Violation of Norm: Animated Conversation with Oneself

Violation of Norm: Animated Conversation with Oneself

 Norms refers to the acceptable behavior within a social set up.  Norms are thus rules that govern the conduct of individuals within a society.  Norms are a guide on how an individual must carry himself within the society.  The violation of norms can result to questionable stares from the rest of the public. It can also result to the society ignoring you. For this assignment, I chose to violate a social norm and see how the public will react. I chose to spend the afternoon on the streets having an animated conversion with myself. The norm is that one should engage in conversation with another person.

A conversation between two or more persons is called a dialogue. It is the societal norm that individuals converse with others. Sharing of the day’s experience with oneself thus looks out of the ordinary.  Instances of monologue are also considered normal. I, however, decided to take the monologue a step higher from normal and make it animated. The conversation would not thus pass as a reflection of events to anyone, but a dialogue.

I walked at least ten blocks back and forth having a serious conversation about how my day was.  The street was the ideal location as I would meet many pedestrians. The main street was ideal because it was busy. People were walking up and down engaged in their activities and errands. The location for the experiment was thus perfect. I would be a distraction to the pedestrians passing by, and thus I will manage to capture their reactions; verbal and non-verbal. The timing was also perfect as in the afternoon many people are either breaking from work and students are coming from school.

Prior to engaging in the activity, I was nervous and at the same time excited. Nervous as to how the people on the streets may take the act I present them. Similarly, I was excited as this was an experiment I had no prior experience.  On the experiment day, I put on my best attire and stepped out on the streets. I began to converse with myself on how I woke up late, got caught up in traffic and almost missed my assessment test in the morning. I felt silly talking to myself as I looked insane. A passerby would have been forgiven for imagining that I was talking to him.  The conversation was so animated that I would even crack a joke and laugh. I did this for approximately one hour.  After the experiment, I could not help but laugh as I visualized myself on the streets talking to nobody. However, I was satisfied that I elicited the reaction I expected from the public.

The reaction from the passersby ranged from amusement to bewilderment. Some passerby’s were amazed that I was engaged in a heated conversation with myself. The conversation was so real except for the fact that I was the listener and the speaker. I would narrate an even such as waking up quite late, then I would pose and react as though am the listeners. Some pedestrians gave me a curious look as they exchanged glances over what they were witnessing.  Others began to discuss the predicament they are witnessing pondering what was wrong with me.

Some pedestrians were bewildered and could not hide their shock over the animated conversation I was having with myself. Others thought that I was losing my mind due to the everyday pressures. Others appeared concerned and approached me in an effort to distract me from the conversation. However, I was relentless and acted as though they had distracted me from an extremely serious conversation with my friends.  It was clear that some passerby’s related by animated conversation to their religious affiliation. The openly commented that I may be possessed by evil spirits and thus require divine intervention.


The experiment helped me realize how much the society dictates what is normal from what is not normal. The society believes that a normal person engages in conversation with others and not with himself.  It was clear the passerby’s perceived the animated conversation a violation of the norm. They perceived that something was amiss. I was either seeing imaginary people, or I was possessed with spirits. Others thought I was insane as the animated conversation was abnormal. Personally, I learned that my everyday actions are partly driven by the informal pressures of the society.

For instance, one puts on clothes because the society stipulates that walking naked is unacceptable behavior.  The society thus has rules that dictate to man how he should behave. The norms thus guarantee organization and harmony in the society.  The assignment made me realize how deep social norms are entrenched in the society. None of the pedestrian saw my animated conversation with myself as normal and openly expressed their concern over my mental health. The societal norm holds that a conversation is a discussion between two or more persons. Anything different is a norm violation.

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