Asinine Social Conventions | INFJ Forum

Asinine Social Conventions

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by AureaMediocritas, Jul 3, 2022.

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  1. Yes

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  2. No

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  3. Why? I adhere to all social norms.

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  1. AureaMediocritas

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    This is my first post like this, so please bear with me if I do it incorrectly. I'm a relatively quick learner, with a few adjustments for unfamiliarity. However, if I do it correctly, the credit is due to someone named just me. Thank you, kind stranger.



    Now to the point of this post.

    I recently got invited to a little child's birthday party, and when I showed up with my child but without a gift, the parents were visibly annoyed. It is the social convention to always bring a gift to parties here in the US, but it's one that I am staunchly defiant to. Not, because I don't like giving gifts (especially to those whom I care about), but because people have far too much excess as it is. Further, the mentality that one must ascribe to these particular conventions irks my sensibilities, as the specific point of a party is for socialization, not for consumerism (though you may struggle to find the clear separation given societal pressures to have the newest toy, the biggest toy, the most expensive or high-tech toy, etc.).

    This led me to wondering if other people find similar social conventions just as distasteful. If so, what are they and how do you handle them?
     
  2. Roses In The Vineyard

    Roses In The Vineyard Well-known member

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    I like to call things like this "the social game" along with it's unwritten rules that are often convoluted and sometimes contradictory to each other leaving much to be desired. Those who are of a very social nature appear to either not mind it much or actually love it while for those who are predominantly introverted it is nerve wrecking and personally this all just drives me nuts at times.
     
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  3. dZpADTLrPmX4c

    dZpADTLrPmX4c Impermanent Fixture

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    They don't bother me so much, but then I don't feel beholden to them either. Almost anything is bothersome if you're forced into it, even when you might normally enjoy it.
    Most times there's a way we can gracefully bow out without too deeply offending others. It's often a case of their ways are not our ways. But we do have our own ways, and sometimes we're blind to how many odd little conventions we keep on our own.
     
  4. uuu

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    I guess the counterargument is that rules suck, but anarchy is worse.

    Gift-giving is one of the most fraught areas of the social landscape, and browsing advice columns suggests that you and I are not alone in feeling this way. People need to practice asking each other explicitly about gift expectations in relationships. And birthday party hosts should include an explicit statement along the lines of "please do not bring gifts" or "gifts are strictly optional," but maybe this is too tacky. Also, Americans need to get on board with giving cash.
     
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  5. aeon

    aeon Amoureux des Chatons
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    I judge certain social conventions as distasteful, absurd, and so on, and many of them I do not follow. I understand my choices might preclude my inclusion or participation in a given social engagement or relationship, or guarantee my total exclusion.

    I said certain social conventions because I pick and choose according to my values.

    That said, I might find little value or meaning in a given social convention, but do it anyway because it is a demonstration of my respect, a show of what I do value, part of my efforts toward a greater goal, etc.

    Regarding your example, I would acknowledge my feelings and thoughts one way or another, and then get the gift. Why? Because I would put the children first, both the b-day child, and my own. I would not want to give reason for any kind of negative feelings, engagement, misunderstanding, and so on, because children are in a stage of development where social behavior modeling is important. I would also seek to avoid those negative outcomes because a child’s stage of psychoneurological development is much more sensitive to stress, less able to recover from stress, and because of their rapid neuronal development, more likely to incur lasting effects from that stress, i.e., maladaptive plasticity versus resilience.

    On another level, I would get the gift because I would want to demonstrate and/or preserve my ability to be “trusted” in terms of adopting and following group norms, as judged by other adults. For the current and imagined future benefit of my child, first and foremost, but also because my sense is that I might already be working from a place of cultural deficit as it regards other people’s judgements and a priori assumptions concerning my ability and trustworthiness in parenting, much less being around children, inasmuch as I am a man, and would likely be unknown to most of those parents.

    In short, I want to pass the smell test, and not give any other parent reason to think I was weird, not safe, odd, a threat, and so on.

    Those are my thoughts. I’m not saying they are right, except that they are right for me. I don’t want to feel poorly in any way either. Type 9 baby, don’t rock the boat! :)

    On a larger level, there are parts of my childhood that were unhappy to say the least, so when it comes to children I want to give them those things I needed, but didn’t get.

    Plus, I really really like to see people smile. The return-on-investment for a child’s birthday party gift makes it a no-brainer.

    Even as part of my mind is watching it all, and noting the purposeful inauthenticity. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Cheers,
    Ian
     
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  6. Matty

    Matty Permanent Fixture

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    A lot of social conventions are arbitrary and seemingly achieve nothing practical. However, sociability has a lot of value to people, so my attitude is largely: when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

    I actually find people who can't observe some social conventions very odd, and in some cases, possibly mentally ill.

    To use a non human example, I don't know why cats like being scratched on the chin, but hate having their back legs touched. Nevertheless, I will scratch their chins and leave their legs alone. Similarly, I don't know why people like being greeted, but I'll always say good morning.

    The one exception I indulge is that online I don't rate, vote, like, dislike, or share/subscribe. I just see those features as encouraging the kind of content I intensely dislike.
     
  7. Anomalous

    Anomalous Regular Poster

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    The problem with these kind of conventions is they remove any basis for authentic displays of caring. If you had brought a gift, you would have done it only to appease the social expectation.

    So not only does it force people to comply with expectations that do not reflect their actual thoughts or feelings, it also prevents anyone from being able to demonstrate genuine good will by means of that particular action.

    Ironically, it motivates people to behave selfishly and to disregard others feelings that occur outside of what is expected. It reveals how lacking in empathy most people are, that such fake performances would be necessary in the first place.
     
    #7 Anomalous, Jul 3, 2022
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2022
  8. dZpADTLrPmX4c

    dZpADTLrPmX4c Impermanent Fixture

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    Why is this true?
    To me this seems like saying, "because somebody requested something, I cannot show them good will through this action."
     
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  9. Anomalous

    Anomalous Regular Poster

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    Because it's not really a request in this case. A social convention implies that it is expected by default.
     
  10. dZpADTLrPmX4c

    dZpADTLrPmX4c Impermanent Fixture

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    Hmm. That's true.
    I suppose to me it seems like a preset request. Like something that everybody has agreed upon as a sign of good will.
    Verbal insults are somewhat similar to me, in that they don't really mean much except that people as a whole have the understanding that they're meant as ill will.
     
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  11. Anomalous

    Anomalous Regular Poster

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    Sure, but that wouldn't account for the parents presumed ill will towards OP for not agreeing with it. It would be different if someone turned up and just started flipping everybody off, because then they would be the instigator.

    I see what you mean though. I suppose it's more an issue of mistranslation. Perhaps a good example of the Sapir-whorf hypothesis.
     
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  12. Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome
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    Group harmony is important to Fe users and they typically appreciate social graces, etiquette, and ways to easily show kindness and thoughtfulness without making waves or (in the case of auxiliary introverts) drawing attention.
    I have an appreciation for etiquette and believe we'd be a better society if we still used etiquette to some degree. In other cases, I find the way etiquette has morphed fascinating. It isn't that hard to default to being courteous in public.

    The social norms I loathe are typically new ones that are crass (like gender reveals), gaudy, or obvious cash and gift grabs (like big engagement parties where gifts are expected when the same guests will also be at the wedding.) A kid's birthday isn't that hard. You show up with a gift to show you care about the child, and the family reciprocates on your child's birthday. I do know parents who ask for "no gifts".

    I'm not a big traditionalist by any stretch (thinking about that makes me laugh), and I do ignore some norms and other rules are just...dead, but having some guidelines makes it easier to know how to behave and what gestures will be appreciated. Social norms seem better than the modern way of guessing the unspoken rules of every individual and angering them because you did something you didn't know offended them.
     
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  13. Roses In The Vineyard

    Roses In The Vineyard Well-known member

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    Such feels like and often is navigating a minefield where one wrong step can have drastic consequences hell even failing to say or do what was expected in that moment is more than enough. It gets exhausting having to pay attention to every bit of nuance in such settings much less having to plan ahead only for that to not be enough so it is natural at that stage for people to want out or limit their interactions. As for genuinely caring much less being authentic well forget it lol as this society is just so ridiculous at times that I feel like that I am not even the same species though I am well aware that others feel like this as well time to time.
     
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  14. Roses In The Vineyard

    Roses In The Vineyard Well-known member

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    It is part of the social meta that often requires this aside from situations where the opposite is expected such as responding to something horrendous like a natural disaster as an act of charity etc.
     
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  15. dZpADTLrPmX4c

    dZpADTLrPmX4c Impermanent Fixture

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    I'm sorry my brain is fumbling over the way this is worded x:
     
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  16. Roses In The Vineyard

    Roses In The Vineyard Well-known member

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    It is a bit of a dance of words to say that two conflicting behaviors are to some extent mandated depending on the situation with one were any empathy or human warmth is seen as some form of weakness (thanks NTs) and the other only have empathy when something terrible happens otherwise be cold/disconnected from others yet still keep up socially.
     
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  17. dZpADTLrPmX4c

    dZpADTLrPmX4c Impermanent Fixture

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    Oh okay thank you, that clears it up I think I understand what you meant before now.
     
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