IT’S SO QUIET HERE!!! I know, that’s because we’re still at feud with my annoying neighbors – annoying or just plain disgusting, whatevz – and busy with more equally exciting stuff. Just to give you a quick update on the neighbor part: yep, I’ve turned into one of those people who call the police when life get’s annoying and honestly, I think I could get used to this so think before you annoy me.
Anyway, this whole story made me realize how I haven’t talked about my strong aversion to groupings of all sorts yet – because of course my neighbor and his mattress are members of our university’s foreigners’ club, which doesn’t surprise me at all, now that I think of it. I’m not against foreigners, I’m a Russian with a German passport, living in Switzerland myself so I guess I would have qualified for joining a couple of clubs at university… BUT:
I’ve never understood why someone would like to join a club / society / association / or whatever kind of grouping that doesn’t have some ‘real’ purpose like a competitive sports team or whatever. I mean, I get it, same interests, you feel like sharing it with someone, blablabla, whatever – I’m not judging as long as it doesn’t affect me. But honestly, so many of these groupings only live on the desire of belonging to some sort of group, any group really, besides providing an acceptable excuse for regular piss-ups. I’m sure that what counts for many of the groups that we have at uni, applies to others just as well. And isn’t that sad? I don’t need to belong to an official group in order to meet up with like-minded people and get drunk.
My favorite example are fraternities. I don’t know what reputation they have outside of Switzerland and Germany, but I’ve never ever met a decent member of a fraternity – and I’ve had the chance to meet numerous of these individuals, unfortunately. Such a primitive, narrow-minded custom, maintained by a bunch of losers here and there who have nothing but their network to identify with. Always proud, always complacent – for no reason at all, really.
No, really. It’s so tiresome to try to have an enjoyable interaction with an individual that clearly has no interest at all in stretching its horizon any further than that particular group’s status quo – and sometimes I think these people don’t even notice what is happening to them. Doesn’t that sound familiar to you?
Last autumn, when I had just gotten back to university to do my master’s degree, a girl who I knew back from my bachelor’s asked me if I was planning to apply for CEMS, which, I guess, is an ok question for some distant small talk. But when my answer was nah, she replied with why? like it was weird to not even consider an additional, overrated program. I find it hard to not explode in such situations. Don’t get me wrong: if you think that whatever decision is good for you, then I’m not going to comment against it – but why can’t you do the same thing in return?
These are the same people who always use hashtags for their group, who always have to point out who they are with and how people belonging to this group are the best and particularly good people for whatever reason. ‘You know you’re member of that and that group if you’re this and that’ ‘Only members of that and that group will know that…’ etc. Don’t tell me you have never found yourself rolling your eyes over a post by some distant FB friend or a conversation for the reason I’m trying to describe here. Ugh, right?
In psychology, there’s this thing called groupthink, which describes the need for harmony and conformity within a group of individuals, which results in an irrational or dysfunctional outcome when it comes do decisions and behavior. No critical evaluation, no alternative views and isolation from outside influences. Just complete identification and latching onto some collective. I know that this might stretch a little far, but I think that we’re all witnessing this much more often than we’re aware of.
Before you get all ‘You’re just bitter you don’t belong to some super great club’ – I’m neither bitter, nor am I completely against people getting together with other people for whatever reason and also it’s not like I would be rejected by too many groups if I tried to be a part of it, obviously. I guess what I’m trying to say is: if you’re going to be annoying, be so because of your own personality, not because of affiliation. Be your own kind of obnoxious, not a shared one. And if you belong to some kind of group, stay individual, above all when you’re dealing with other people. Do yourself and others that favor.
Having an own personality is good for you, trust me.