Common Courtesy in Our Society

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Krystal Loving
Dr. Thompson
Sociology 201
4/19/2012
The Common Courtesy in Our Society
In every society, there are norms established that are used as laws, with no consequences if you decide to break them (Schaefer 48). I decided to break a social norm to see other people's reactions to my out of the ordinary behavior. One type of social norm is an informal norm, which is a generally understood behavior that is not written down as a law (Schaefer 49). An example of an informal norm in the United States is asking someone how they are doing as a form of courtesy to others. However, the usual response is 'good' or 'fine', to avoid overwhelming others in casual conversations, when sometimes they don't even care. We have learned behaviors of being courteous and considerate of others, without actually needing to have the concern. Cultural vales are collective conceptions of what is acceptable and unacceptable in a society, and influences the behaviors of those people (Schaefer 51). Our cultural values are kindness, helping others, dependency and politeness. Those values, are related to our behaviors, such as, asking people how they are doing. With that being said, I decided to experiment with this social norm. Instead of responding to “how are you doing”, I decided to tell my whole life story and reveal my actual problems to a stranger. I said, “I'm not okay, my mother just died, I do not know where I am going to live, because I do not have a job and cannot pay the bills for the house we lived in, I do not want to be homeless, I'm all alone, can you help me”. The subject replied in shock with my response, he said, “um, I don't know what to tell you, but I don't know how I can help you” The subject wondered why I told him my problems looking for help, I said, “ Well you asked me how I was doing, and I just simply responded”. I knew the response he was looking for, but I did not give it to him because I wondered what the reaction would be to a different response to...
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