Writing Prompts: Analyze Human Behavior in Specific Settings

There are a number of possible scenarios here, and the site itself suggests looking at how we respond to disasters, but I want to take a more nuanced view. I want to look at how our behaviour changes, in accordance with who we are with, and where we are with them.

As a broad example, our behaviour around our spouse might change between private behaviour, and public behaviour. The sinister element to this is when someone is nice and kind to their partner in public, and cruel and vindictive in private. A ‘good’ example might be along the lines of a couple who are particularly touchy-feely in private, but tone it down in public.

For myself, I know I behave differently with different people. I can be quiet and reserved with some groups of friends, and louder and, ah, sillier, with others. With my wife, I am generally quite relaxed, whereas if I were among some relatives, I might feel the need to present a slightly more formal version of myself.

Here’s some food for thought. Every single person who knows you, has a different version of you in their minds, and that well be influenced by how you behave in different ways with different people. Someone who is very ‘proper’ at work, and who keeps their colleagues at arms length, might come across as stiff and stuffy, yet they might be a laugh-a-minute, life of the party person with a group of old school mates. These two separate groups will have distinctly different opinions of the same person, and might be unable to comprehend how different their companion is, to how their mind’s eye perceives them.

I suspect we all behave a bit differently, and react a bit differently, to different people, in different situations. It might so subtle, that we don’t even realise we’re doing it. It might even be instinctive, a reflection of our primal need to fit into any given social group. I know the scenario said to look a specific scenario, so let’s take a closer look at the brief.

The reaction of Argentina as a nation to winning the World Cup shows how human beings respond to moments of sheer elation, and I’d sooner look at something like that, over a terrifying disaster. The shared joy, the ecstasy shared among complete strangers, during a moment that lifted a nation, was lovely to see, and a demonstration that positive moments can bring people together.

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