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Common Practice

 

Techniques > Conversation techniques > Excuses > Common Practice

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

If you are accused of doing something that is in some way wrong, point out that it is common practice.

Say that it is done or said by by many other people. Show that it is the norm rather than the exception.

If you know people who do it (or even might do it), then name them. If this would embarrass the other people in a way that would reflect badly on you, then be more vague.

Example

Everybody does it! Jen and Sam were only doing it yesterday.

That view is so out of date. It's the norm nowadays.

Come on -- get with the times. This really is commonplace.

Discussion

The rules and values guiding much of what we do are not written down, but come from social norms. A number of these change slowly over time, starting perhaps as a form of identity ritual in a group that wants to show that it is 'different'. This then gets copied by others who want to be like the group, and so it spreads. 

Children, who are still learning the rules of life, quickly learn that doing what others do is important if you want to get accepted by a group of friends. They also find that 'everybody does it' it makes a good excuse with their parents, who are not up to date with the latest teenage activity, and who also do not want their children to be left out (or appear old-fashioned themselves).

See also

Social Norms, Theories about friendship, Use of Language, Values

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