People Explain The Social Norms They Are Pressured Into Doing Even Though They Suck.
This article is based on the AskReddit question "What's something you actually don't want to do but social norm tells you to do it anyway?"
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
1. Hating your job ...
Working a job you hate for the sole purpose of paying bills and surviving, but you have to take verbal abuse from "customers" with a smile. If you stand up for yourself in a "non-professional" manner, you're done.
As long as it doesn't come to violence, I think if someone makes fun of a janitor, talks down to some kid working at McDonalds, or throws a tantrum at a customer service rep, they should be able to tell them to, Get lost," and not be canned for it.
2. Settling down
I'm 42, single, no kids or pets, everything I own fits in my SUV, and I have no debts. I usually spend my money recklessly on experiences and travel, rather than owning a house or planning for retirement. I don't want to get married, I don't want kids, I don't want a mortgage or car payments, I just want to spend the rest of my life doing what makes me happy. Everyone I know seems to have a problem with my lifestyle. People are always accusing me of being childish or selfish because I don't want the mortgage and 2.5 children which most folks my age swear are the keys to happiness. I see it as a nightmare. A prison. I enjoy my freedom and will only stop when I'm dead.
3. Team building
I work in a semi-corporate setting.
Dear God. I do not want to do a puzzle with Connie in planning and then do a brief skit about business silos and overcoming odds or innovation. It is the most uncomfortable, unproductive, cringeworthy thing I've ever come across.
4. Loving night time
I'm a night owl, I love staying up until 3am or around that time and getting up late morning, between 9.30am and 10.30am but I feel lazy for doing that for some reason. I hate getting up early because it means going to bed early but I love night time.
5. Small talk with a hairdresser
Engage in small talk with the person cutting my hair. Especially if there are others around and we're the only two talking.
6. Mandatory fun
Got stuck with this a ton in the military as an officer. "Hey Captain, the Colonel has invited all CGOs to his house for dinner tonight. Better be there". Yes, because my first weekend free in two months should be spent listening to the same guy I see every day from 0400-1900 tell terrible jokes while suggesting we read his General friend's terrible book...
Got out of that only to find the private sector does the same thing. Uggh
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7. Early morning work days
Waking up at 5:30AM to get to work for 7:00AM every weekday, even though some of those days you could show up at 10:00AM and still get everything you need to get done by 5:00PM. It would be nice to have a few mornings that aren't the weekend to get things done for me and not for the big boss man.
8. Some times you just want to relax
Feeling guilty whenever I'm not doing something "productive." I'm not a lazy slob because I don't hike through the mountains or remodel my house every weekend. Relaxation is good for you. Not every spare minute has to be crammed with activity.
Pretending that parenting is the most AMAZING THING EVER. Sure, I love my kids. They're generally pretty cool, but they can also be relentless little jerks that exist purely to terrorize their parents and siblings. It's an exhausting, thankless job sometimes. I really hate that people can't just be honest with each other about how soul crushing it can be at times. I don't think I slept for the first six years. I would have been a lot more prepared had people offered actual advice and told me just how insane I would feel after barely getting any sleep for three months in a row. Or that it's completely natural to fantasize about traveling back in time to shove birth control pills down your own throat.
10. Small talk at social gatherings
Small talk with people you kind of know but aren't really friends with at social gatherings because you've been seated next to them at the table or what not. That sucks... mostly because I suck at small talk but still.
11. Long work days and hours
Work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. I think it's a travesty that this is the norm, but if you say you want to work less, you're labeled as lazy. I'd be 100% fine with 4 day work weeks and 3 day weekends.
12. Have a wedding
The stigma is you're young and dumb if you go to the courthouse to get married because then it's just a shotgun wedding or eloping or some other such nonsense. Maybe I have better shit to spend my money on than a grand ceremony and invite a bunch of people I don't care to see so they can give me shit I picked out on my registry and call it a thoughtful gift. Maybe if I hadn't have dropped enough for a down payment on a house on a one-day event, then I would be able to afford those stupid hand towels on my own. I know not everybody has a wedding anymore and I'm glad it's becoming more socially acceptable, but there is still this stigma about it. It's been my life goal and dream for as long as I can remember to find my one person and settle down and get married. But it's the being married part that I want... not the wedding.
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13. Send thank you cards
If you give me a gift, I'll say thank you. My gratitude is real. But I'm less grateful in the moment when I have to sit down and do the homework assignment of writing and mailing a card.
14. No makeup
I'm a woman who doesn't wear makeup. Nobody really says anything, but there have been times in my life where I felt left out or immature for not wanting to wear makeup. As I get older, I see more women going around barefaced. I don't know if it's a current trend, or if older women generally wear less to no makeup, but I like it.
15. Having kids
Now I'm not 100% against it, but why is it okay for people to harass couples and individuals about having kids? We live in a completely different world now. It shouldn't be expected as if people who don't have kids, have this mark on their forehead that needs to be removed by creating life. It's like you're consistently disappointing people who wouldn't help you take care of them anyway or will probably never see them. And God forbid you tell them you might not have any... the look of horror and shock is amazing.
16. Normal clothes
Dress up in business casual just to sit in front of a computer all day.
Wear shoes other than supportive tennis shoes. Screw heels!
I grew up in jeans and band t shirts. I have no idea how to wear "normal" clothes. Are these shorts normal? Does this shirt look nice enough for people to not think I'm white trash? Hello again, anxiety, my old friend.
17. Unfair bill payment
Splitting the bill in equal parts while eating out with friends.
I may look like a cheap person, but if I ate simple plate of pasta with one bottle of water and you ate the biggest steak with 2 portions of french fries and multiple beers I don't think it's fair to split the bill equally.
18. Go to baby showers
Weddings are at least a trade-off. You buy a gift and travel to the wedding, but you're pretty much guaranteed (that is, if you have fun friends/family) a pretty solid night of food, drinking, and dancing. As far as baby showers go, it is my literal nightmare to have to be somewhere with multiple women of various ages (many whom I probably don't know), playing weird baby-themed games and buying baby gifts that honestly seem ridiculous. Babies don't need more than HALF the shit they put on their registries, it's crazy. Also, there's usually stuff like vegetable platters or a bland and cheap vanilla cake. Sorry, the whole thing is just awful and stupid.
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19. Bless you!
Saying "bless you" after someone sneezes - not only is it a goofy custom, but I'm not even religious. Yet not saying anything seems impolite, and just never occurs to me to say something like gesundheit".
20. No planning ahead of time
Some of my friends have a big problem arranging a social engagement, since everybody is instantly connected through texting etc. If I ask if they want to come to some event a week ahead, such as dinner or a party, the best answer I get is probably". They are looking for the best thing to do in the moment, at which time I will suddenly receive a text saying, "Hey, I am at such-and-such a bar. Join me!" Nobody wants to plan ahead of time anymore.
I'm a woman so I need to shave my entire body because you know, 'women's body hair is gross and dirty but men's body hair is clean and natural' Also if body hair is dirty why are women expected to have long hair on their head? I don't know, shaving is ridiculous.
22. Children birthday cards
Getting children birthday cards when they too young to read. They don't care, it's obviously for the parents, but I just find it a waste. I would want the money spent on the card to go into the actual present.
23. Being forced to spend time with family members
Visiting your family members & in laws once a month combined with various random occasions. Too many weekends spent from visiting grandma A followed by an afternoon at some restaurant with parent in laws who I have nothing in common and are as exciting as watching paint dry.
I just want to hang out with friends or enjoy my weekend at home.
24. Giving hugs and/or kisses to family
When I was a kid I stopped doing it and my family would try and guilt trip me into doing it anyway. My dad was always quick to defend me and say it was my choice but my mum encouraged them and told me I was a horrible little girl and I didn't deserve the nice things my family did to me.
My body, my choice.
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25. Be friends with coworkers
I'm always asked to sit with them at lunch, asking about my personal life, what I get up to outside of work. The sitting with them at lunch is because I like to just be on my own, listen to music, wander without having to feel "on".
It sounds like I'm being such a bitch but I just like to keep my personal and work life separate.
26. Wear a tie
They are uncomfortable and I don't understand their purpose. Am I hiding the buttons on my shirt? I'm not allowed to use it to wipe my mouth during a meal, or blow my nose on it, which I would assume to be their purpose seeing one for the first time. Also, they are secretly filthy. My friend is a dentist and asked me " When was the last time you washed your ties? I don't wear them because they would spread disease." My mind exploded. I suppose I could use one to hang myself if I was really in a pinch though, so that's cool I guess.
27. Having a phone
I hardly ever use it as a phone, maybe send a text once a week or so. Maybe if I had a nicer phone I would feel differently, but I'm not sure. Most people reach me just fine through Messenger (I have to be online all day for my job) or other means. Every time my phone rings I look at it like it's a steaming pile of dog poop on my desk.
28. Do people even care how you are?
I hate the following exchange which HAS to occur at the beginning of most interactions for some reason:
"Hi, how are you?"
"Good [not really], how are you?"
"Good [not really]"
You can't say how you actually are because no one cares, its just stupid pretext to whatever they want to talk about; so why bother with it at all? If you don't care how I am and I don't care how you are why can't we skip the nonsense and get right to the point?
29. Having to care
I don't care that the neighbor down the street that I barely know needs a ride for his sisters boyfriends daughter. I don't care that my co-worker that I can barely stand has the flu and I don't want to sign his/her get well card. Saying "I don't care" is rude but pretending to isn't? Our society pretends too much. I noticed that when someone from another country pointed out that we often ask "how are you?" but don't really want to know.
30. Going out to meet women
I don't like the game, in fact I hate it. Making small talk, dressing up, buying drinks for strangers... It's all so clich and mind numbing to me; however, if you don't make some attempt to go out and be sociable with others, you never get laid and it gets lonely. So I do it anyway.
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31. Drink alcohol
I drank for a bit when I was younger (18-19) but as of now (21) I can honestly go without it. I prefer to be of sound mind, god forbid anything goes wrong and someone has to take you to the hospital (happened a few times and I'm the only sober one to drive).
32. Subway rides
Getting on the subway, standing in your spot hoping that person gets up because you have over an hour on there... 45 minutes in some slightly older woman comes and stands next to you. Now guess what, if you sit your suddenly a jerk.
Second scenario, you are already sitting, head down not looking around, watching a movie on your phone. All of a sudden someone tabs you hard on your shoulder and points to someone else to get you to give your seat to them.
Like there's tons of people actually looking around, why are you singling me out for this? How do you know I don't have a back problem or a knee problem? How about don't push what you think is fair onto someone else and let them decide for themselves?
Obviously if someone is having a really hard time standing or very pregnant and I see it I'm going to get up, but no one should be making you do it especially on someone else's behalf without them asking for it.
33. Precious children
Treating children as if they are precious jewels that can neither be corrected or disappointed. It seems that a lot of modern parents view their kids as the most important, non fallible things on the planet and expect you to feel the same way about them.
34. Wanting and not wanting to be involved in social media
I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way, but utilization of social media. I'll post something on Facebook 1-2 times a year and I'll Snapchat friends a couple times a week (never got into twitter/Instagram). However I'll see 20 notification on Facebook after a few days or receive 5+ snapchats a day from friends. It doesn't bother me that they send them to me, it bothers me that I don't have much of a desire to be a part of it. Ill have a conversation with a friend for hours like we've know each other our whole lives, but when it comes to social media I don't know what to say to them. I'll catch a 12 inch fish or make a delicious meal but I won't really tell anyone about it because I feel like no one is interested, but when people share the same things they did I feel left out for some reason when they have 30 comments from people. I'm not sure why I don't want to be involved, but also want to be at the same time. Maybe It'll go away after I grow up a little more.
35. Having grand ambitions for life
Every person that I've talked to barring friends who asked what my life goals were rolled their eyes at me or scoffed. All I want in life is an average job that pays a wage/salary that allows me to pay the bills, buy food, and have plenty left over to enjoy the small things in life like travelling or video games.
I don't need expensive cars, a mansion, millions of dollars in my account, horde of women to sleep with. I just want a simple life to enjoy the simple things in life.
36. Say hi every time!
This actually happened to me today. I was fast-walking during a jog and I was circling the park. I passed by a lady I knew, so I smiled at her and said hello, simple stuff. A few minutes later I passed her again. Introverted me kind of panicked because I don't know if whether I should say hello again or just ignore her. I felt like a terrible person if I did, so I smiled and said hello again, to which she replied with a smile. Okay. A few minutes went by and I pass by her again. At this point I chose to ignore her. When I did, she kept looking at me to the point where she turned her head as if hoping I'd say hi to her yet again for the third time in the span of probably 30 minutes. I felt really bad but at the same time kind of pissed. We both know we're here and are kind of in the middle of something, do I really have to say hi and make small talk every time we see each other?
We are told that, if you're not confident, you should just "fake it til you make it."
This is great--in theory. In practice, sometimes "faking it" can have extremely real and terrible consequences, which these people found out the hardest of hard ways.