The value of being a creative weirdo | by Michael Buckley | Oct, 2021


Stereotypes

There are several reasons why the social collective perceives certain people as weird. The obvious one that shaped my childhood was category stereotypes. The notion that our looks, behaviors, or talents can define how people perceive us is nothing new. Movies and books tend to expose us to these surface-level notions of character identity and personas. The jocks are always popular and handsome, the smart kids are nerdy and nonathletic, and the artists are weird misunderstood loners. Of course, in reality, we see individuals who transcend these molds all the time. Unfortunately, these abstract standards sometimes define who we think we are before looking inside ourselves for genuine answers.

Ignorance

When it comes to viewing others as different, some people are oblivious to why an individual may express or present themselves in a way that falls outside the scope of social norms. In many cases, people perceived as odd can possess psychological or physical conditions that contribute to their unusual appearance or personality. Some individuals viewed in this manner have little control over their perceived flaws, but that does not stop the cruel world from exposing them to toxic behaviors and outcomes.

Jealousy

The notion that someone may be jealous of a person they perceive as odd may appear counter-intuitive, but there exists something appealing about those brave and confident enough to break social standards to express themselves as individuals. Similar behavior by bullies occurs when they take out their insecurities on others.

Social Harmony

The last and somewhat more complex reason people see others as weird has to do with social harmony. Some people are uncomfortable when certain behaviors and appearances disrupt predictable environments and scripted narratives.

For example, if you observe a beach on a nice summer day, people will be walking around in bathing suits and typical summer outfits. However, if someone comes along wearing a business suit and tie and begins to go for a swim, most people would perceive this individual as odd. However, if you changed the context and observed someone showing up to a business meeting wearing a swimsuit, that individual would also be considered weird — right before being escorted from the building.

We can think of social behaviors as patterns. And people are sensitive to pattern changes — just as certain people can recognize when a physical room gets modified or how others feel emotionally. Many of us are keen on these variations, and sometimes our reactions are unavoidable when these patterns get disrupted. Weird individuals can have this effect within the predefined social fabric we wrap ourselves with.



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