Social Question

DigitalBlue's avatar

Do you ever feel like you will never fit in with society?

Asked by DigitalBlue (6684 points ) November 25th, 2012

This question could go a million ways, so feel free to answer it as it applies to you.

I’m a die hard night owl, and I don’t mean that I’m content staying up until midnight, I mean I am up until 6–7am scouring my floors and full of energy, being productive. Getting up for a 9am appointment has always been next to impossible. I have much better luck staying up all night, and then falling asleep later that afternoon. The second I have to adhere to a more traditional sleep schedule, though, my entire body goes haywire. I usually end up with severe insomnia and I fall into a depression and become kind of pathetic. However, if I am left for a long stretch of time to sleep as my body wishes and without social obligations disrupting my natural patterns, I am productive and happy and creative. I also have no trouble sleeping, and I firmly believe that my lifetime of chronic “insomnia” is just a reaction to fighting my body’s rhythm.

I often have the same feelings about working a traditional job. I do much better on jobs where I can work the graveyard shift, but that usually compounds the issue of sleep when I also run into social obligations that force me to flop my sleep schedule around a lot. When I have to work a day job, I end up being so pushed to my personal limits that I easily burn out and start to fail.

I often feel like my nature is so backwards compared to what is socially “normal,” that in order to function in the real world, I have to put for a great deal of effort which always seems to leave me unhappy – and I really believe also unhealthy.

For those of you who can relate, in what way do you feel like you are unable to mesh with societal standards? Have you felt that way in the past and found a way around it? Or have you embraced your nature and found a way to make it work for you?

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36 Answers

jordym84's avatar

I’m not sure if this answers your question, but one thing I’ve found is that I can’t take naps…at all. No matter how tired or sleepy I may be, if it’s not “bed time” (whenever that ends up being, depending on the day), I just can’t sleep. And I can’t fall asleep in random places either: if it’s not a “designated sleeping ‘surface’” (and I say surface because it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bed, as long as I know that that’s where I’m supposed to sleep), sleep just doesn’t happen for me. Oh, and also, if I’m still wearing day clothes, I won’t fall asleep either. I don’t fall asleep during long car rides or long flights (meaning 8+ hours). It’s not out of fear or anything because I love flying, so I don’t really know what it is not that I’m complaining. My friends think it’s strange and funny but I don’t see anything out of the ordinary with it…I guess when it comes to naps, I’ll never fit in with those who surround me because everyone I know loves napping lol

Unbroken's avatar

Good question. I am somewhat similar though I have a day job that starts at 7. I usually go for the split sleep schedule bit. It is such that I often can only sleep 3 to 4 hours at a time.

However if something unexpected or forgotten comes up and I am screwed.

It is fabulous to go grocery shopping at night or go for a cup of coffee. Or go for a stroll to wrap up an evening, working out hard but then too wired to sleep.

Having a moment of creative or studious thought.

Suddenly deciding to rearrange or clean my house at 10.

I try to conform putting sleep music on, taking magnesium calm, doing a host of things forcing myself to stay awake all day.

However I find it all to easy to slip back, I take pleasure in it to.

Is it a desire to not conform? Is it a remanent of rebellion? Would that I adhered to a strict schedule, spurning any activity in which threatened it, I should grow into such a role.

Would I really be denying my essence, or my greatest output hours. Or would my body adjust?
Common sense says that I should be able to adjust.

YARNLADY's avatar

At this point in my life I have long ago given up trying. When I was in my 20’s I wanted to be like other people, but it never worked.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’m with Yarnlady. I just tell society to go screw itself and fit in with me.

Ron_C's avatar

I’m the opposite of @DigitalBlue in my active hours. I like to get up at 0530 and have breakfast and read the news. 0900 appointments are mid day for me. I have no problem going to bed at 2100. Still, I don’t fit into society. I believe that the minimum wage should be enough to raise a family. I believe that religion has no business in government, and I believe that government has no business in my personal life. Strangely, there aren’t many of my kind around here (Northwestern Pennsylvania)

Coloma's avatar

Much of who we are and how we operate is based on personality/temperament.
My particular type is notorious for being of a non-conforming nature and prefer unstructured and innovative/creative environments to thrive.
We must be extremely engaged and challenged in our work with an element of fun to truly be at our personal best.
Stuff me in a cubicle with a bunch of paperwork to complete and one 7 minute coffee and bathroom break at 10a.m. sharp and I will blow my brains out, and maybe yours too. haha

I think seeking as much self knowledge as possible is very important for our growth and a better understanding of our own complexities.
It’s not about fitting IN, it’s about customizing your own fit.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Yep, I have long since given up on ‘fitting in’ with society – I go my own way & every once in awhile, my actions & society will coincide.

wundayatta's avatar

Nope. I’ll never fit. Not without medications, anyway. I am so much a misfit that they tell me I have a behavioral disorder or a brain chemistry disorder or something that makes me behave in ways that society finds unacceptable.

Usually, I’m pretty good about faking it though. I understand what society thinks is right, and I generally conform, but there are times when it’s too much. I break. I can’t pretend to be someone I’m not any more. All the unacceptable behavior comes bubbling up and I can’t stop it. Which gets me depressed because I start thinking I’m a bad person, and the next thing I know, I’m thinking there’s only one solution to this problem.

If I get caught soon enough, they give me pills and then I can conform, and I may not be happy, but at least I’m alive. They say that the pills make me normal. The way I’m supposed to be. I don’t know why society gets to decide how I am supposed to be just because there are a lot of them and only one of me, but I guess majority rules. It would be stupid to try to be me when they all disapprove. Yet when I’m on pills, I’m not really happy, but I can conform. When I’m not on pills, I may be unable to conform, and thus I can be happy, until I hurt someone, and then I lose everything.

I guess most people think it’s a good tradeoff. Staying alive, even if not happy. But sometimes I want to be happy even if eventually I will be punished for it. I suppose most people think that’s crazy. Well, I’ve got the diagnosis that says they’re right. I’ll tell you, though, the treatment is driving me nuts!

Darley's avatar

I don’t think, I know. But it gets easier everyday.

bob_'s avatar

Nah.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I get depressed when I get to thinking I fit too well into society. Then it is time to go on a 5–7 day hike with the goal of eating only what the trail provides.

Unbroken's avatar

Why should we conform to society?

dxs's avatar

About 94% of the time I am not conforming to society. Conformity is an inherent mental flaw.

GoldenDaysAreBest's avatar

Honestly… i think we are ALL different so its hard to keep up with the stupidity of society and you make your own little world inside of you. Without anyone. Which s amazing and i love doing that myself. I’m sure everyone has done so. But i know for sure that somehow it will get easier.

jerv's avatar

As an Aspie, fitting in is hard by definition. It’s easy for me to forget that what I consider basic knowledge is really not. How obvious is the Memory Effect of Ni-cad batteries, or always using a G40/41/42 only with linear interpolation (G0/1) and never circular (G2/3)? And it’s easy for me to get frustrated when dealing with people who I feel should know at least half of what I know.

Combine frustration with an inability to hold my tongue well enough to hide my displeasure and I often come across as critical, sarcastic, and generally not the type of person most people want to deal with. Kind of hard to fit in when you have a knack for pissing people off without even trying :/

bookish1's avatar

Yeah, I’ve been feeling like this recently in particular, and it’s been depressing me, although I have had such thoughts since high school. I’m transsexual and gay for all intents and purposes, which means there are like 15 people on this planet who will date me, and only 3 for good reasons. People like me aren’t supposed to exist, let alone have relationships or families.

cookieman's avatar

I’m pretty sure that “society” has no clue what it is or what it wants to be from day to day. So what use is it to worry if you conform to such a fickle mistress.

ninja_man's avatar

I am cut from a different cloth; I do not feel like a good ‘fit’ for ‘society’.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I feel like that all the time. Not the night owl part, because I am way too tired for a person my age, but never fitting in? Yep.

bookish1's avatar

This one has stayed with me over the years:

Further Notice

I can’t live in this world
And I refuse to kill myself
Or let you kill me

The dill plant lives, the airplane
My alarm clock, this ink
I won’t go away

I shall be myself—
Free, a genius, an embarrassment
Like the Indian, the buffalo

Like Yellowstone National Park.

—Philip Whalen

poisonedantidote's avatar

I have never fit in, I see society as “the other ones”, and at best I just use it as a measure to see if I have totally lost my mind yet or not.

I reject society, but I don’t go out of my way to do so. I’ll gladly walk down the street, dressed in a way that wont scare any old ladies, I’ll even come along to your shop and be polite as I make a purchase. So long as society does what it says on the tin and sticks to its side of the deal, I will for the most part stick to mine.

It only really becomes obvious that me and society don’t mix, when society does something different than what I think or know it is supposed to do.

A bit vague I know, but I struggle to come up with any good examples or examples that don’t make me look like a total asshole.

rooeytoo's avatar

I agree but I wonder, do most people feel this way or does fluther just fit us weirdos?

Sunny2's avatar

Don’t fight it; you’re different from the people who live their day time lives. I think you’ll find others who require your life schedule. Let go and join their world. Day time folks aren’t the only good people in the world and a day time schedule isn’t the best; it’s another. In fact, the day people couldn’t live the way they do without the night people.

Unbroken's avatar

The last refuge of insomniac is a sense of superiority to the slepping world.
Leonard Cohen
Seriously I doubt any one feels 100% comfortable in the norm. The norm is a grey scale arena where people have decided on general rules and ideas for behavoir.

majorrich's avatar

I am resolved to live my own life. My rearing and life experience has always been that of being a square peg in a round hole. My Father was a white man and Mother is Japanese. In Japanese culture at the time of, I was not well accepted by society and referred to as “half human” which was difficult and understand during my childhood. When we moved to the US in 1970, I was the only Asian in my school and had hardships through my school years. As an Adult, I have become comfortable in my skin. A square peg will fit in a round hole if the hole is big enough, or if you use sufficient force to make it fit. This made me a perfect candidate for my MOS in the Army. I am brown and easily fit into a large proportion of deployment scenarios. Now that i am retired. I enjoy my life and find that my circle has accepted me as I am, warts and all.

Jussange's avatar

Your society labels me as an antisocial narcissist, so “naturally,” I shouldn’t fit in, but I do so quite well, though, to be honest, there is only one individual I consider to be a friend of any sort (though you lot probably wouldn’t consider it a friendship, or at least a “healthy” friendship). Other individuals tend to be different degrees of acquaintances.

linguaphile's avatar

This will be a huge comfort for you. Trust me… :)

Symbeline's avatar

I think I fit in pretty good. As for what I believe doesn’t fit into society about me, I’m usually proven wrong. I probably don’t think very differently from most people, since my thinking leads me a rather decent experience in life, that is if, of course, fitting in with society has anything to do with how you think. It might very well not, and not everyone is happy, whether they think the norm or not. But by this I mean, grasping the laws of the land and knowing what you need to do to survive, despite what your opinion of it is.
As for what I know that doesn’t fit in, it’s easy to keep to myself, and said thoughts usually don’t need any kind of nurturing which includes action. you know like, I wish I was a Viking or a dominatrix; or both, or probably I’m a cereal killer
’‘immolates box of Alpha Bits’’
My hobbies and passions often seem immature and strange to many, however that there is indeed a market for horror movies and video games proves that, obviously, I’m not alone. Sometimes it seems like I don’t fit in, but really, that’s hardly the case. In such instances, it’s not society itself that makes me feel excluded, but rather, certain individuals here and there.

However I am really apathetic about a lot of things and enjoy my solitude more than many, although I wouldn’t say that such traits make me not fit into society, because I know I’m not the only one. Furthermore and probably most importantly, these traits do not hinder my existence and participation in society, both comofortable, and I manage to find a balance, often enough. In fact I’m quite aware that everyone and his sister is always willing to say just how lone wolf they are, and how much everyone sucks haha.

I am totally human nature, and as such, I fit in very well. ’‘sharpens axe’’

You see, I fit in society SO WELL that I can’t even answer this properly. Reading it over, basically I’m answering on am I different or not rather than do I fit in, which are two totally different things. I realize that now, but it’s completely fuckin freaky where my mindset took me while answering.

jonsblond's avatar

Sure I do. I’m too quiet for most people. Quiet people have words like phobia, anxiety and disorder thrown in their face. We are looked at as being either rude, stuck up or weird. The weird don’t fit in. :/

@rooeytoo Fluther is an island of misfits, but I have a feeling most people feel they don’t fit in.

Some_Ghost's avatar

At this point, it’s pretty much a given that I will never fit into this society. People don’t believe in my kind anymore! ...and even if they did, know what I’m saying?
But oh so long ago, I had good work, a wonderful family and a pretty house. You all have to make the most of what you have, I’m telling you! And if what you have is not enough, reach to the stars, and get what you want. :)

Unbroken's avatar

Sound advice for a wisp.

augustlan's avatar

I am exactly like you, schedule-wise, @DigitalBlue. I’ve embraced it, and made it work for me by finding jobs I can do via the internet. Since I originally worked ‘regular’ jobs and later on had school-age kids, I fought against it for much of my life, of course. These days I’m able to let my body sleep and wake when it wants, for the most part, and boy howdy what a difference that makes! At least once a week – and often several times a week – I have to be up during the day (which wreaks havoc on my natural schedule), so it’s still not perfect, but far better than fighting it seven days a week.

There are other ways I don’t fit in, too, but that’s a biggie.

jordym84's avatar

@rooeytoo: My thoughts exactly :)

Shippy's avatar

Dam I missed this question. I am like you, I prefer to work with my own bodies natural desires. So mostly I like to sleep later and wake later. I have managed to hold down jobs that require demands on me, to get up earlier and sleep earlier. But it is like you, lasts for a while then I burn out. I also feel the pressure of appointments the next day. But not quite so badly as you do.

I was told severe depression caused this. I don’t know. I haven’t read all the answers to will do at some point. To find out more. I guess this is why sleeping pills were invented. If we could all sleep whenever we wanted it wouldn’t be an issue.

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