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Published: 20-12-2019

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The Unwritten Behavior Rules of Having a Meal in a Dining Hall

Every person acts differently at property than they would in public. When I’m in the comfort of my own house, I eat on the floor all the time. To clarify, I do not consume food off the floor, I just like to sit, cross-legged, usually with a fuzzy blanket and in front of the tv with my plate of meals on my lap, a pillow, or on a chair in front of me. I’ve done this considering that I was little and it’s just more comfy for me, even so, I’ve been socialized to know that men and women are not supposed to eat on the floor in public places. But, if I walk into Upper Debot right here at UW-Stevens Point, there is no sign anywhere that says you have to sit at a table to eat your meals. This is a social norm not reinforced by any laws or guidelines (in most circumstances), but by socialization. I chose this for my breaching experiment given that I live on campus and can access the dining halls and be in a position to easily observe a lot of people’s reactions in 1 brief time period.

Prior to completing my experiment, I wanted to generate some sort of strategy and make predictions about how people might react. I went to the dining hall with my girlfriend so I could have an additional set of eyes to make observations. To ensure my own security, I sat in an area that wasn’t in a main walkway. I also did not set my plate of food on the floor, I just held it in my hand as I ate. I figured I would get some funny appears from my peers, but I predicted that I wouldn’t actually receive any comments. In my experience, if I see somebody acting in what is not regarded “normal” or standard behavior, I typically wouldn’t straight question them and I would attempt to thoughts my own enterprise to keep away from being perceived as rude.

I certainly got some strange appears from a handful of folks. It seemed as although folks had been looking at the furniture about me to assess if there was something incorrect with it, which would explain why I wasn’t using it. Following not seeing something and remaining confused, absolutely everyone just carried on and walked away with out questioning it further, as I predicted. One employee, nevertheless, spoke up and asked me if I would prefer a chair, to which I replied, “Thank you, but I’m alright.” He also looked confused, but left it alone. I feel it’s quite exciting that the only particular person who made a comment was an employee, which demonstrates how people could act differently when placed in various roles. A fellow student who is there to consume and appreciate themselves could possibly care less whether or not somebody is sitting on the floor. But an employee has more duty and demonstrates some level of authority, permitting them to really feel more comfortable generating a comment like this.

General, I would say that I was exposed to mild adverse sanctions, in the kind of disapproving glances or comments, for breaking this norm. Other sanctions I could have experienced would be obtaining told to use the furnishings, or even being asked to leave. Even so, I do not feel my behavior would be classified as “taboo” given that it wasn’t extremely shocking or in violation of social laws, it was merely just a bit odd.

Another aspect I deemed when reflecting on my experiment have been Cooley’s hunting-glass self, which refers to the notion that we define and characterize ourselves based on how other folks see and react to us (Henslin, 2017). Upon getting these damaging sanctions from my peers, I began to recognize some uncomfortable feelings and thoughts, such as, “Does everybody feel I’m weird? Are they going to make fun of me?” Cooley suggested that we internalize the input we get from other people and change our behaviors accordingly in order to become more socially accepted (Henslin, 2017). Even after just a few minutes of breaking a social norm and experiencing mild consequences, I could really feel myself becoming uncomfortable with disapproval and wanting to alter my behavior.

It is also critical to contemplate the culture in my experiment. College campuses tend to be much more laid-back. For example, it is probable that you’ll see someone wearing sweats or pajamas to go grab some meals at the dining halls. But if an individual dressed like that to a 5-star restaurant, it would be frowned upon. I think this is an additional cause why the reactions I knowledgeable were not as extreme as they could be. This led me to think about how I could explore this topic further in a distinct atmosphere.

If I had been to repeat this experiment, I would do the identical factor but in a slightly fancier restaurant environment. It would be intriguing to see how differently individuals would react in comparison to a a lot more relaxed university dining hall. Moreover, restaurant-culture is hugely centered around consumer service, so I’m confident the waiter/waitress would be uncomfortable with my choice to sit on the floor. I also envision that if the restaurant was far more higher-finish, a person may even get kicked out if they refuse to sit in a chair. 1 point I would maintain the same in my repeat experiment would be making positive to dress pretty nice. I think if I had dressed in sweats or pajamas, people would have unconsciously stereotyped me as someone who is careless or immature, generating it look less odd to see a particular person like that engaging in abnormal behavior. But, by wearing what is perceived to be “normal” clothing, it limits the quantity of variables in the experiment and guarantees that people’s reactions are only in response to the behavior.
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