We all are born different, look different, react differently to things and want to be seen differently yet, at some level, each one of us has this strong urge to blend in.
My interactions with people across a cross-section of society during numerous Consumer Home Visits have reinforced this belief that people want to “Blend In yet Stand Out”. The Ryder to that one however, is that no one wants to Stick Out either.
A big part of growing up is the time one spends with friends or a peer group of some sort. It is here, in my opinion that the seeds of this Blend In yet Stand Out philosophy are sown.
You want to listen to music, you play it out loud! You make sure you stand out by being the one who either has the latest releases or the guy who knows all the lyrics or the one who has the coolest “system”. You do not want to be seen as the guy who is unaware, out of touch or as the one with a radically different taste in music (try playing Boyzone out loud in an all boys hostel).
Blending in does not mean not having respect for an individuals choices. You hang-out some guys drink, some do not, some smoke, some others do not. But you definitely do not want to be the guy who throws up after a few or if you do not drink the guy who’s gotta be dropped back early coz Mama’s gonna be wild 😉
It’s not just a guy thing. Not that I am an authority but I’d wager that girls have their own set of what constitutes being a part of the gang and what is seen as not being with it. American diamonds perhaps are one such controversial area (cannot fathom whether they belong to the with it or not category for the life of me, was told once that they are good only if they are not obvious)
We grow up and move on into doing different things but this feeling stays with us. It manifests itself in things we do or things we buy. Take for example cars we all buy cars of our choice (make and model) however when was the last you heard of a friend who bought a yellow or orange or some other bright coloured one. Might like it but won’t buy it coz you do not want to stick out.
This therefore is the essence of what I have chosen to call the “Bollywood Dancers Theory” and it perhaps lies somewhere in the Esteem Needs zone of what Mr. Abraham Maslow talked about.
People inherently want to stand out in the context of their immediate environment
Like a typical Bollywood dance sequence while the protagonists want to express their love to each other by singing and dancing around trees or montage sets they need to be seen as gyrating to the same beat and doing the same steps as a host of other dancers (who appear and disappear as miraculously as the invisible orchestra does) they always wear a different colour. Blending in yet, standing out!