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7 Social Norms That We Should Leave Behind In 2019

Because who wants to just be “normal”?


Social norms are pesky little things, aren’t they? They have a way of appearing out of thin air and making a claim on our society. We accept them because “it is what it is” or “that’s just the way it’s always been”. The only reason we believe social norms to be a fact is because of how common such beliefs have become. We make them our reality based on their commonality and not if they’re actually true or not. Even if it doesn’t sound right, we tell ourselves it is right because “society says so”. 

People who are different, cultures that are different, are often shoved to the side simply because they don’t fit the status quo. It’s important to remember, however, that social norms exist because humanity created them. The logic then dictates that humanity can also erase them. 

As such, if social norms are destroying or making your life difficult, just know that you’re not alone. Following are 7 social norms that we should all fight to once and for all banish from our society. 

That men don’t cry. 

So it’s a problem when men are indifferent, but it’s also a problem when they cry. We ridicule them for it but then we get upset if they don’t get upset with us. 

Here’s a thought: Instead of backing men into a wall, why don’t we just let everyone - irrespective of gender - the right to express their emotions as they wish? 

That all women should wear make-up. 

Women shouldn’t be expected to wear make-up at all times. It’s not by force that every woman should have her face beat to the gods at every second of the day. If you love wearing make-up, that’s great for you. If you find it tedious or it’s a non-factor in your life, that’s also great. 

No one should ever feel pressured to look a certain way for the benefit of others. 

That we have to get married and have kids. 

The idea that every individual should one day get married, get a house in the suburbs, have 3 kids, a dog and a picket fence is seriously outdated. To get married and have kids one day is an extremely personal decision and unique to every individual. Nobody should be pressured to start a family just because society says so. 

Women shouldn’t have to give up their career to be a mom and men shouldn’t have to wake up one day and suddenly decide that they want a lifetime partner. It should happen naturally and out of free will. 

Buying gifts. 

The art of buying gifts isn’t for everyone. Some people enjoy it, others don’t. The worst thing about giving, however, is feeling like you HAVE to or that you’re “supposed” to. That might be because of a work function and you don’t want to come empty-handed. 

Giving is meant to be a loving gesture and should be given out of love and not obligation. We all need to quit being so awkward about it. 

That having a career is the end all and be all. 

From the moment we are born, society is already rearing its ugly head in trying to cultivate our future career from the get-go. From a young age through to early adulthood, we are told that having a career is the definition of life. That our value comes from working and paying taxes. Well, guess what? That’s just not the case anymore. 

Our role on this earth isn’t to work ourselves to an early grave. Prioritizing your happiness and wellbeing is imperative to enjoying life. Having a different career to what’s socially acceptable is absolutely fine because at the end of the day if it makes YOU happy, society will just have to take a backseat. 

Blood is thicker than water. 

Sure, for a lot of us family is the most important thing in our life. But just because someone is related to you doesn’t mean you are obliged to go the distance for them - especially if they’re not particularly the nicest person in the world. 

You absolutely can pick your family and for a lot of people that is the case. It just so happens that friends are family and you know what? That’s pretty damn sweet. 

Making small talk and fake plans. 

Must we always fill the awkward silence with even more awkward chatter? Can’t we all just bury our heads deep in our phones like smart people do? And another thing, must we always make plans that nobody will bother to follow through with just to be polite? Associates, colleagues, semi-friends, we don’t need to force ourselves to plan lunches and coffee dates when we know it’s never going to happen. 

The way to make authentic, real plans is to have authentic, real conversations. Being honest and true to yourself with actual intent to make friends. Making flimsy attempts to do something together outside of whatever establishment you guys have is so transparent. And a little awkward tee bee aitch. 

If you think of any more social norms we should be nipping in the bud, make a promise to yourself to challenge these toxic ideologies in 2020. It’s high time society had a clean slate and we were all allowed to decide what’s “normal” for ourselves! 


Next Up, A Beginner's Guide To The Vegan Lifestyle