacrificed for you. And wear a clown costume on your way to the card shop if it makes you feel better.

#60    Michelle


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Posted 01 December 2012 - 05:24 PM

It's funny the lengths people will go to to be "different". People started getting tattoos as an act of rebellion and now 36% between the ages of 18 and 25 have them. 40% of ages 26 to 40 do also. In their desire to be different they have now become common.

There are millions of non comformists in the world and all of them think they are unique.

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