Conformity: Being Liked vs. Being Right

Different . . . just like everybody else. / Pexels


Somehow, The Ramones stood the test of time in the punk rock world. They were there to raise the punk rock banner and were there to help tear it down.

The desire to be liked and the desire to be right are often in contrast with one another. In society, the counter-culture often grows and becomes mainstream.

Vinyl records were mainstream . . .

then became a niche thing to collect . . .

then became trendy.

2nd generation vinyl snobs scoffed at the newcomers, and older generations of record collectors laughed at all of them.

The Desire to be Right

When the desire to be right is strong, our thoughts and opinions are rarely our own. The thoughts and opinions of others often act as frameworks for our own worldview.

We perceive a certain set of thoughts and opinions to be the correct thoughts and opinions and adopt them as our own. We also desire correct information but often depend on others for the information we desire. In doing so, we subject ourselves to informational social influence.

The Desire to be Liked

Humans also often have a desire to fit in. Society views a certain level of agreeableness, or “going along to get along,” as expedient and better for society. The individual often views fitting in as the better option because fitting in means acceptance and less contention.

If this conformity leads to acceptance and acceptance is a social currency, acceptance means survival. An individual that alters his or her behaviors to meet expectations of a group is practicing normative social influence.

The Conflict

The desire to be liked and the desire to be right are often in contrast with one another. Collecting records for the sake of collecting records is probably not as prevalent as record collectors would have you believe.

Thoughts and opinions are rarely organic.

Did the collector buy that first pressing of Dark Side of the Moon because it is Pink Floyd, or because it is a first pressing?

It seems as if we have to sacrifice one for the other. Being right might mean being disliked, and being liked might mean being wrong. If we are honest with ourselves, it is very difficult to be both.

Strength to Endure

This might be the reason punk rock can simultaneously seem mainstream and counter-culture. It is a hard thing to do, but there is political currency in being both mainstream and counter-culture. Similarly, there is political currency in being both right and liked.

The Ramones had tremendous pop sensibilities but never really lost their punk rock roots. It is questionable whether or not they ever really became mainstream, in the truest sense of the word. They walked an invisible line between being liked and being right and never really seemed to conform.

Maybe they should have started a political party.