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Alienated Being

Why do people conform to societal norms?

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Why should you care about the feelings of others? Perhaps you should ask yourself that the next time someone does something you don't particularly like.

Also, there are definitely some things one should avoid doing publically due to the fact that others would be uncomfortable. Example, some people believe in nudity as a life style choice....most realize that they need to do this among other nudists verses 'in public' in front of others not so inclined.

Like I said, it's a matter of good manners, and in some cases even legal issues. Basically, If one doesn't want to conform to any social norms at all one will eventually find themselves in an uncomfortable position they don't *like* very much.

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? 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. 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?

I am interested in hearing what you have to say. :P

Edited by Alienated Being

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It was kind of programed in us. Evoultinarily (if i spelled that right <.< ) it is safer to be with the group then to walk the other way. In the movies the guy who walks alone in the forest normally gets killed first lol. If someone is "diffrent" then us then they can possibly be a threat so we are hardwired not to like it. What we know is safe, what we dont know is not safe.

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Personally i think you should get your mom a gift... lol she did raise you after all.

Being nice to people HELPS you out by the way because humans have a natural need to give back to someone who gives or does something for them.

Its called the power of recipication. For example waiters who give extra mints get like 20 percent higher tips. Its just a natural human thing programmed in us.

So if you be nice it does help you. Alittel "conformity" doesnt hurt. ;)

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Personally i think you should get your mom a gift... lol she did raise you after all.

Being nice to people HELPS you out by the way because humans have a natural need to give back to someone who gives or does something for them.

Its called the power of recipication. For example waiters who give extra mints get like 20 percent higher tips. Its just a natural human thing programmed in us.

So if you be nice it does help you. Alittel "conformity" doesnt hurt. ;)

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?

Edited by Alienated Being

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"Fitting in" is a survival trait. In order to be part of the group, which gives the entire group a better chance at survival, you must have fit in with the group. In today's world it is not as true as it once was, but 10,000 years ago, if you were different than the group and outside the group, your chances of survival were greatly diminished. Even though we like to believe we are above instinct today, it is still a process which occurs in the brain which we have little control over.

On a side note, it is going to be real funny when tattoos are no longer "cool" and all these people who say that it is just an expression of themselves are wishing they didn't go along with the group. Those barb wires around the arm will not look so good on a saggy, wrinkled bicep.

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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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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
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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?

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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).

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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

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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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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 :)

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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:

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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.

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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.

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...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
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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.

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

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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!

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Diggin' that one ^^^^

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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! ;)

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

Should I get help? LOL

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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.
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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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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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