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The Optimal Distinctiveness Theory

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    Oliver Burkeman, writing for The Guardian, on the phenomenon of when something gets so much praise, or hype, and then you end up avoiding the praised thing expressly because of how much everyone else seems to like it:

    So what’s going on? One explanation is what psychologists call “optimal distinctiveness theory” – the way we’re constantly jockeying to feel exactly the right degree of similarity to and difference from those around us. Nobody wants to be exiled from the in-group to the fringes of society; but nobody wants to be swallowed up by it, either. In toddlerhood and teenagerhood, this manifests as a bloody-minded refusal to do what we’re told, precisely to show we can disobey our parents. Perhaps it never entirely goes away.

    I’ve been reading up on the optimal distinctiveness theory on Wikipedia today and it’s almost funny how well it describes interactions I see in our forums on a daily basis.

  2. Ben Lee

    I drink coffee and dad my kids Supporter

    @Jason Tate

    This must explain your disdain for Taking Back Sunday? It's the hype.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  3. natefoundglory

    Trusted Supporter

    I've been doing this with The National for years for (what I thought was) no reason.
  4. This happened to me with Breaking Bad
  5. After more thinking, I think this happens to me with Game of Thrones and Harry Potter as well. I'm really not that interested in either of them to being with, but if I had a friend or two that was super into it and highly recommended it, I might give either one a shot. But the fact that I'm not super into either of those things to begin with, makes me think that the people that are into it must love it and that it somehow makes the thing I already don't really like, the epitome of that thing.

    Does that make sense to anyone else?
  6. BradBradley


    I just can't get into looking at interactions on the forums.
  7. carlosonthedrums

    Cooler than a polar bear's toenails Prestigious

    Don't do yourself the disservice of missing out on Harry Potter because of preconceived notions. I also happen to think GoT is amazing, but I'll only make a case for HP here because that story is so full of these incredible, transcendent moments that can really bring so much light to your days when you read them. In the midst of this awful shit year that seems to get worse by the passing hour, we can all use a little more light in our lives.
    Penguin and Jason Tate like this.
  8. honkytonk

    Narcissism on narcotics

    I feel like this is what happened with me and Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, Avatar too haha I could probably find like 10+ instances of this in my life if I spent some time thinking about it.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  9. Cody Prestigious

    @honkytonk this is always what I think of when Avatar comes up for any reason. Cracks my whole shit up every time.

    iCarly Rae Jepsen likes this.
  10. Blue cat and army dude.

    That's all I got.
  11. Cody Prestigious

    I forgot about army dude! Nice get.
  12. I know no names and can't name a single line though.
  13. Cody Prestigious

    What about "*glances both ways* Not here." or "I can't do this without you!" One of those has to be in there. I'm calling it good. We win.
  14. Blake Solomon

    Mr. Emeritus Prestigious

    i did this with gaslight anthem and weezer and nirvana, just off the top of my head.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  15. This is why I didn't watch Titanic.