Strange/weird/unusual behaviors at different ages

Page 1 of 1 [ 14 posts ] 

Aspie1
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 6,020
Location: United States

06 Jun 2021, 10:29 am

Is it just me, or does acting strange/weird/unusual---basically, noncompliant with social norms---become more and more socially acceptable as you get older? That is, you get judged less and less harshly for it, and social consequences become increasingly mild.

For example, in high school, if you want to be even slightly popular, you're "prohibited" from wearing anything that's not the latest fashions (which were Abercrombie & Fitch and FCUK (French Connection of United Kingdom) when I was in high school). Similarly, you had to like only the latest music/artists. And if you were ever seen going to a movie by yourself---a very "serious" social crime---you pretty much had to change schools, preferably 20+ miles away, because people lost respect for you for doing that. Eating lunch by yourself is less severe, although you still had to avoid being seen doing so if you wanted to keep friends. Which meant sneaking a Snickers bar and a Coke in an empty stairwell, rather than eat a proper sit-down meal of a pizza, fruit, and milk, all to protect your reputation.

In college and up to mid 20's, social consequences become less severe. Eating lunch alone is now a nothingburger (pardon the pun). Seeing a movie by yourself is still looked down on, but can easily be explained away as something you're doing for a class, thus getting away with it unscathed. Clothes still matter, but become more focused on looking SIMILAR to people around you, rather than specific fashion brands. Music is a hit or miss: you're expected to KNOW the latest artists, but you have leeway in what you're "allowed" to listen to.

At age 28 or so, it becomes mostly a free-for-all. You can wear whatever you damn please, as long as it fits the situation you're on. Like business casual at work, and shorts and T-shirt on the street in the summertime. You can do whatever you feel like, provided it's not TOO FAR outside the norm. Namely, you "can't" talk about intellectual stuff in a bar, but it's fine when casually sitting in a park. Also, going on a cruise by yourself is a very severe social crime when you're 21, but a nothingburger when you're 29. In fact, I had fellow passengers COMPLIMENT me for doing that, and a group of 20-somethings invited me to join them for a game of Mafia in the pool.

After age 35, it's all up in the air. Not only are you allowed to express yourself any way you damn please, you're also allowed to act and dress in "triggering" ways within reason. Like me wearing custom-made T-shirts with political messages, or blurting out "That's what she said!" when someone says something that sounds dirty. (You just have to be ready and willing to face the consequences, including defending yourself.) Or you and a friend pretend-sparring with hand puppets in a museum gift shop, just for _hits and giggles, and not feel even slightly embarrassed. Which is something you wouldn't be caught dead doing during a high school field trip, "because it's childish".

And when you start brushing up against senior years after age 55, being unusual becomes not only a neutral, but a POSITIVE thing. You're no longer "strange" or "quirky"; you're "eccentric". Any thing unusual you do becomes respected thing attributed to your character and sense of self, unless it truly disturbs the people around you. That explains why I was fervently looking forward to being old (not just "older") the whole time I turned 30.

Thoughts?



Brainiac42
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

Joined: 3 Jun 2021
Age: 24
Gender: Female
Posts: 381

06 Jun 2021, 12:14 pm

I think what you’re describing here is the thoughts of a particular group who think irrationally, and to them who knows what age these things become “normal”, they’re irrational. To me these behaviors wouldn’t be odd or weird no matter the age, and I have never cared about clothing. I’d say there’s more people who think like me than the ladder. I think a summary for this post is, “High school kids suck and are irrational” and outside of high school you meet the larger masses who don’t care. I also think that as people age they start to not care what those irrational people think as much.

Most of the time people aren’t even paying attention to you, and if they do they’ll forget in less than 10 minutes and go on to the next thing.



ToughDiamond
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 Sep 2008
Age: 68
Gender: Male
Posts: 8,277

06 Jun 2021, 3:12 pm

Maybe society thinks younger people are more malleable, so they put more energy into criticising them in order to bring them back to conformity?



Aspie1
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 6,020
Location: United States

06 Jun 2021, 9:57 pm

Brainiac42 wrote:
Most of the time people aren’t even paying attention to you, and if they do they’ll forget in less than 10 minutes and go on to the next thing.
Don't be so sure! Maybe that's true for adults, but in younger years, and 100% certainly in school, people are DEFINITELY watching your every move and judging you for it. Your reputation can suffer even from walking the wrong way, like too fast or too slow, let alone wearing the wrong T-shirt or listening to the wrong artists. In middle school, it's even worse: people will hate you for bringing the wrong kind of lunch, like a healthy turkey sandwich instead of a "cool" lunch, like a bologna and American cheese sandwich. (Well, that was long before teachers were granted the authority to confiscate and discard all homemade lunches that fall short of Michelle Obama's "healthy guidelines". :roll: Today, I don't even know what the social "lunch rules" are for kids.)

Your statement doesn't start being even remotely true until after college graduation, where people are actually too busy to pay attention to the people around them. They also start giving social newcomers the benefit of doubt in most cases, rather than dismissing anyone doing something "wrong" as worthless.



Brainiac42
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

Joined: 3 Jun 2021
Age: 24
Gender: Female
Posts: 381

07 Jun 2021, 7:48 am

Aspie1 wrote:
Brainiac42 wrote:
Most of the time people aren’t even paying attention to you, and if they do they’ll forget in less than 10 minutes and go on to the next thing.
Don't be so sure! Maybe that's true for adults, but in younger years, and 100% certainly in school, people are DEFINITELY watching your every move and judging you for it. Your reputation can suffer even from walking the wrong way, like too fast or too slow, let alone wearing the wrong T-shirt or listening to the wrong artists. In middle school, it's even worse: people will hate you for bringing the wrong kind of lunch, like a healthy turkey sandwich instead of a "cool" lunch, like a bologna and American cheese sandwich. (Well, that was long before teachers were granted the authority to confiscate and discard all homemade lunches that fall short of Michelle Obama's "healthy guidelines". :roll: Today, I don't even know what the social "lunch rules" are for kids.)

Your statement doesn't start being even remotely true until after college graduation, where people are actually too busy to pay attention to the people around them. They also start giving social newcomers the benefit of doubt in most cases, rather than dismissing anyone doing something "wrong" as worthless.


True. Did you read my entire post?



kraftiekortie
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 4 Feb 2014
Gender: Male
Posts: 77,077
Location: Queens, NYC

07 Jun 2021, 9:58 am

I was considered a pariah in high school because of my "strangeness," and my inability to fit into a high school stereotype (e.g., jock, nerd, mainstream, "new wave"). I just didn't "fit in" anywhere. High School was a lousy, depressing experience.

This all changed when I went out in the world of work. I've been, usually, accepted for who I am.....which is an eccentric who doesn't fit any "category." Accepted----but not befriended, usually. Always on the outside looking in.

I usually never found this all that bad, actually.



Aspie1
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 6,020
Location: United States

07 Jun 2021, 7:59 pm

Brainiac42 wrote:
True. Did you read my entire post?
Yes, I read it. The gist of it was that people don't become even remotely rational until college, if that.

Well, does anyone wonder WHY schoolkids pay so much attention to their classmates? The classmates they wouldn't care if they lived or died. I mean, really, does it matter if a classmate is wearing a generic T-shirt instead of Lady Gaga, Inc.? (a fictitious brand) And does it matter if he/she is eating a homemade chicken salad instead of the processed crap from a local Walmart's deli department? No, it doesn't! And yet, schoolkids treat EVERYTHING their classmates do as a matter of life and death. That's why I disliked most kids when I was a kid myself, and don't feel fond of kids now.

Interestingly, most kids today treat me with a level of deference, since being 38, I probably remind them of their fathers. I also show the same politeness I expect from them. For instance, when I find myself in an elevator with a group of noisy kids, and can't easily reach the buttons, I say "guys, press [floor #], please", and they listen without question.



Last edited by Aspie1 on 07 Jun 2021, 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

naturalplastic
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Aug 2010
Age: 66
Gender: Male
Posts: 26,836
Location: temperate zone

07 Jun 2021, 8:09 pm

There was a clothing brand called "FCUK"?

Interesting.



kraftiekortie
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 4 Feb 2014
Gender: Male
Posts: 77,077
Location: Queens, NYC

07 Jun 2021, 11:11 pm

Yep. Very popular in the UK about 10 years ago.



ToughDiamond
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 Sep 2008
Age: 68
Gender: Male
Posts: 8,277

08 Jun 2021, 1:06 am

naturalplastic wrote:
There was a clothing brand called "FCUK"?

Interesting.


That was one of the things that hammered home my feeling that the world had finally gone to the dogs, a few years ago.



Aspie1
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 6,020
Location: United States

08 Jun 2021, 5:25 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
Yep. Very popular in the UK about 10 years ago.
Also in the US about 20 years ago.

Not only that, there were colognes/perfumes, named "FCUK Him" and "FCUK Her". 8O



Mona Pereth
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Age: 63
Gender: Female
Posts: 4,147
Location: New York City (Queens)

15 Aug 2021, 4:07 pm

I think this varies depending on where you go to school.

I am lucky to have attended the Bronx High School of Science, which did NOT have the extreme conformist atmosphere you describe as typical of high school, probably for the following reasons: (1) Many of the students tended to be at least somewhat more serious about their schoolwork than most high school students at most high schools. (2) The school was BIG -- about 3000 students total. (3) There were kids from a wide variety of different cultural backgrounds, and from a wide variety of neighborhoods all over the city. All of these things, especially the last one, meant that there was no one clique you had to belong to or else.

But I was well aware that the average high school would have been absolutely hellish for me.

I should also mention, though, that I didn't have the goal of being popular. My main social goal was just to be left alone and not be bullied or otherwise picked on. I eventually managed to make a few short-term friends also, which was good enough for me.


_________________
- Autistic in NYC - Resources and new ideas for the autistic adult community in the New York City metro area.
- Autistic peer-led groups (via text-based chat, currently) led or facilitated by members of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group.
- My Twitter (new as of 2021)


Joe90
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 23 Feb 2010
Gender: Female
Posts: 20,756
Location: South-East England

15 Aug 2021, 5:50 pm

Social expectations were very precise at school, probably due to immaturity of the majority of high school kids. If you were seen on your own a lot, you'd easily be bullied. Basically you had to have friends or else. You could also be bullied if you were walking with friends but weren't really talking them. You always had to look social and be social. Thankfully those expectations eased when I left school and went into the real world. Funnily enough I actually see more adults shopping on their own than with people, particularly women. It isn't unusual to be seen on your own, and most people don't care. There are only some places where going alone is socially unacceptable, such as movies and clubs. I don't know why going to the movies alone is considered socially unacceptable. Actually I don't think anybody cares really, but it's one of those things where you feel awkward when alone. But I don't think people really notice because they are only there to watch a movie that they paid for. But again, I still wouldn't feel right going to the movies alone.


_________________
Female
Aged 31
On antidepressants
Have ASD, ADHD and anxiety disorder
Empathy score: 61 out of a possible 80. (High)


Aspie1
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 6,020
Location: United States

15 Aug 2021, 7:37 pm

Joe90 wrote:
There are only some places where going alone is socially unacceptable, such as movies and clubs. I don't know why going to the movies alone is considered socially unacceptable. Actually I don't think anybody cares really, but it's one of those things where you feel awkward when alone. But I don't think people really notice because they are only there to watch a movie that they paid for. But again, I still wouldn't feel right going to the movies alone.
For movies I want to see but can't find anyone to join me, I found a great hack: I bring a notebook and a pen, and scribble notes throughout the movie, to make myself look like a critic for an entertainment magazine or website. In reality, my scribbling is chicken scratches and F-words, but to other people, I look like I'm taking serious notes.

If someone asks me about it, I come back with "I can't tell you!" in a dismissive, slightly angry tone, while quickly closing my notebook. They get sheepish, mumble "sorry", and walk away, thinking they just asked about something confidential and thus broke a social norm, which is the biggest fear for most most NTs. ;) It doesn't happen often, but still. So, bringing a notebook and a pen makes for a great cover when seeing a movie by yourself.

As for clubs, I'm 38; that's waaaay too old for clubs. Plus, I hate clubs to begin with. So it's been a nonissue for the past 10 years. Interestingly, the taboo about going to clubs by yourself doesn't extend to cruise ships. I blatantly walked into the nightclub on my ship by myself, and found a woman to dance with with no problems.