Social Question

Luiveton's avatar

What do you feel about nonconformism?

Asked by Luiveton (4142 points ) January 30th, 2013

Are you by nature a nonconformist?
Or do you usually prefer to abide by the rules?

If you are, what is a habit that society follows that bothers you? What would you as an individual like to do about it? How do you go about having it your own way?

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26 Answers

Seek's avatar

I follow laws, because being punished doesn’t appeal to me.

I do not care about customs, for the most part.

I dislike the fact that there are laws that punish people for doing things that harm no one but the consenting adult parties involved. I do what I can, even if it’s merely casting a vote, in order to change those laws.

wundayatta's avatar

One must follow one’s own sense of ethics to the extent that one is willing to pay the price. Sometimes that means you can’t conform. So be it. Sometimes you decide to conform even if it goes against your moral system because the cost of not conforming is too high.

I would rather society conformed to me instead me having to conform to them. But the differences are what makes life so interesting, don’t you think?

CWOTUS's avatar

I’m generally opposed to conformism, unless everyone else is, too.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I used to long to conform but could never really bring myself to do it. As an adult, I conform very well to legal and social guidelines, but at home and inside myself, I’m still a nonconformist, I think it’s boring.

janbb's avatar

I think we should all be for it.

Luiveton's avatar

@KNOWITALL This is fascinating, how, exactly, do you find nonconformism boring? I’m genuinely interested in finding out what makes you think being a nonconformist, in your own way of course, is boring. Doesn’t it dictate who you are and what you stand for? Your values and, everything aside, you as a whole?

@CWOTUS I can definitely sense elements of nonconformism in that answer. kudos.

But right now I’m not talking about the laws which are enforced through a social institution aka laws made by governments.

I’m saying in a normal everyday sense, what differentiates you from others? Is there a certain way of thinking that you refrain from, for instance? Do you, for example, believe that art is equivalent in terms of importance to mathematics and the sciences, as opposed to what many might believe? Do you define the word ‘genius’ differently? Do you see nature and the world through different lens, do you even truly appreciate nature for that matter? Do you like the idea of being ruled by someone (not in terms of law), do you agree with the idea of authority? Are you one to follow the general everyday rules set by people around you?

Do you believe in god? In religion? In beliefs and morals that abide you to certain things. Are you aware of others’ feelings, or are you sometimes unintentionally unconcerned with others?

Do phenomena of the world amaze you? Do you spend time thinking of the possibilities beyond our universe, or beyond our imagination for that matter?

Are you better off alone or with people, etc?

What makes you you?

Do you simply conform to generally accepted patterns of behavior?

syz's avatar

It drives my mom crazy that I don’t care about the things that she cares about (being wealthy, being married, having kids).

I don’t worry about social norms. I do what I want to do.

But I also tend to snicker at baby ‘hard core nonconformists’ – you know, the kids trying so hard to be different. They all look just like each other.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Luiveton Conforming is the norm, and people tend to look down on people who don’t conform. I personally find the noncomformists just as boring because it’s just the opposite of conforming and it’s a form of rebellion against society or parents or rules most of the time. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of thought behind it, just something to do to be different, which makes you the same as half the population.

One of the reasons I quit college is because I wanted to study things not available or in my curriculum for my major, basically I study and research what I want still today.

To truly just be who you are, whomever and whatever that means to you, and to do it 100% is pretty interesting. Truly unique characters who follow the path less trodden, that is admirable. And there are several people I admire here on fluther because of that, even if we disagree on some issues, so they interest me.

Nothing dictates to me who I am and what I stand for, except religion to a small degree. Most Christians I know like to think they’re perfect following all the rules, I am who I am and I think God is okay with that even if it contradicts the Bible, like SSM. I am what I am and there is no shame in that.

Pachy's avatar

In my advertising days, when we “Creatives” were constantly challenged to think further and further outside the box (an expression I grew quickly to despise), I liked to think of myself as a nonconformist wrapped loosely around the rule-obeying conformist I basically am.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I’m a little bit of both. I abide by laws because, like @Seek_Kolinahr said, I don’t want to be punished for not doing so and there are no laws I want to break badly enough to make the punishment worth it! However, I would say that, as far as social situations and norms are concerned, I can be fairly non-conformist. I was always going a little bit against the grain as a kid, so much so that I was bullied for it quite a lot. It was nothing too outrageous, just things like my tastes in music and clothing etc. I do not go out of my way to be non-conformist, people that do that really annoy me. I just go with what suits me. If I like something then I don’t care whether it i am thought to be conforming or not.

Judi's avatar

I think that my great experience in Debate class when I was in Jr High helped me to always be somewhat a non conformist. If everyone (or a large majority) is thinking a certain way I tend to step back and try to see if there is another side. Especially if passions are flared.
After 9/11, although I was as heart broke as the rest of the country, the blind patriotism made me really uneasy. Everyone was waving flags and out for vengeance. I knew it was going to lead to a blank check for hate and bigotry but saying so would have been treasonous at the time.

dabbler's avatar

Social conventions can be very efficient, letting people know what to expect and how to respond to some ordinary situations. I like that sort of thing. Manners can help communicate a baseline of respect.

Where it doesn’t make anyone’s life easier, conforming seems irrelevant to me. Taste in music, clothes, politics or victimless crimes is entirely my business and I’m often outside the bounds of my associates’ preferences and practice.

@Judi I agree that all the flag-waving nationalism after 9/11 reeks of fascism.

Judi's avatar

Remember the Dr Pepper commercials? One minute they were “The most original soft drink ever in the USA,” then it was, “I’m a pepper you’re a pepper he’s a pepper, don’t you want to be a pepper too.”
What is it? Original or Conform??

CWOTUS's avatar

I suppose that I conform in most outward respects to most of what is expected of a late-middle-age white guy with an office job in New England. That is, my car isn’t wildly painted or covered in stained glass, grass or leather. I drive a four-door sedan to work, and not a RYNO (so far, anyway), and I have a 40-hour-a-week job instead of busking on street corners or becoming a hermit in the woods. (There’s one who lives not far from here. He seems to conform to the rules of hermit-dom.) I don’t color my hair, though I have thought of dying it bright purple. Sometimes I cut it all off, and sometimes I let it grow over my ears, but that’s more a function of laziness and inertia (I don’t want to bother taking care of long hair, and I don’t like cutting it, either) rather than deliberate style choices. I cut the grass in my yard several times each summer instead of planting it all in wildflowers, letting it go to weed and seed, or putting sheep on it. I might someday turn it into a vegetable garden, because I’ve seen how “dangerously nonconformist” that is in some places, but I’m also conventionally lazy, so that’s not so likely, either.

But I think differently from nearly everyone I know, and I like that. I think I’ll keep doing that, and if a lot more people start thinking like I do, then I suppose I’ll have to change my thinking again. I’m not too worried about that happening.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Just like everyone else, of course.

Sunny2's avatar

I don’t think much about conforming or not conforming. I don’t try to conform to the latest styles of clothes or makeup. I choose what I find comfortable and useful. Colors are more important than styles. I’ve only owned one pair of jeans in my life.
I’m law abiding, perhaps to an extreme (I stop at stop signs at 3 AM when there is basically no traffic.)
I like things to be convenient and easy, for the most part.

dabbler's avatar

@elbanditoroso Totally on the same vibe.

burntbonez's avatar

The Japanese say the the nail whose head sticks up gets hammered down. My feeling is that I don’t want to feel the hammer.

Shippy's avatar

I’m a rule breaker and always pay the price.

thorninmud's avatar

Both conformity and non-conformity can be symptomatic of insecurity. The conformist is afraid of the judgment of others. The non-conformist is afraid of losing his identity in the crowd, so he takes every opportunity to assert his individuality.

Someone who is secure can conform when appropriate—not out of fear of rejection, but because sometimes it’s in the collective best interest to just go with the flow. But he will also have the confidence to step away from the crowd when it takes an unwise course.

flutherother's avatar

I am a conformist myself, not because I try to conform but just because I am happy being that way. The people I admire most don’t conform but turn their lives into a work of art.

YARNLADY's avatar

When it comes to many things, I am a non-conformist simply because I am clueless about the norm, especially in fashion. I also tend to take everything at face value, and speak my mind.

I believe in following the rules or working to change the ones that don’t fit. If conforming means the difference between being a leader and a follower, I would be more of a leader.

Mariah's avatar

This issue is tricky enough for me that I’ve made up another term in the category: anticonformist.

Conformists intentionally conform. Anticonformists intentionally avoid conforming. Nonconformists do things for reasons other than the number of people who also do that thing.

The two extreme ends bug me because I think trying overly hard to fit in or trying overly hard to be unique are disingenuous behavior. “Everyone else is doing it” is a dumb reason to do or not do something.

Just do what you want.

dxs's avatar

As a teenager, there are so many fads and what not. Everyone wears the same brands and has the same mini-electronic things. I take a lot of pride in my lack of following these fads. In fact, it even has to do with a different way of thinking. So many people make assumptions and even beliefs based upon what they were told was true, and don’t even take a second to think about things for themselves. I value my individuality and would never jeopardize it by conforming to society in such a way. If we are all the same and all think the same, then we will not progress.

tinyfaery's avatar

I tell people that I’m such a rebel; I don’t even follow my own rules.

I was both born and bred a non-conformist. I like it just fine.

Paradox25's avatar

I’m generally very keen on abiding by the law, following rules at workplace/institutions, and I’m not into drama too much. There are things that I have not conformed to though like most guys that I knew such as chasing girls, getting banged as much as I could without little thought of the consequences, persistent dating/relationships, getting married, making big money doing the jobs that many other guys do, being fixated on wealth/material possessions, acting/talking like an assclown, etc, etc, etc.

I’ve come to realize that I could never be happy playing a part in life that I really don’t want to, even if this would mean pleasing others in my favor. This is where I learn who my real friends are, and who is really dating material in my eyes. I’m not sure if I would be considered a nonconformist here, maybe to a certain extent, but generally I’m just ‘me’.

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