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    33. Social attraction, being ‘cool’ and in-groups

    enJune 07, 2022

    About this Episode

    What does it mean to be ‘cool’ and why does it matter? In this weeks episode we discuss the importance of social acceptance and why being authentic is actually the key to being socially attractive.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • In our twenties, we search for belonging and acceptance through social groups, leading to intense pressure on our social status. The Psychology of Your Twenties podcast delves into these pressures and their impact on our well-being.
    • Our need for social acceptance runs deep, and rejection from social groups can be painful. Understanding the impact of social hierarchies and norms can help us navigate them in ways that align with our personal values and growth.
    • Rejection hurts and can impact our health. The need to belong can lead us to conform, but understanding group dynamics can help us recognize our individuality and make informed choices.
    • Conforming to norms is important for social harmony, but breaking certain norms can signal loyalty to unique groups and lead to acceptance. However, societal norms are contextually and situationally specific, and breaking them only to a certain degree is acceptable for social acceptance.
    • Coolness isn't about being rebellious, but about being autonomous, unique, and authentic while still adhering to group norms. Being cool mirrors the self-actualization process and values principles like self-sufficiency, beauty, and justice. Your environment and in-groups shape your identity.
    • Being part of an in-group or subculture is important for our social well-being, but it can also influence us in different ways. They can shape our beliefs, norms, and interests, and impact our interactions with people in other cultures and society.
    • Subcultures have distinct identities, practices, and values that set them apart from mainstream culture. Their unique cultural objects signify their status within the group and they form a subculture because they feel marginalized from mainstream society.
    • Being "cool" within a subculture implies going against mainstream conventions, and networks of individuals self-organize to create typical signals of status and group membership. This raises questions about what qualifies as "cool" and in-groupness.
    • Being the most typical member of your social group creates trust, charisma, and attraction. Emulating behaviors and trends of your desired group can help, but navigating dynamics authentically is crucial for true acceptance.
    • Trying to fit in or seeking symbols of status may not be as effective as being true to yourself. Authenticity attracts like-minded individuals and builds stronger social connections. Be aware of social dynamics and topics of conversation.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    Navigating Social Attraction and Status in Your Twenties

    In our twenties, social attraction and status are important because they give us acceptance and a sense of belonging to a group.This decade is where we try out different identities, shift between social groups and find where we belong.However, this search comes with intense pressure around other people's perceptions and our social status.This pressure comes from an innate desire to be accepted into a group and be liked by others.The Psychology of Your Twenties podcast explores these pressures and the effects they have on our psychological well-being.

    The Power and Influence of Social Acceptance

    Our desire to fit in and be accepted by certain social groups is a deeply ingrained part of our psychology.Rejection from these groups can trigger strong emotional and physical pain, as our brains have developed an early warning rejection alert system for survival.Our comparison to others and their position in the social hierarchy also plays a major role in how we see ourselves.While some individuals may naturally become trendsetters, subcultures and norms also shape our behavior within these groups.It's important to recognize the influence of social acceptance on our lives and navigate it in a way that aligns with our personal values and growth.

    The Pain of Rejection: Understanding Group Dynamics

    Rejection and social exclusion can be as painful as physical injury and can have serious consequences for our emotional, cognitive and physical health.Being part of a group is crucial for our sense of belonging and self-esteem, but seeking approval from groups that are seen as important for social status can lead to conformity and a convergence on group norms.We conform to these norms to fit in and avoid rejection, and this can have implications for our behavior and decisions.It's important to recognize our individuality, but also understand the power of group dynamics in shaping our actions.

    Understanding the Nuances of Norms and Acceptance in Society

    Humans conform to establish and maintain their self-concept, align with similar individuals, and elevate their social status.Conforming is important as it creates a status quo and makes us more agreeable to live with.However, being socially acceptable is nuanced as violating norms can lead to social acceptance and attraction.Norms are contextually and situationally specific and differ from situation to situation and from group to group.Being cool and socially accepted is based on both association and independence.Breaking wider-held norms can signal loyalty to unique subgroups, leading to acceptance and being part of the in-group.Acceptance nowadays can mean breaking norms, but only to a certain degree.

    Autonomy and Group Norms: The Key to Being Cool

    Being perceived as cool is not about always going against the norm for the sake of it.It's about being autonomous and unique in a way that shows you would do things regardless of what others think.When we violate norms in an autonomous way, we show that we operate in a way that favors the inner group norms of our groups without needing direction or instruction.This validates that we are a true member of the group and helps us receive social acceptance.Coolness mirrors the self-actualization process, where people think for themselves, don't conform to fit in, and value higher principles like self-sufficiency, beauty, and justice.Our identity is influenced by our environment and in-groups.

    The Importance and Impact of In-Groups and Subcultures on our Social Well-being

    In today's world, it's hard to be entirely unique and separate ourselves from others' influences.We all have an inherent need to be liked and be part of a community, which is essential for our social well-being.Different groups have different expectations, and they can affect us in various ways.In-groups are smaller groups that exist within larger groups or society, which possess their culture, interests, and norms.Subcultures are types of in-groups that are more diffuse, informal, and contested.They have loose participation and fluid boundaries, and their members can identify with just one part of the subculture while interacting with people in other cultures and broader social networks.

    Understanding the Importance of Subcultures and Their Unique Characteristics

    Subcultures share common values, practices, and cultural objects that are important to their identity and signify status within their group.They may purchase objects that are specific to their subculture but may not be important to others.Subcultures have distinct practices, principles, and objects that distinguish them from mainstream culture.They form a subculture because they feel marginalized from the cultural values that society expects from them.There are no barriers between members of a subculture and society.It is generally accepted that there are interactions between people who are not members of the group.To be seen as cool and socially attractive, one must conform and identify what is cool and follow along with it.

    Exploring the Self-Organization of Subcultures

    Belonging to a subculture and being "cool" within that group often means going against what is considered mainstream and being autonomous.What sets certain individuals apart within subcultures is often incredibly specific.Trends and conventions emerge without a centralized authority figure, leadership, or solid membership.Instead, networks of locally interacting individuals spontaneously self-organize and coordinate to produce global convergence towards typical conventions and typical signals of status and in-groupness.This kind of self-organization is difficult to demonstrate on a meaningful scale, and it raises questions about how we know what's cool and how we know what it means to be part of an in-group.

    Importance of In-Group Prototypicality for Becoming a Leader

    In-group prototypicality is the key to becoming a trendsetter or leader.This means being the most familiar and typical member of a group, representing the average attributes and characteristics of everyone in your social circle.It creates a sense of trust from others and with it, charisma and attraction.While some people fall into this role naturally, anyone can emulate the behaviors and trends of their desired group to become part of the in-group.However, always conforming to group norms may not lead to true acceptance.It's important to navigate group dynamics and find where you fit authentically.

    Being Yourself is the Key to Attracting Others and Building Strong Connections.

    Trying too hard to be liked can have the opposite effect.It's important to be authentic and act independently to gain social acceptance.Trendsetters and people who violate norms, not just obey them, are often seen as attractive leaders in social interactions.Being your authentic self allows you to find groups you naturally have more in common with.Seeking symbols or indicators of status is not as powerful in social interactions as self-actualization, or not needing social acceptance.It's important to consider how social situations work and to be aware of the topics and conversations that come up.

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