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What do you think about the term "fitting in" at school, work, or an outing somewhere?

What do you think about the term " fitting" in at school, work or an outing somewhere?
I would just want a philosophical approach. Not too much on experiences. Is it better to be an individualist or does fitting in just plainly not exist?

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    Apr 26 2012: 'Fitting in' is an art of not ruffling feathers and at the same time not compromising your individuality.
    • Apr 27 2012: Well said but many times those two things are mutually exclusive.
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    Apr 24 2012: I think that "Fitting in" is the worst possible choice that an INDIVIDUAL can make. Once you start to fit in, to be acepted, to blend in, it becomes a habit and a easy way out. If you arent the one that "steps out" away from the crowd then some one else will and grab the brass ring. Celibrate life by being unique.
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    Apr 26 2012: "Fitting In" in social setting whether its school , work or community in usually is indicative of EQ.
    But defintely with high EQ one need to be conscious about where to "fit in" where not to depending on the individual value system as well as passion (definitely not compromising with values)

    One can be Fit In some setting but even can be UNIQUE which means one need not compromise individual uniqueness to FIT in....
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    Apr 18 2012: I can remember back in elementary school, which was a very small rural school, that we had a very diverse group of children in attendance. Back at that time we never knew what "fitting in " was. We were all just kids. Today is so different. If your kids dont have the right name on their clothes they are considered lesser than. Parents feed in to this too so it's a social problem that will be around for as long as we allow it. Take away all the stigmas and lets get back to just being ourselves. This Country was built by diverse people but it too is falling in to the rut of trying to be too politically correct.
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    Apr 18 2012: If a group is not too set in its ways, is good humoured, empathic, open-minded and is genuinely interested in others, then I guess it would be reciprocated by a new group member, who will no doubt be very happy to take on all those characteristics him/herself.

    A group that is in any way 'cliqueish' would not fit into that category at all, and would either be too difficult or impossible for any individualist to truly fit in (and who is reluctant to become 'one of them'). This is a type of group I would be quite happy to avoid anyway, because cliqueishness equates to inflexibility, being a group who only accepts others who are exactly the same as them.

    Cliques form where there is either a 'queen bee' or 'alpha male' leading it, and the whole group reflects their guarded and unanimously supported individual style. I think it comes about through the group's perception of that individual's charisma and ability to lead as a result. (As an aside: charisma, though attractive, is not at all related to intelligence).

    It is difficult to avoid standardised groups or cliques, especially in the workplace. However, so important is the need to retain individuality, I would say that it would be necessary to kowtow to standardised person specifications just in order to hang on to that job - but then to express that individualism in other absorbing ways outside work.
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    Apr 18 2012: "Fitting in" has become so much more important than it should be. It has shot up to the top of people's priorities, somewhere it doesn't belong. Grades, morals, personal identity and character have all become lesser ideals as a result of this obsession with "fitting in." While the majority of us have experienced what it is like to try and "fit in", the group that is forced to cope with this on a daily basis is of course the younger population. Obviously there are many others who must deal with this, but I will stick to what I know, I am of course 19 years old.

    It has become the number one goal of today's children to try and find a niche in which they feel welcome and accepted. And rather than being welcomed and accepted for who they are, a human being with feelings just like everyone else, they are judged almost solely on how accurately they portray what is considered socially preferred. We are all guilty of passing premature judgment on someone based on what we perceive from a first look. In my opinion, this shallow form of judgment stems from the inability of today's people to think for themselves.

    Modern society is always telling the human race what to wear, what to say, how to act, who is "cool", and even how to think. This has been going on for so long and has affected so many people, that it has become a self sustaining cycle that is powered by insecurity and the significant lack of individualists. Those who try and be individuals are often persecuted for their different mindset.

    So to answer the question, I think the best way to describe the concept of "fitting in" is a viral and contagious concept that won't allow each person to show the many unique and wonderful aspects of their personality. The fear of being ostracized has become greater than the desire to be our true selves.

    I will end with a rather fitting quote from Raymond Hull. "He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away."
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    Apr 16 2012: To me fitting in means that you have met someone elses expections. If I fit in fine. I would rather achieve self satisfation of knowning I did my best and accomplished the goals. There come a time that you must chose between making others happy, "fitting in" and making the tough and often unpopular decision that is necessary. In the final analysis you must look at that guy in the mirror everyday. I want to look him in the eye and say you did the right thing. All the best. Bob
  • Apr 15 2012: I think the term "fitting in" exists more in an organizational sense than any other. If an organization exists toward satisfying a certain goal, then it is very much their right to see that only "certain" type of people be allowed to be a part of their "business", anything outside seems counter-productive. So, how does this approach pan out in the education world ?? Well, unlike the industrial world, students are not expected to churn out "outputs" and the focus should be on learning. Instead, what we see is that modern education does treat students like employees in the sense that they should produce output for the school in terms of grades, achievements etc if this situation is understood, then it automatically follows that students must learn to behave in a certain way that could be mutually beneficial and by extension learn to "fit in ".....
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    Apr 15 2012: I really haven't wanted to 'fit in' since high school. But what I can tell you is that in my work area I always look for a 'good fit.' Is this place of employment congruent with my values? Can I ethically function within this institution? Can I make a contribution to the mission and values of this institution?

    So I am not sure if 'good fit' is just the grown up version of 'fitting in.' I don't think so. 'Fitting in' has the implication that I will modify my behavior/appearance/values to become part of a group or organization. 'Good fit' has the implication that my behavior/appearance/values will make a contribution to the group or organization.

    I think it is better to be an individualist that has a 'good fit' with school, work, or an outing.

    Well you said philosophical...
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      R H

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      Apr 25 2012: Thanks for making the distinction between 'fitting in' and 'good fit'. A 'good fit' is about as close as I would ever want to get to caring whether or not I was accepted by 'the group' dynamic. I abhor groupthink. I feel it is not only unproductive but destructive. The only thing we have to offer is our individuality, our unique perspective. This has absolutely nothing to do with the actual administration of an organization. In my opinion, what I 'bring to the table' is the only reason I'm there.
  • Apr 14 2012: As much as I WANT to agree with RH and Luke, 'fitting in' has always been a judgement call from someone else's point of view. And sometimes when we think we 'fit in', the world around us just doesn't agree.

    At work, and school, 'fitting in' usually means not standing out, in any way, Not being exceptional, in any ways other than what was expected of us by others. Doing what you're told IS fitting in.

    To ourselves, 'i think 'fitting in' is a measure of our comfortabliity with ourselves.
    If we feel that we don't fit in, we behave in an uncomfortable way, and usually we are the only ones who notice.

    We all want a place to 'fit in', and I think we all need to be told that we 'fit in' fine, right where we are.
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    Apr 11 2012: Yes the "fit" concept. Many organizations now talk about "fit" and the concept gets used rather brutally. We have in Ontario today the dichotomy of our political, business, government management leaders, behaving in very non-inclusive, bullying ways, yet at the same time lining up to be seen at charity fund-raisers, promoting "zero-tolerance" for bullying in schools etc. While there may be a place for "fit" in some organizations to fulfill specific roles, the concepts of inclusive consultation, unity in action are of far greater importance to all of humankind. We will enter a new age of civilization when we evolve to view all human beings as our own family. In this context, questions of "fit" are not relevant, we all fit, we are all family, we all work together and support each other.
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    Apr 11 2012: as RH stated below.. screw em! why should it matter? what purpose does it serve to "fit in?" Obviously in life you're going to have to work with people that are unpleasant and one may have to adapt to those unpleasant persons style of thinking, but that doesn't necessarily mean put on a mask and attempt to become something you are not.
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    Apr 11 2012: I'm in favor of as much authenticity as possible, although, if we want to function in a social surrounding, there might be some limits depending on the individuals character.
    At the end you'll have to find some sort of balance between being authentic and adapted.
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    R H

    • +1
    Apr 10 2012: Screw em.
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    Apr 10 2012: The best position for you will depend on your situation and your personality. Ideally, you should be yourself, but take into account the feelings and traditions of those around you by making the small compromises that allow diverse groups to share space amicably. One reason different people can coexist is that we have more in common than we tend to acknowledge. What is also true in my experience is that we tend to see ourselves as different from "the rest", but "the rest" are not as homogeneous as they may appear to us from the outside.

    But if everyone around you is engaged in bullying, don't just fit in with that.
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    Apr 30 2012: Fitting in means giving up a little of who you are for the benefit of those around you,

    Fitting in means conforming to the majority,

    Fitting in means compromising your personal integrity,

    Fitting in means being cognatively and emotionally mature enough to read the unspoken social rules of a group,

    Fitting in means being professional,

    Fitting in means behaving in a way that is expected of you.

    Fitting is is all of these things - if it places an undue emotional strain on a person they may need to think about changing their socal group / job. Fitting in is being human.

    An interesting book about how people learn about "fitting in" as a child within a family, is:

    "They F*** You Up: How to Survive Family Life, by Oliver James (revised and updated e-edition, published 2010 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC)

    It details how parent's expecations and projections determin how confident, social, and well rounded (or otherwise) a person becomes in adult life - dependent on the scrip we are given as very young children e.g. clever boy/girl, sporty boy/girl, beautiful girl, kind girl, brave boy, funny boy, useless girl, stupid boy...
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    Apr 29 2012: Chris, I am a bit confused by your question. Are you saying is it better to do things alone or in a group or are you saying that here is no such thing as fitting in? Either way I will just take a whack at both and see what happens! =)

    People act very different when alone or with company. For instance, someone who is alone hardly laughs at all, but someone with a group laughs much more. This isn't because the group is so funny, it is because laughing is a social tool. Well the same goes for behavior, speech, etc. much like what Jay said. Individuals are not bad as long as they do not mind being alone, can work efficently alone, do not require much help, and are able to stay mentally/socially healthy.

    For me, I like to work alone. I am a serious person when it comes to finishing tasks and I feel that when I am with other people who do not share my philosophy on work, we are a much less efficent team. So, for work I like to be alone but for life or socially I like to be around other people.
  • Apr 29 2012: I think "fitting in" is inevitable. Especially when in groups for extended periods of time, like a typical 40 hr work week. Whether you like it or not, you will subconsciously probably start to change your speech and jargon, probably even your behavior after awhile. I think it's natural and fine that this happens because it allows the team to function and communicate better. It's not a threat to being an individual, even the rebel has to 'fit in' a little - at least to stay out of jail!
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    Apr 29 2012: I believe that school, as currently done in the US (with few exceptions) is NOT for the purpose of learning. Rather it serves the purpose of producing "good" employees. That being the case your choice is not whether to conform (or "fit-in"), but what do you want for yourself in life. If you want to be a "good" employee then you need to conform. If you want to be who you really are then conforming is a mis-direction.
  • Apr 29 2012: I believe:
    The personality matters. For some the inner perspective is the preferred source of confidence, for others it is the outer perspective. Organising groups usually is like how a stream flows, the people will always follow their own perceived path of least resistance. It may not seem the case to others, or the individual, but the subconscious knows and that will influence individual decisions.

    Fitting in does exist: it is one of the 5 'moral' pillars Haidt discusses.
    In my opinion: The question should possibly organise around how one serves ingroup 'morality' with the least compromise on the more important moralities and freedom.
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    Apr 29 2012: there is a common misconception about the meaning of "fitting in". most people think its going through bullying and tedious routines of trying to please ur new peers, i think fitting in should be considered as a process of finding your place in the new environment. like in school, there are naughty kids groups, normal average kids groups and the very smart and brilliant kids. unfortunately most kids prefer to be accepted in the naughty group because it is more cool, fun less geeky and pleasant thus having to go through hell to be accepted while they actually belong to a different group, fitting in simply means finding the right new friends . not many people have mastered this craft.
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    Apr 29 2012: To me "Fitting in" has always been the social equivalent of selling your soul in order to make others around you feel better about themselves. In business however, it's a requirement, as the power mongers "kill" those who don't. It's why I have to take a bath after work.
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    Apr 28 2012: I think "fitting in" can be a cancer to oneself and the people of an environment if it causes a person to change their sense of self for a group that's not working together toward a common goal. I believe attempting to fit in should be a total learning experience and not an instant transformation.
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    Apr 28 2012: Agreed. To make the two exclusive things all inclusive in all our dealings means ' Fitting in' :))
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      Apr 28 2012: Are the four horses behind you spelling "COM"?
  • Apr 26 2012: Authenticity with regard to personalities is an invented concept that we use to label those who appear different. In fact, we all learn through imitation; nature provides little in the way of originality. As a result we learn to be different by piecing together ourselves from what we see and learn from others(first from family and then the world at large). So for anyone to celebrate his individuality is really to celebrate the product of society not a person's unique efforts. Thus we are all fitting in whether we like it or not. Even in our strongest stints of feeling like an individual, we are certainly still conforming in some way. So it is true individualism that does not exist, not fitting in.
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    Apr 26 2012: I've been bullied countless times by different social groups every time I have tried to "fit in." honestly, it doesn't really reflect someone's true individuality if they have to go to a group of people for a certain personality or personal style. Teenagers nowadays lack self confidence and need other people to make them feel 'accepted.' As for myself, I am proud to be unique and do not need other's influence to make my own decisions.
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      Apr 27 2012: The ONLY way I got ahead in life was to get away from the madening crowd and do things my way. Damm the bullies and full speed ahead!
  • Apr 26 2012: Fitting in is important in any environment or social setting however, I feel one must do so without loosing his/her uniqueness that makes them each an individual. Fitting in and getting along allows one to express their uniqueness and to bring forth and try new ideas that others in the group may not have thought of in the past. If we all conform to what others have set as a standard, then we have lost the intrigue of individualism and creativity ultimately suffers. Without creativity, the group becomes stagnant and fitting in to that kind of a group only stifles the mind. My view is certainly there is a need to fit in, but still be yourself and contribute to the group rather than focusing on being just a part of the group.
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    Apr 26 2012: Personally I feel the need to adapt to each environment, I have a strong leadership personality so in certain circumstances I fit in by leading the class discussion, or distributing roles at work. When I am performing my job (STNA) I fit in by being extremely patient and identifying the needs of each individual resident. I feel like "fitting in" is a necessary skill and one that you must have the ability to adapt in order to fit the required needs of any given circumstance.
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    Apr 25 2012: Fitting in just depends where u r on the scale of standard deviation if you are out of the standard range you r a deviant. then the scale is adjusted to fill a useful number in the standards field and the rest is deviant or not fitting in.
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    Apr 25 2012: Damm I ate too much always as I thought they were saying "Fatten in" and I just couldn't see the point/blunt end of it.
  • Apr 24 2012: I think from a philosophical viewpoint, one could argue that "fitting in" is a natural trait we all exhibit. It's necessary to avoid social rejection which may damage our Esteem and even threaten us physically. I believe most of us exhibit subtle forms of this social conformity in our everyday lives whether we are aware of it or not.

    Of course, it can be taken to the extreme and is detrimental to the well-being of the individual. This may be where we start losing ourselves to the group mentality. An example may be the elitist cliques in high school where everyone practically acts the same, wears the same clothes, and even talk the same. They may be perceived as the climax of the social ladder, (perhaps only because that's how they are perceived!), but in fact are only there because they represent the ideal "socially cool" student the closest.
  • Apr 18 2012: Just so that you know, a person's philosophy is developed through experiences, otherwise their philosophy is baseless and indefensible.

    The idea of "fitting in" should be considered for what it is (merely an act of survival) and acted upon carefully (preferably staying within one's values) with consideration and respect for oneself and others.

    To one extreme, some people want to "fit in" so badly they will sell their soul to be accepted. As we all know this usually does not end well. Therefore, trying to "fit in" for the sake of fitting in is ridiculous and destructive.

    On the opposite end, someone taking an extreme "individualist" approach without any regard for those around them is just as ridiculous and destructive. What good does it do to alienate others? Or, how can a person learn anything if they are always on the outside?

    As children we start our journey in life. Our environment begins to mold us creating a potential place in society. Life's experiences will continue to evolve who we are, and our passions will drive what we do. In my opinion, a person who is only concerned about fitting in will wander in life's wilderness without ever finding out who they are.

    What I tell people about raising my two girls is, "My job, as a parent, is to give them the tools to hopefuly do whatever they want to do without stepping on someone's throat in the process."

    As far as I am concerned everyone knows right from wrong at a basic level, but not everyone has the strength to do what is right. There are no excuses for what we do, only redemption.
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    Apr 18 2012: Conformity and "like-ness" are very much something people do instinctively. "Fitting in" or CHOOSING to not "Fit in" however takes a bit more of human reasoning to figure out.

    I would think that you should perhaps learn from the group but never lose one's self in it. I don't think it's a good twist of evolution to make it so that when everyone jumps off a bridge you should follow.
  • Apr 17 2012: Fitting in sucks. We are supposed to be living in a free society, yet if you do not conform (in general sense) your life will become difficult. Obviously I mean freedom flexibility as long as no harm is done to people and society by your actions. You have to "fit in" to survive. If you don't "fit in" to certain dynamics you won't get hired. If you don't "fit in" to certain cultural dynamics you will have difficulty in finding friends or relationships. Bias, prejudice, subjectivity exists in all social interactions (at least on a subconscious level) and these processes impact behavior leading to acceptance or disapproval etc. We cannot just "be ourselves" since we must fit in many cases to function in society. Don't get me wrong, it isn't all bad, but it is what it is (Unless you move to an island and live in isolation).
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    Apr 17 2012: I think it's important to 'fit in' as long I don't lower my standards or go against my values and beliefs.

    In the workplace I believe that one must fit in with the organization. This enhances job satisfaction. if its not a good fit then get out of it.
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    Apr 17 2012: Christopher..philosophy even says "Ëxtreme of anything is bad" we must try and fit in our associated organizations while still existing to be what we are.. such balancing situation cn't hurt much !
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    Apr 17 2012: I enjoy philosophical approaches to life's problems. I don't always get the result I would have chosen, but then, life is like a box of chocolates: sometimes you get tasty soft centers, and sometimes you get nuts.

    So what are my two basic philosophical questions?

    1. What if everyone did it? 2. What if nobody did it? Then I let my imagination solve for the best answer regarding the action.

    "Fitting in" assumes a group environment. Not fitting in can cause the group to be uncomfortable. Is this important? It is to the group. Is being an 'individualist' just another way of saying "being selfish" or "being self-centered?"

    Sometimes the individual should give up his right to do what he wants, just to be polite. Is being polite important? It is to some members of the the group, not to others. Maybe there is a temporary group, such as in an elevator. Should the individual 'fit in?' It is only for a minute. So is it OK to smoke in an elevator?

    Process #1, what if everybody in the elevator is a smoker, and they know it, and so they all smoke. They leave the elevator and all the people who get into the elevator next, are not smokers. All of them are made uncomfortable by the smoke and smell in the elevator. Does it matter to the smokers? Should it matter?

    My process #1 result is that it is not a good thing to smoke in an elevator, even if all the people in the elevator are at that moment smokers. If all the people in the elevator are not smokers, it is even more important to not smoke. Since it is not possible to know if all the people in an elevator are smokers, the best choice is to never smoke in an elevator.

    I have already determined that making people uncomfortable is not a good thing. So the question of 'fitting in' can easily be determined by asking whether your NOT 'fitting in' will cause others to be uncomfortable. If your 'individuality' is NOT causing anyone pain or suffering, then go for it. If you 'stink' maybe you should go it alone.
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    Apr 15 2012: By doing what ?
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    Apr 13 2012: I think "fitting in" means connecting to the various parts of your life that you travel through each day

    It's the ability to relate to others, to situations, to circumstances by employing your intellect, your personal experiences, empathy, and natural curiosity about the world. Being an individualist does not mean you don't "fit in"; it means you approach each encounter on your own terms.
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    Apr 13 2012: On the hierarchy of needs isn't a sense of belonging somewhere low down, in other words to reach self-actualization we must (according to Maslow) belong somewhere first ? If we take this theory then YES we must belong or as you say 'fit in' to some extent somewhere. I think people (me included) make the best to fit ACROSS work and personal lives, sort of like a Venn Diagram which covers many zones. I don't know of anyone who 'fits' neatly into one category and indeed believe that's the great thing about the human race, billions of individuals trying to get along. I do think that given the diversity and limitless permutations of an individual that it's a miracle anything works as well as it does. Some conform more than others and are happy to fit in, just like some cultures support individualism and some don't. Belonging is important but must be balanced with an authentic sense of self. Something which some people I know achieve and some do struggle with. It seems an interesting paradox that those wishing to 'fit in' move further away from who they really are. I say this to the children I teach, be true to yourself, and if you're still working that out...that's ok too.
  • Apr 11 2012: To fit in with the group? To be accepted by your peers? To have allies? To be gregarious? Is this your aim?
    When in the school setting focus on the academic content to be learned.
    Develop a student-mentor relationship with your teachers.
    Be your own self. Be the shining star of integrity and honesty, then others will be attracted to you and appreciate you for your character and not a false image of yourself.