Social Question

nikipedia's avatar

What does it mean to be "cool?" Does "coolness" matter to you?

Asked by nikipedia (27475points) October 7th, 2010

Remember middle school, when being cool was the most important thing ever? What did that actually mean, anyway?

Some studies have linked popularity to prosocial behavior, or behaving in a way that shows empathy and caring for other people. This contradicts the stereotype that mean girls and bullying jocks represent the popular crowd.

What do you think? Is being “cool” really just being nice to other people? Why is this so important to kids? Is it, on some level, still important to you now, as a grownup? Does being “cool” mean something different as an adult?

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20 Answers

marinelife's avatar

No, it is totally unimportant to me now.

Foolaholic's avatar

I was always the oddball growing up. Sure, being “cool” was important to me, but so was being happy and enjoying what I was doing. And yes, being nice was always important to me; my parents were always very “treat others the way you want to be treated”. Now I’m in my junior year of college, and if anything, I’ve learned that it’s much cooler to just be yourself and be a decent person to those around you.

kevbo's avatar

Google “ingroup outgroup.” if I had time to articulate a response, it would start there.

I frequently separate people into “cool” and “not cool.” it’s a nasty habit.

nikipedia's avatar

Kev! Articulate! Please! <3

YoBob's avatar

Cool is whatever you want it to be. The ultimate in cool is defining yourself without worrying about what the others think.

aprilsimnel's avatar

There was definitely a difference between cool and popular at my high school. The popular kids were the stereotypical jocks and cheerleaders, but they weren’t cool. The cool kids were the ones who were confident enough in themselves that they didn’t have to go showboating their accomplishments and were kind to people, no matter what so-called clique they were in, and those kids weren’t especially attached to a particular group. I wasn’t cool. I was too insecure to be considered popular or cool. I hid away from others as often as possible, but I wanted to be cool. Ugh. I can’t imagine what a weird kid I must have come off like in middle and high school – and so negatively self-absorbed. How I had any friends at all is something of a miracle.

Aster's avatar

Cool means nothing to me now but back then I think, if I can recall that long ago, it meant wearing the latest clothes, having the latest hairdo and being confident and smart. Is that right? With guys, it meant confidence and having a great car. LOL

MeinTeil's avatar

Cool is being yourself and being subtly, smoothly interesting.

Cool is not what you wear but how you wear it.

palerider's avatar

i think most people err on the whole “cool” idea, because they define what’s “cool” on reactions of other people of said object or action, rather than liking the object or action intrinsically.

i like what i like and i make no apologies to others for it, likewise i try not to judge people by what they like, but to be honest we are all always judging each other on our clothes, cars, homes, and actions and i am well aware of this also.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Cool is different within different groups. Some younger people think I’m cool these days and I think I’m pretty cool too, considering I’m happy with who I am but as far as that kind of middle school concern for appearance, eh, I don’t care. These days, it matters more if my kids like me besides loving me and that they trust me.

Lightlyseared's avatar

A long time a go I was working on a surgical ward on a weekend and a teenage boy was admitted as an emergenecy for surgery on a broken bone. The operation wasn’t til late in the evening and when I handed him over to the theatre staf he asked if I’d be there after the operation. I explained that it was the end of my shift but not to worry as some one else would be there to look after him He nodded and then asked “Are they going to be as cool as you?” Made my day and reminded me why after a long hard shift why I became a nurse.

So in answer to the question I’ve no idea what it means to be cool, but when other people think your cool it feels pretty good.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Being cool is to not care what others think about you. Just simply be yourself, who ever it is you are. People with ability to do this are always cool people.

wundayatta's avatar

I have never been cool, and for the longest time, I wanted to know what it was like. This was even after I realized I never would be cool.

My kids, on the other hand, are very cool, or so they tell us. My daughter was pretty much the center of the group of girls in her eight grade class. She was peacemaker and she was friends with everyone. She was so nice that her advisor told us she should spend more time doing things for herself. She’s now in high school, where she knows no one and she says she is bored. I suspect that’s because she doesn’t have people to hang out with.

That is not so say she doesn’t have friends there; it’s just that none of her friends have her schedule and none of the people who do have her schedule are people she is close to. Her friends seem to be at a different high school, so maybe she went to the wrong one. She didn’t think she could get into the other one, but if she finds the school she is in unchallenging, and it’s the second best school in the city, maybe she could have gotten into the other one.

Cool is being popular because you are just slightly ahead of everyone else in the way you are. Cool is very much about society and socializing. It’s about being a person other people want to know or want to be with or want to emulate. Cool can be opposite things at different times. It can be rebelliousness at one time and preppy-ness at another time. Cool can be hunted.

fluther could be cool. Some day. I’m sure most people here think it’s cool, but I don’t think it is recognized as cool by the larger world.

Blackberry's avatar

Being cool in a general term, is pretty shallow because you have to have the right looks, clothes, posture, manners, attitude etc. and the community only determines if your’re cool if they like all of that about you. For example….a slick, manly cowboy from Nebraska can be cool in his hometown, but not in an inner-city.

DominicX's avatar

“Cool” is a relatively vague term. For me, it meant being respected/admired/liked by other people, for whatever reason that may be. I use the phrase “he’s a cool guy/she’s cool” to mean someone I know is easy to talk to, fun to be around, nice, likable, etc. It means all of those things combined. It’s just a general positive descriptor.

I guess the word can also have a stronger meaning of “awesome”, “impressive”, “interesting”, etc. I use it that way too, but less often to describe people.

Sorry to approach this in such a linguistic manner, but I’m a linguistics major, so I can’t help it. :P

charliecompany34's avatar

being cool is like being or doing something everybody is not with a whole bunch of confidence.

or it can be how you hold something. chew something. wear something. however you do it, its like “unlike” anybody else has done it.

casheroo's avatar

I think going through that realization that it really doesn’t matter what others think is a part of life. I hate all the emotions that go along with it and that at some point my children will have to feel it. No matter what someone tells you, you want to be cool. I don’t know why. I remember some bullies, they had friends…other bullies. Then there were the “cool” girls..for what reason? I still have no clue.
I’ve always been awesome in my own eyes. Well, once I stopped being an insecure girl. lol.

I do no thinking being “cool” is just being nice to others, only because of what I saw while younger. As an adult, I think it varies. I find people interesting because of their mind, “coolness” isn’t a factor. “Cool” seems more of a childish thing.

Austinlad's avatar

I was never cool and gave up trying to be a loooong time ago. What’s cool is a constantly moving target… depends on context… is in the eye of the beholder… and, to me, matters not a whit.

Two actors I always thought were way cool were Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. (Paul Newman’s Own products are not cool.) was cool.

mollydrew's avatar

I was never cool however I was unique, being cool depends on thegroup you want to be apart of. when you are unique you are cool because of it. In the 50’s cool was the guy with a duck tail hair cut, blue jeans with rolled up cuff and white tee shirt, tight, penny loafers, now that is cool.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

As a teen, back when Jesus was on the football team, being “cool” had a more limited definition. It meant beautiful, smart, fashionable, rich, morally upright. But after all these years of TV shows featuring disfunctional families, nerds, and unique people of all kinds, it is now “cool” to be whatever you are, as long as you are comfortable in your own skin.

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