Saturday, 28 March 2015

Conforming to Society

I reckon I've been pretty good at this lately.  I've been talking to all the right people, saying all the right things, being the right balance of friendly.  I've been considerably normal, and I must say, it is a good feeling.  Being normal.

But am I really happy?  Is this the right way to view life?


The other day this guy gave a talk at my school about drugs and alcohol and that kind of thing.  He made a really valid point about how we're all programed to think that every teen does it, and that drinking and doing drugs is 'normal'.  The media is always talking about teen alcohol problems.  The movies always depict teenagers going to parties, or 'gathos' as we apparently like to call it.  But we all know it's bad for you.  We all know you're ruining your brain at 15.  I can't even pinpoint a positive reason why anyone would want to do drugs or alcohol.  So then why do people do it?  It's because they think it's 'normal', they think it's 'cool', they want to conform to society, and I'm certainly hoping my conformity never goes that far.  Honestly though, looking at my grade of private school girls, the majority of us are pretty good.  Normal.


I would say I have two types of friends.  There are those who care a lot about conformity.  And there are those who don't give a f*ck.

Today I went to the boys' fete with two people of the former.  They are always seemingly self conscious, caring so much about popularity and what they say.  When we saw three other girls from our grade, one of which my friend had been bragging about being really good friends with, she immediately turned us around and headed in the other direction.  My other conforming friend did the same, while we just followed.  Later when we asked why we just wasted our time walking away, she said, "Oh.  I didn't want it to be awkward because I would've said hi and you guys would've been just standing there.  I didn't wanna be rude to you guys."  For freakin sake they're just people.  And it's not like I've never had a conversation with any of them, and even if I hadn't, it would be fine.  People talk to people.  We're all equal and if she feels self conscious with her 'friend' she should just say so.

They also talk about certain things, such as formals, or working out, or eating healthy, or parties, or the connections they have.  And you know what?  It gets boring.  So so boring.  And if, shock horror, I accidentally say something random, it's judgemental looks galore.  They don't like certain people, they don't like sitting with certain people, they're like an exclusive little group.  But you know what?  They're not really a group either.  Sure, they're friends, but the trademark quality of people who love conforming, is that there's a fifty fifty chance they'll ditch each other for someone 'more popular'.

But what about those people who care so so much, but have a serious lack of social skills.  They're the ones I pity because no matter what they'll never be happy with their otherwise awesome selves.  I've heard remarks like, "well who wouldn't wanna be popular?"  Tell you what, if you want to be popular so bad, go be it.  Go get in with 'the crowd'.  It's not all that hard.  After all, the people you think are the best form of 'normal' are equal to you.  You're the one putting them on that pedestal.  They're equal to you, but simply like different things, or aren't compatible as friends, which is why you're not friends with them in the first place.  The friends you have now are the right people for you.  Because you found them and they found you, and you guys have the funniest conversations.


Which brings me to those other friends.  The ones who don't care.

Actually, there's not much to say about them really, besides the fact that they're awesome to hang out with, and don't care who they hang out with (to a certain extent), and are generally more liked by the school population anyway, which is ironic.


But here's the big question.  What am I?

Judging myself a year ago, I was such a conformer.  I cared so much.  But now?

I guess you can say I'm working on it.  Sometimes I still do care who I'm seen with, and I try hard to fit in, be 'normal'.  But I guess the reason I feel more 'normal' now is that I care less.  I don't care as much what people think of me.  I think the value of a conversation is a lot more important than being seen with a particular person.  It's weird that I could ever think otherwise.

I don't want to care but I think we all do.  Even those people who act as if they don't.  They do.  It's fighting the urge to conform that counts.  It's seeing through that and finding what you really want behind that curtain of wanting to be 'normal'.

We're all people with different experiences.  We don't know anyone else's but our own.  So technically, 'normal' doesn't exist.

Love,
M

38 comments:

  1. Really insightful post. I used to be a conformist, but like you, I'm working towards it. I think it's a part of our nature to conform, to follow the crowd. This used to be a survival thing, but now there's no reason to be afraid to be an individual. Or is there?

    Anyway, great post :) I esp liked the part where you talked about your experiences with conformism.

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    1. There isn't but there is at the same time. I guess the negative consequences of not conforming is that people will judge you. They always will. It's a matter of training yourself not to care. Human nature sucks.

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  2. This was a really interesting post to think about! I would definitely say that I am the type of person who "doesn't give a f*ck" - I couldn't care less what people say about me because I don't believe that the people who say these things deserve my attention. I do things for myself, not because I think other people will like it.

    However, as much as it pains me to say this, as a kid I think I cared an awful lot about what people had to say about me. I was never really introduced to bullying at a young age, so when the other kids got older and bitchy-er it came as a bit of a shock and I couldn't help but care what they thought of me.

    I have to say that life gets easier once you stop caring! (sorry for the long comment)
    Lucy :)

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    1. I love long comments! I reckon you're most definitely right about life getting easier when you stop caring. It's just so hard. You can't help but care. I'm glad that you've managed to learn to fight it, but I don't think I ever will. People are definitely getting bitchier, but I'm hoping this now is the peak, and slowly they'll get less judgy.

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  3. It makes me so mad when I see people sucking up to others and trying to be popular, and ignoring their other friends in the process to do so. If you just be yourself and be nice to everyone, you'll get a lot more friends and respect than if you're a pushover. But so many teenagers don't seem to understand that.

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    1. I know right :( The suck ups are everywhere, and they're literally so disrespected. Being nice is definitely key ;)

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  4. Oh my gosh I'm so self conscious! (And I'm trying not to be) People make fun of me if I like Anime, graffiti, colored hair strands, camo, star wars, nerdy stuff and such, even my older siblings make fun of me, this post was so encouraging, Thanks!!

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    1. Keep loving the stuff you love! Ugh I feel like I'm doing that to my sister though. A lot of the stuff she does I'm just so mean about it, because it's even more abnormal than my habits. Honestly, I'm self conscious about my blogging.

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  5. This is such a great post!
    I have often felt a lot of pressure to conform and be 'normal', because I really don't like all the things I supposedly should as 21 year old eg. drinking, partying, going out all night etc. I'm very shy and introverted so that just isn't my scene, and I would much rather stay in and read a book, or go out with my friends to the cinema or a restaurant instead. Thankfully I think I've got to the stage now where I really don't care if people tease me for being boring and tell me I need to 'live a little', although it did used to really upset me that people saw me like that.

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    1. 'live a little' meaning getting wasted? I think we all have different definitions of what 'living' is. It's good that you haven't succumbed to any of that pressure. Don't feel upset. Feel unique and strong and even better because you're doing what you love while they're all missing out.

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  6. This is awesome! The normal 6th grader, huh, not me! I always feel so different compared to the "popular" girls. I loved this post, so awesome!

    ~Noor
    a little bit of sunshine

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    1. And it's great to feel different. Embrace it before you get older. Thanks Noor xx

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  7. I couldn't agree more with the two types of people you mentioned, and those typical conversations about working out, eating healthy, or how many people they know get boring eventually.
    Sometimes I feel like I have to begin conforming with these "standards" and start talking about the same things "normal" people talk about, but then I feel like I'm not really being myself.
    Then, there are also those times when I'm being myself and don't giving a f**k about these "standards" but I start feeling a bit out of place while being surrounded by "normal" people...
    The thing is, I always end up trying to balance my real self and the "normal" self within me.

    I loved this post, M.! :)

    The Journeys of a Girl

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    1. Thanks Salha! You're so right! The balance between the two types is what's important, because you really do feel so out of place when you're not conforming, but if you care too much then you'll always be miserable anyway.

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  8. It bothers me too that people try to conform to society. Just.. why? What's so wrong with being yourself?

    xoxo Morning

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    1. But it's the undeniable human nature making you want to fit in.

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  9. This was such a great read! the more I read the more I adore your writing! Though I do find myself sympatizing with your friend at some point. Whenever I go out shopping with my mom she runs into someone she knows and just start blabber on while I find myself standing there, bored, for the following 15 minutes and nodding back in response, to someone I barely even know :(
    Some people are good at those kind of things, others are the plainly akward hugging types like me. In some ways, having a friend who knows you well enough to actually think about something like that is amazing
    But hey, who knows? I might just be too optimistic :)

    Allie | RainyAllie


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    1. I'm not sure if she was being considerate or uncomfortable, but either way what happened happened, and it's not like it's a big deal or anything. Thanks Allie! xx

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  10. These are some very good points.

    I think one of the things is that people go about "fitting in" the wrong way. When people say "fitting in" everyone usually thinks of everybody acting the same. But I think it's our difference and what makes us individuals is what makes everyone work together and get along. Every person has a place to fill, not because they're all the same, but because they're all different. It's like a puzzle. All the pieces are a different shape and that is the exact reason why they fit together and make one puzzle.

    So really, the only thing you have to do to "fit in" is be you. And if people don't like you "being you" then maybe they're not the right people to be around.

    I think I might do a post on similar topics sometime. I've been thinking about it awhile.

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    1. That would be an ideal world but unfortunately even those differences may be fake. You might be the funny puzzle piece in your group, but what if you don't think you're funny at all? Sometimes we say things just to fit into that puzzle, and sometimes you feel wrong being so otherworldly from society's standards. Sure being different is good, but being too different isn't. It's such a controversial yet fundamental topic, so you should definitely write a post about it.

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  11. We shouldn't care about how others see ourselves, just enjoy every moment beside the people that truly love us bc of who we are, those with whom we may have deep conversations & talk about anything & everything 24/7 which won't give us the back for someone else. We need to learn to pick who we trust & who we call friends.

    Mafer, Euphoric Wanderlust | Bloglovin x

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    1. This is so true but sometimes you're drawn to the people who seem to 'fit in' more, and you just want to fit in too. But I guess that once you leave school it all gets easier, and while you're here just try your best.

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  12. I always wanted to be one of those people that didn't confirm, I'm said to say I wasn't though.

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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  13. ah yes. what's 'normal' anyway? :)

    Sharon

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    1. Who knows. What I don't understand is why I care so much

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  14. Nice post! Please check out my blog and post a comment on it thanks! Love the light blue background!

    shinenelevate.blogspot.co.uk

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  15. You're right.. we all care about being socially accepted, being liked. But like you said,you feel happier in general just by letting your guard down and not caring about what other people think of you.
    But its does take courage :/ I'm trying to work on it too...

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    1. Courage? Or is it just force? It's not scary to let your guard down. Sometimes you just gravitate towards fitting in, and your mind absentmindedly says what it thinks is most 'normal', even when you're really thinking something else.

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  16. First thing - what the heck is a "gathos?" o_O

    Okay, now that that's out of the way... I think it's great that you're thinking about these things! I honestly can't even understand where you're at because I never really found myself in the place that you've described as "normal." In high school on the first day I had a group assignment in math class and just kind of put myself into a group of three other people. It turned out that those people were huge nerds like me. I was never one of the popular girls, but I had plenty of friends! Friends that ranged from Christian to atheist to goth to gay and people in between. And, though I don't talk to many of them anymore, they made my high school experience amazing! We never talked about formals or clothes or healthy eating. We talked about Lord of the Rings and Johnny Depp and books! You should strive to be yourself and not worry about what the normal people think. Your life will be much more fulfilling (and fun!) that way!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

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    1. Haha parties are called gatherings here, and apparently there's a slang for that called "gathos".

      When I wrote this post I may have been over-exaggerating quite a bit. My friends really are great and "normal" isn't actually that big a deal. I mean, sure, everyone conforms a little, but we all have our quirks that are generally accepted as well. If people are talking about something I find boring, it's as simple as changing the subject or just talking to someone else. Wanting to belong is just a fact of life, but in society today we're all pretty good and we understand the concept of not caring as well.

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  17. Its good that you are working on it. Personally I am someone who cares a whole lot about conformity, and I want to stay away from it. In everything I do I always try to do it for me, with my own mind making the decisions. I can't say I am not influenced by anything at all - we are always influenced by things around us. I am just trying to make my mind and my actions my own :)

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    1. That's definitely the way to do it Olivia. I personally care a lot too, but it's difficult to stay away from it. :/ I guess all any of us can do is try to consciously make all our actions completely our own, even though a lot of us fail drastically.

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