We humans have evolved into a species that can even fly to the moon and built marvelous monuments. However, we live in the confinements of society and its rules, it is funny because we all combined make society. Still, we are obliged to follow, act in a certain way, and limit ourselves from performing things we normally would without anyone around us. But why do we do so? The answer to that is Conformity.
What is Conformity?
The process of adapting to a new situation, location, or group by looking up to others and acting in changed behavior in order to be accepted by others. However, these changes are not permanent and conformity does not change one’s core beliefs.
Examples of Conformity
Although conformity doesn’t sound like much, it can reshape a person’s behavior drastically for a short period of time. Here are some examples of it.
1. Greetings: Ever noticed that whenever you meet a person you automatically hit them with a “how are you?” followed by a firm handshake or a bow in some cultures? That’s because we are led to accept that this is the only way to greet someone. This greeting, however, changes when you meet your close friends, family, or significant other.
2. Eating manners: This is one of the prime examples of informational conformity. Eating manners are dependent on the location or people around us. Whenever we visit a fancy restaurant we eat in a sophisticated manner by looking around how everyone is eating but once the situation changes so does our eating method, say at a food truck, then we know no bounds. In similar terms, when we eat with friends we just eat the way we like, it changes dramatically once we are with our work superiors.
3. Following trends: Humans are basically sheep and have a sheep mentality when it comes to trends. We love to follow trends, regardless of what they are or if they add any positives to their lives. It can be anything from the latest fashion trends to a new diet, we just love to follow what is popular and latest around us even though it can cause damage to us in the long run.
4. The right age: We as a society do this another thing to trick ourselves into thinking there is a right age group for everything and once you are out of that range, you are doomed. Want to study in college? Do it at the right age. Want to get married? Do it at the right age. But this ”right age” is arbitrary honestly. At this point, I think this societal rule was made just to stop people from doing what they love after a certain age.
5. Queues: We cannot talk about conformity without talking about queues. We have become so subjected to the idea of following the rules that we make them at every single place. Bus stops, for example, a person who’s there before anybody else will become the starting point of the queue, and then everybody else will follow. If you happen to break that queue you’ll be faced with the pure anger of those people.
6. Education and Career: Once again even in these aspects society reigns supreme. As we choose these not just on the basis of payscale but how will they be accepted by others. Engineers and doctors are everybody’s favorite, however, if one decides to become a trucker, they are frowned upon and even the person doing the job feels inferior.
These were examples of normative and informational conformity.
- Normative Conformity: In this case, a person believes they must behave in a certain manner to live up to others’ expectations of them.
- Informative Conformity: Here an individual thinks that they are lacking correct information and look up to others for how things must be carried out.
Are there any more examples of conformity? Of course, there are, these are the ones that we observe on a daily basis and even follow ourselves. Because it is much easier to change our behavior than to fight the entire society.