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Posted on April 7th, 2012, by

Social norms are part of the society. They are a set of certain rules that are common in a group and which a group uses for inappropriate and appropriate beliefs, behaviors, values and attitudes. We can mention some group of social norms to understand them better.

Descriptive – the concept of the way of people’s actual behavior; their behavior may be approved and may be not approved;

Explicit – always spoken and written freely;

Implicit – not commonly stated openly; nevertheless, as soon as a person transgress an implicit norm a group or society will immediately show its disapprobation;

Injunctive – realized as rules that were approved by other people;

Personal – certain standards that every person has for himself or herself;

Subjective – expectations that people around a person have to his or her behavior.

Since we are living inside that society we need to respect some reasonable norms and rule of it. Nevertheless, there are many different norms that everybody can break from time to time. What does that person who breaks a social norm feel inside themselves? What is the reaction of different people around him or her? What kind of reaction could friends and strangers show?

I am among those numerous people who break some social norms from time to time. I decided to explore my own feelings and reaction of people around me next time when I break a social rule. One of the social norms that I can call explicit and injunctive is to let an elder person to have a seat in a public conveyance instead you. This time I was with my friend in a bus. I saw an elder woman entered the bus. I knew that the woman and other people around me expect me to let her have the seat. It is a rule of the social group I belong to. I felt tired and I decided to keep sitting on my place. I saw the reaction of people around me. Sure they did not tell me that I should stand up and let the woman sit, nevertheless I saw that many of passengers were looking at me. In some minutes my friend stood up and let the woman sit. During the journey I was giving myself different reasons why I did not let that woman have a seat.

First of all, I paid for the seat and I had a right to keep it. Secondly, I felt tired after working day. And finally, I did not make the woman to enter the bus where there were not free seats. Also I was thinking that it was not just my duty and it were many different men in the bus.

Another rule that I broke was a subjective norm. A social group my family belongs to require to wear certain type of cloths. I try to respect them but from time to time I prefer to keep to my own preference. When I was trying to do it first time I felt so much doubts inside me. I knew that it is not that people around me expect from me and I worried about their opinion. I explained my parent for some times that I am free to break some norms that are not strong and that are touch just my personal life mostly. Nevertheless, I still see different signs of disapproval from their side and from the side of their social group.

Summarizing my own experience I can state that there are some social norms that people are breaking everyday and getting used to it (like a subjective norm I broke). Other norms that we can also call the rule of good behavior (like to let an old person have a seat) could be broken from time to time, but I do not think that it is good. Everybody should have certain good personal norms and try to keep them in the life.

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