In every culture we have social norms that we follow and believe, like when walking into a job interview we are expected to wear certain clothes that look professional and to act a certain way that is different than how we act around our friends. And when we break those social norms they become violations, this is the expectancy violations theory. When people do something to us that goes against what we see as being normal.
I’ve experienced this as both the person experiencing the violation and having done a violation. When I was a senior in high school, I was a part of the Cranberry court. The Cranberry court is one of the things that my town does to spread the knowledge of the Cranberry Festival that we have every year, and what makes this so special is that when you become a member you are an ambassador to Bandon. As an ambassador we had to go to events in Coos County promoting the festival. While at one of these events, the Coos County Fair, we were walking around and talking to people and trying to sell buttons that we had. We ran into two members of the army that were working a booth and we started talking to them about the festival and who we were. While talking with them we had the expectation that they would be nice and willing to hear us out, but we were proven wrong when they started being rude to us and arguing about everything we talked about.
However, we also ended up violating what they were expecting of us, the way we talked about the festival was very upbeat, and we were happy and excited, which to them sounded like we freshman in high school and not seniors. When we had told them that we were seniors, one guy had told us that we needed to prove how we talk and to try and sound more like we are going to start college and not high school. We replied back that we would try for the next, but what we couldn’t get out of our heads was that he had said that and he didn’t understand that how we were acting was who we are as people, but then again the way they acted towards us was not what we expected and had to understand that that’s just how they have to act when in uniform.
This experience shows that we all have different expectations of people we meet and when they meet them it can be really insulting and we can be out off and that impression of that person or people can be kept in our heads and that’s how we are going to expect everyone like that to act. And it may surprise you when someone breaks the expectation and social norm you created.