Social Question

Facade's avatar

How much of what you do or don't do is based on other people's perceptions of those actions?

Asked by Facade (22902points) October 29th, 2011

Also, do you feel it’s important to tailor your actions to others’ likes and dislikes? Or maybe just those of the people you love?
What about tailoring your actions for people of authority (e.g. potential employers, parents, bosses, etc.)?
Are you someone who does what they please no matter what? Are your desires a top priority?

Feel free to give examples.

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12 Answers

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Because of how I live my life right now, a good 70% is based on what I want other people to perceive by my actions. My desires are not my top priority unless you count earning a paycheck a desire aside from sustenance. I tailor my actions at work to draw less attention to myself than my ego normally enjoys. Where I work, being a social butterfly is less important than being an eavesdropper and relay of information.

YARNLADY's avatar

I gave that up a long time ago.

marinelife's avatar

I am myself. I might dress for a job interview, but that is the extent of my altering of who I am.

wundayatta's avatar

I think this is a very complex question. I think a lot of this happens where we don’t see it happening. I’m no better than anyone else at it. For example, I claim that I write on fluther for myself. I like the questions and I like thinking things through and I’ll generally say what I think. But there are times when I know that what I think is something I’ll get a lot of shit for, and I’d rather not receive that shit because even though it comes from people I don’t know, it still stresses me. So I won’t say everything I think, even here, where I am anonymous.

I doubt there is a person alive who can honestly claim they truly don’t care what anyone else thinks of them. If you do care, then it is guaranteed that you change your behavior based on your perception of what others think.

If people truly didn’t care, then no one could be shamed. You show me a person who says they can’t be shamed, and I’ll show you a sociopath.

My desires are, of course, a top priority, but I have to do a lot for others or else they won’t be interested in having anything to do with me. I’m not different in this compared to anyone else, I don’t believe. We all live in a network of relationships and it is crucial that we maintain those relationships. I’d hazard a guess that at least 95% of our activity is influenced by others, and there is very little we do that is completely independent of anyone else.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’m used to having people freak out about what I do or don’t do, about how I live my life or parent or go about my relationship. I don’t care, never have much…I’m upfront about a lot because I don’t need people to ‘find shit out’ later on…so if they can’t handle me or my views, they can away and I can move on. I only have one life, I will never live it for others or because of others’ perceptions. If I did that, I’d never be where I am right now. I have lived this crazy life and when they ask why the answer is ‘because I never looked back, I lived it for me, I lived it with passion and with risk and it was worth it.’

Berserker's avatar

I admit, I have often tried to fit in or please people. And by please people, I mean, do so that it benefits me in the end lol. I’m horrible. :) Sometimes I still do. But I find that you can never win, so might as well be yourself and do whatever the fuck you want. I mean, people are still gonna give you flack, but at least the flack is given to something honest. Makes you feel kinda cool!

augustlan's avatar

I am me, pretty much every where I go. Just about the only exception I can think of is dealing with older relatives. For instance, I don’t discuss politics or religion with my husband’s parents. They know I’m a liberal, but that’s about as far as it goes. That said, if they asked me straight out whether I believe in God or voted for Obama… I’m going to answer them truthfully, even though I know I will get shit for it.

It’s not that I don’t care how others perceive me, because I do care. I just want their perceptions to be of the real me. In fact, I kind of hope that by knowing all of me, and not just parts, I can break some stereotypes people might hold.

Ayesha's avatar

I don’t do that.

Mariah's avatar

I have to admit that I get self-conscious when I feel I am being watched, and so much of how I behave in public is based on a desire to stay under the radar. There’s a lot that I don’t do because I don’t want to attract attention. I also, for some reason, have the desire to be a people pleaser and I’m a bit of a “yes woman” and I never tell people things they don’t want to hear. I don’t get why I’m like this because I do have self-respect and principles and believe in honesty in theory, but then in practice, when faced with a person who wants something, I have trouble saying no. It’s dumb.

wundayatta's avatar

@Mariah I don’t know why you think it’s dumb. Think about how it helps you be who you want to be in society. You are in society, so not caring about them may cause you problems.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Mariah: Unless you’re independently wealthy and have no responsibilities to anyone else then I think most people spend more time than they’ll admit choosing their actions based on what others will think. There’s not a lot of way to get around that.

You aren’t a “sellout” if that’s what in your head. So many people worry about perceived a “sellout” that they become real social tools, furthering the image of “The Ugly American”. Rambling a bit here but it annoys me when I hear people yammer on about how they don’t do anything they don’t feel like doing.

Mariah's avatar

@wundayatta @Neizvestnaya Thanks, you two. It’s not so much that I believe I ought to be acting as though in a vacuum. I do agree it’s important to take other people’s desires into consideration. What I think is “dumb” is when I do something just because somebody wants me to even if I think it’s wrong. In those cases I think I could benefit from having more of a spine.

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