Monday, 28 July 2014

THE BIG DEBATE: STANDING OUT OR BLENDING IN?

We asked readers whether they would rather stand out from the crowd or blend in - and why. We had so many interesting responses we thought it'd make a cool debate! Read on… and then have YOUR say!

Blue says:
Who on earth would argue for blending in? Rather than risk unhappiness whilst protecting yourself from bullies by slowly losing your identity, why don't we… I don't know, stop acting like bullying is totally normal and OK? Stop pretending that the victim should change and not the bully? Some people are actually happy dissolving into the background and some like standing out - and if that's a decision they have made themselves, and they're happy, great. We should be true to who we are…

Sam says:
Well… blending in is what I like. I have so many insecurities with my body and who I am… like lots of teenagers, I suppose! I sometimes feel like people judge me before they know who I am and what I'm like. I am probably one of the quietest girls you'll ever meet, but I do have my unique moments when I'm with my friends (and only with my friends!). If I don't know you or have only just met you, I will be so quiet and I might try to get away from you so I can be by myself. My room is my space, where I can be myself and be BY myself. I hate being the centre of attention or to stand out even the tiniest bit, as I worry that someone might make a joke about my insecurities, or tease me.

Heather says:
I definitely understand your point of view, Sam - I know what it's like to be judged. It's fine to be quiet - there is no ideal personality and often people who choose to stand out can be quite shy as well. That sounds funny, but it's true. Some people who choose to stand out from the crowd do so because they have been teased or bullied and are tired of trying to blend into the background and go un-noticed. We would never judge you as we aren't into stereotypes or picky about who does what. It's a free world! If fitting in is what makes you happy, that's fine - but I have lots of quiet friends who 'stand out' in their own unique ways! I would say that if anyone judges or teases you, do tell someone as it may help to get things in the open.

Sam says:
I understand your view as well, Heather - people have their own reasons for wanting to stand out or fit in. Just because someone is teased doesn't mean they have to suddenly hide away - or stand out - or do anything to change their personality. It's about doing what feels right for you. Many people stay silent about being teased, but I've spoken out about the person who targets me many times, and nothing changes. I have learnt to ignore it and I think I am the better person really for not rising to the bait and replying with something offensive.

Chloe says:
I've been shy most of my life. They say the shy people are the smart people with great ideas and confident people are too confident for their own good, but I don't think it's that simple. Being shy can be a life choice - we are all too scared to say the wrong thing and draw attention to ourselves, so we choose to hide away in the crowd. In life we all play parts; there's the person you are with your friends, the person you are with your family, the person you are with strangers and the person you are when alone. All of these people are part of us! Right now, in my personality, the shy part seems to be most noticeable, but I don't plan to leave it that way. At some point we are all going to have to pull through and be brave; every shy person has a lion inside fighting to get out!

Heather says:
I suppose you could say these things are a life choice, Chloe, because we all have free choice, but some of us just naturally fit one personality type or another. I've been standing out from the crowd from a very young age, and it can mean you are actually targeted for being different. At one point I didn't want to go to school because the bullying was so bad, but it never occurred to me to try to disappear from the radar. I won't change the way I am for others because that's not the way I do things… I just take each day as it comes.

Verity says:
I totally know what you're saying, Chloe - but I can empathise with Heather, too! I'm a bit of an in-between girl myself… it depends who I'm with. Like Sam, if I'm with my friends and I can trust the people around me, I can be talkative and just be myself, but in class, I don't say much at all and keep to myself. People act differently according to the circumstances. If I trust people I am very open, but if not I am like a closed book  - until the person who wants to open that book makes the effort to get to know me. People say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover and that's true - you don't know someone until you really KNOW them, and once you do, those first impressions, the stereotype, the cover of the book if you like - that's thrown away, and the person beneath can be a different person altogether. So if a person is really shy, get to know them… the chances are they're hiding their real self away until they know and trust you more.

Blue says:
Verity (cool name!) I totally agree that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Because of my hair, make up and clothes people expect me to be loud and outgoing, but I'm actually an introvert who's happier curled up with a book and a cat than going out, and I'm only really comfortable with close friends. I don't feel I should have to change my style to fit the shy, retiring stereotype! I may act like a librarian, but if I want to look like a hellraiser, there should be nothing stopping me. Fitting in isn't only for introverts and standing out isn't only for extroverts. we should all wear what we are comfortable in, even if it's not expected for our personality type. I have social anxiety and don't like going out much, but my big army jacket feels like a shield between me and the rest of the world, and that thought calms me down a bit. Personality-wise, I may disappear into the background, but due to my distinctive look, I still have a very strong sense of identity… and that's very important for my self-confidence!

Cathy says:
I love that even though I picked five readers with different personality types, they all found common ground very quickly… and whether they like to fit in or stand out, they argued strongly for everyone's right to do what feels right for THEM. What do YOU think? Are you a stand-out person or a blend-into-the-background girl? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

9 comments:

  1. Sometimes I'm not sure where I lie in the sticking out world. In my school, all the people who stand out just seem to be rude children who mess about in class and have the highest negative record in the year group. To them that's cool. I have always been the shy girl who never talks in class. I had no bad record and the popular people never really paid attention to me. I honestly like blending in. I feel safer from the bullies and not so upfront with the world. But now that I'm really getting recognition for my writing and singing, it gets harder and harder to stay hidden. People around school recognise me and ask me stuff and it feels really good to be known but now that I seem to be getting popular, I feel like I can't stay under cover all the time anymore. Sure being invisible keeps you safe from bullies but not having your voice heard is like trapping yourself in a cage. You can't be free. I think that standing out comes in all different shapes and sizes and you have to decide in yourself how you start breaking out and how far you go with it.

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  2. Stand- out!!!! That's only just ME, YOU are different. Emma :)

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  3. I agree with Verity mostly, my behaviour depends on who I'm with. When I'm with close friends I'm totally crazy and talkative, yet in class I'm quieter (although this can depend on the teacher).

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  4. I prefer to blend in, in a way, since I get embarrassed being the centre of attention as I am very shy. However, I like having a unique personality and am proud of the fact that I don't always follow trends - whether that's fashion, music, slang, behaviour... in that way, I prefer being different, because who wants to be the same? I like that I can be different and unique without being cast out, the centre of attention, or under pressure from others

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  5. stand out! i dont think many people have very long and thick hair that's blonde with huge red streaks, do they? and the streaks are NATURAL. i was born red and then it went blonde. lots of trends are cool, though. i love looms and converse like everyone else, but i have a different kind of high tops which i think is cool because i have never seen anyone else wearing MY shoes. i love colourful skinny jeans too. i have red ones at the moment. but hey, my sister has stripy ones! they are really cool! lucy

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    1. ur style sounds amazing lucy! I love converse too, I literall wear them everyday! Hamdi:)xxx

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  6. I was really a blend into the background type of girl when I was young I wasn't talking to a lot o people and it was really hard for me to make friends. But over the years all the people in my life have changed me and made me a better person. I like to stand out and I became a social butterfly!

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  7. I think a girl should do whats comfortable for her and should make her own decision. If thats standing out or blending in it should not matter. I also agree with Blue, someone may seem like their 'confident' coz there standing out but thats defs not always the case. I think that everyone should respect people for what they are and who they want to be and not judge them coz its there choice not anyone else's. Hamdi:)Xxx

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