Changes in Human Behavior According to Situation

Humans have the ability to adapt, depending on the situation at hand. This is often very apparent in children, due to their desire for acceptance. Behavior in social situations may be different than that of the work place. There is also the new realm, the internet, where people have the option of remaining anonymous. All of these situations call for different etiquette. Humans pick up on cues from others when they are not sure how to act in a certain situation. There are a few key events that cause a shift in personality portrayal.

Reading Cues

The reading of various cues allows for people to figure out how to act in new situations. For example, if someone has never been to a formal dinner and was not prepared, they may not know what to do. Humans naturally observe and respond accordingly in these types of situations. You can look at the body language of other guests and discern things like where to place your hands, how to stand, and how to greet people. A person in this situation may also listen for appropriate conversation subjects and forms of speech.


When individuals start a new job, they often adopt a more formal behavior. This often continues to a certain extent even after being at a job for a long time. A work environment is often referred to as professional. Changes here revolve around survival instincts. Work provides money for food and shelter. Most individuals are not willing to compromise their health and safety to behave badly. Language is usually cleaner and more formal in the work environment. Personal clues to a genuine personality may be covered up to make people think a certain way. These clues may be both physical and mental. Tattoos and eccentric hairstyles may be avoided or covered up. Clothing may be very conservative as well. Conversation topics are often superficial and non-confrontational.


Home is usually the place where the most natural behavior comes out. There is rarely modification needed around immediate family. Home is where you can be yourself. Conversations can be about anything that interests you, and language does not have to be formal. Slang is often used at home. Body form is usually casual and rules are not followed. You can lay down on the couch or put your feet up in a chair. You are also free to express opinions and argue when the opportunity presents itself. Home is a place where pretending and alterations of behavior are not necessary.


It is possible for one person to have several different social groups, or activities. The people in these groups may all see a different side of you. A moms group may require a more proper language form with refrain from cussing and controversial subjects. Sports teams for kids may offer an opportunity for children to find out where they fit in on a team. You may notice that some take over and lead, while others are more submissive. This forming of a hierarchy often appears in most social groups.

Church groups, school clubs, and support groups all mandate a different side of your personality to come forward. Busy lives can leave many feeling a bit like Jekyll and Hyde. Social groups always have a person that likes to take charge and be noticed. There are also quiet individuals that prefer to stay in the background. These type of people may also prefer smaller groups or one on one meetings with friends. In social groups, humans act in a way they deem necessary to achieve their personal goal. Some people strive for popularity, while others manage to maintain their unique personality better.


The internet brings a new realm for individuals to express themselves in. There can be a huge difference between who you think you are talking to online and who is actually behind the keyboard. People tend to get much bolder when they initiate conversations online. The anonymous environment gives a false sense of bravery. There is a lot of debate online, and opinions are freely given. These same people would not be likely to say the same things in public. The outspoken nature of internet guests does not usually comply with a person’s true personality. It may, however, represent their inner feelings. Social media is also used to portray a perfect life with pictures and statements, while this may not be case at all. The internet offers many ways to hide your true self.

Culture often mandates that humans act a certain way in many situations. We usually learn this as we grow up in a certain culture. There are socially acceptable ways to behave in classrooms, stores, and at work. Some people change very little from home to their social group, while others put on a completely different persona. Cultural norms, goals, and personal preference all play a part in how we act in different situations.

Editor's Picks

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