Conformity vs Non-conformity

@miamilady (4924)
United States
November 17, 2007 9:20am CST
Do you consider yourself more of a conformist or a non-conformist? When do you think it is appropriate to stick to your individuality and when do you think it is important to "blend in" with the crowd. I want you all to tell me what your thoughts are on this without letting my thoughts influence your response. But in all fairness, I know that somepeople prefer that when a person start at topic, we aslo share our thoughts on it. What comes to my mind is the idea of manners and diplomacy. Sometimes I don't know where to draw the line between speaking my mind and disagreeing with the majority and when it is best to just let things go because it's not worth it to fight a losing battle. Also, I have a teenaged daughter. She's 15. She is a very headstrong child. She is smart. But sometimes she is not "wise". She is at the age where sometimes she says "I don't care what people think!" Do some degreee I respect that and agree with it. But, when it comes to social behavior and manners. I do think it is important "to care what people think". These are the things that I have been contemplating that have prompted me to start this discussion. Please share your thoughts and tell me how you decide when to "conform" and when you decide to stick to your individuality.
9 people like this
14 responses
@musicman6 (2368)
• United States
19 Nov 07
Miamilady, you have touched upon a very complex topic in this discussion,and really there are no easy answers, nor correct nor incorrect! I can only offer you the vast experiences that have happened to me, and the knowledge that I have gained from them! (and we are going to run into people that will tell you, you should do this, or you should do that,but I have learned better, than to listen to people that have not "walked in my shoes"! Children--I have learned that each child is different, what works with one, doesn't always work on the other! So I have to teach them, according to their personality, if they are "headstrong", I let them bump their heads! Maybe they'll learn their own way! If they need me for support, then I help them! Conformity--In this world, my basic instinct is to be conformative,but I find myself that I have to "break the shell" sometimes to maintain my individuality! Basically what I am trying to say is I have had to "dance around a lot" to get through this life! I just haven't kept my life in a mold, because to me flexibility is the secret of success! I have been blessed with the ability to blend in with any crowd, but I have also been known to "speak out when it's necessary"!The only thing one can do is maintain one's manners and diplomacy, care what people think and feel, and set an example for our children to follow and be proud of! And I am not saying I am right, I am just saying that this is what life has taught me!
2 people like this
@dbhattji (2508)
• India
19 Nov 07
If anything challenges my principles I am very adamant but otherwise most of the time I conform with others.
1 person likes this
@yanqiyao (146)
• China
18 Nov 07
I am an adult now. But i still young,so as to the side of your daughter, i hold the opion that, what her idear is less matter to the conformity or nonconformity thing. Actually teenagers, just as we doing now, only want people to notice them, to pay attention to what they're doing what they'er talking...It's normal.
1 person likes this
@academic2 (7011)
• Uganda
18 Nov 07
I simply follow my heart-if that makes me conform, well and good, but l believe my heart is always right, it really doesnt matter whether am conforming or not.
1 person likes this
@derek_a (10903)
18 Nov 07
I always used to consider myself as a non-conformist, but then I realised that there were times when I was cutting of my nose to spite my face. I still do not blindly go along with the crowd, but will not avoid doing something if it is of value whether or not it is considered to be the "norm". I am told frequently that I am "different" whatever that may mean, but I am no longer trying to be different. :-)
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Nov 07
I guess you can call me a non- conformist. I never "blend in" just to fit in.If I agree with the crowd, fine. But if the crowd is into something that I can't agree with, then I will be a happy outsider.There is a way of speaking your views and still being polite.You don't have to "blend in" to be happy.My simple rule: If you have to change who you Really are to fit in, it isn't worth it.I have been following it since I was a kid and I have been happy.So as long as you are polite and you don't break any laws, you can be who you want to be.
1 person likes this
@williamjisir (22909)
• China
18 Nov 07
Hello miami lady. Thanks for your discussion. In most cases I think more of the others so far as conformity is concerned because I would like to make others feel welcome and comfortable. If someone were unhappy with me, I would feel guilty and uncomfortable in mind even if it is not fault at all. I think that I belong to the type of person who would give up my own pleasure but meet others' pleasure instead. Personally I care about what people think about me. I appreciate your discussion very much and love it. Thanks again, dear friend.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Nov 07
Down with conformity! I say "Dare to be different!" Conformity confineds us and holds us all back, by being different we acknowledge that we are more than what conformity attempts to do to us. We should not have to be like everyone else. We should be different. Where would this world be without people who stand up and challange the world around them? Where would Astronomy be, science, language, math, music, art, dance, and all of the other fields of studies that we all love and hold so dear? We need to stand up and change the world.
1 person likes this
@nica269 (1399)
• United States
18 Nov 07
I think it all comes down to choosing your battles and teaching your children such.
1 person likes this
@worldwise1 (14890)
• United States
17 Nov 07
I've always been a non-conformist, miamilady, because I have trouble with authority and I don't always "play well with others." As for your daughter, she is at that age when they like to rebel. They will do and say anything that will push your buttons. While she might SAY she doesn't care what people think, believe me, she does. It is bred into all of us to care what people think of us and it hurts when you are not well thought of. She is probably doing her best to please you because it is important to her what YOU think.
@RobinJ (2501)
• Canada
17 Nov 07
Excellent discussion, I had to think about this for a while because of good points you brought up. the moment I read it I instantly thought I was and am a non conformist, I dress to please my self I go for comfort rather than fashion,I do as I please about 90% of the time, I have to agree that manners seem to be getting lost and I still hold with them, I feel it is what makes us human is to have compassion and empathy with our fellow man. with out thinking of how we affect others we become self centered and possibly savages, Every day I see more and more people walking about with the attitude of "it's all about me, and you do not count" an attitude I detest personally. So now the questions remains am I a conformist or non conformist, Sorry my dear I am really stumped for an answer.
@sigma77 (5385)
• United States
17 Nov 07
I do not think that being well-mannered in social settings is conforming. It is just being polite, and treating others as you would want them to treat you. This is a very interesting question...to conform or not. To me, blending in is doing whatever the "crowd" wants you to do and not make any waves. This is not always practical for those of us wanting to live from our true selves. Many times, the best path to take leads us well past conforming. That is because, inside we know what is true for us. It is when we conform that we lose that truth and end up miserable. As long as you are not disrespectful of others or taking advantage of others or violating their rights, by all means be a non-conformist. That may be the difference between you getting where you want to go in life and staying stagnant and unhappy. How many great people went their own ways despite mountains of opposition? As far as your daughter is concerned, I think it is good to give her some latitude in deciding for herself how or when to conform or not. She will learn this way what is true for her verses just conforming to be part of the majority. I think it is the person that can think for themselves and be an individual that will get to where they want to go in life. That place creates much happiness. And for the record, I could care less what anyone says or thinks about me. Thoughts and words cannot harm the person living a life on their own terms. Society, for the most part has no clue as to what is right for me or not. Only I can make that decision and I reserve that right to make it.
1 person likes this
@MsTickle (25014)
• Australia
22 Nov 07
This is a good topic as I've been bothered by a few things. Recently, I've had to speak out. The first time I did it, it was about something I'm very concerned about always. Not only was I shot down by the poster but another friend jumped in saying I was being childish over a trivial matter. Then the original poster started another discussion humiliating me for my stand. My reputation number also dropped. I wasn't hurt, because I still believe in myself, but I was shocked by the nasty attitudes of responders in both discussions. I've since stood up and spoken my mind and as before, I try to do it in a respectful manner. I haven't had a repetition of that first experience. I'm all for courtesy and respect but a discussion is about our individual opinions even if we are not going with the flow. Respect and courtesy is and always will be a two way thing. I have a daughter myself who is 37. She is quite arrogant and can become quite sarcastic, offhand, disrespectful or disagreeable if someone disagrees with her. She could certainly use some of your diplomacy and manners. How do I decide? If I can state my case as I've discribed, I will. If the feeling of the discussion is very one-sided and I can't put my thoughts carefully, I will leave it alone. If I do respond and am attacked again, I've decided to just ignore it.
• United States
17 Nov 07
I am most assuredly a non conformist. I always speak my mind whether people want to hear it or not, simply because glossing over an issue to keep the sea calm may actually contribute to the problem. You have to say what you mean and mean what you say or don't open your mouth at all. I think issues are created because people don't express their opinions truthfully. It creates a domino effect over the course of time. You don't have to get mad about it, merely state your case and your reasoning and hopefully others will act in an adult fashion. As far as children go they need guidance even if it will cause some family strife. Children learn by example and by action / reaction behavior. If you feel strongly enough to take issue with their behavior then they should be able to listen to your problem and act accordingly. I am not overly concerned with other peoples opinions either unless I am in some way causing harm to others with my behavior. Conformity is reserved for the day to day things that you have to do in order to live like working. When you have a job you need to do it the way your employer wants it done or you don't have a job. Rules are made to be broken, but there are times when you really have to follow the leader. I save my nonconformity for my personal life and style.