Saturday, January 5, 2013

Social Boundaries


I love that commercial about Las Vegas where a woman finally meets up with her friends and they give her a look of disgust and then she leaves. Then the woman finds her friends again at a bar/lounge and and everyone there stops and looks at her as if everyone there knows she did something wrong. Finally, the same woman is outside one of the walkways on the strip here in Vegas and all of the crowds on the walkway move away from her as the woman says (I am paraphrasing) "I'm not going to tweet anymore!" Love those what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas commercials.

But really this particular commercial brings up a huge point about creating proper social boundaries. We live in a society where social boundaries are crossed constantly, especially with the rise of social media. Each day people bombard social media sites with either extreme viewpoints or random lines of irrelevant and meaningless thoughts. And in many cases social media is becoming social therapy as many people are finding it easier and easier to express their innermost negative feelings about themselves and others. The same can be said for individuals who exhibit those same behaviors in their offline life with other people. All of these behaviors are examples of a lack of understanding of social boundaries. 

Regardless of the setting, the underlying theme seems to be posting or saying things to create a reaction and not for serving a purposeful and positive social interaction. And the greatest kickback for this behavior is the consequences of that behavior. If you hang around people who are socially immature, engage in disrespectful banter or who feel convicted to tell their personal business without filter or worse your personal business then you should accept that your reputation will be greatly damaged. While it is certainly important to identify and understand socially undesirable behaviors it is even more important for everyone to understand and accept the consequences of not having social boundaries. A consistent lack of social boundaries online and offline can lead to you becoming a social outcast just like the lady in that Vegas commercial.

The great thing though is that you have the power to control how you are perceived both online and offline. There are two simple ways to do this: 

1) Stop and think before you post online or say certain things in person to people. Be thoughtful in how you represent yourself always.

2) Take a social inventory of the people and experiences in your life. Are you surrounding yourself with people and experiences that are in line with proper social boundaries/social etiquette? I encourage anyone reading this to take this challenge. I know it has been an enlightening experience for me to go through. 

Thanks for reading this blog entry and I hope it helps out anyone struggling with social boundaries.

Dr. D
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