Being the Most Generous Giver Gets You Ostracized
Jupiterimages, Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
There are a whole bunch of social faux pas that can turn your peers against you. You could put your keys in the bowl even though you haven't showered for three days, and anyway it's not swingers night until next week. Typically, though, the guy or girl everyone finds most annoying is the one who never contributes -- they don't bring drinks to parties, they "forget" their wallet when you go out, and they ask if anyone has a spare set of keys, because they walked and surely two nights of group loving a month would be fine?
"Also you have to be on top and do all the work."
So by that logic, the person on the other end of that scale -- the one who is paying more than his or her fair share -- is the most loved. Wait, did we just use the word "logic" there? Uh oh ...
But Actually ...
Don't get us wrong, people do hate the non-contributors. But they've got just as big a rage boner for those who contribute more than everyone else, even if everyone involved ends up better off as a result.
Sociologists at Washington State University did an experiment to test how people reacted to outliers who were either stingier or more altruistic than average. Participants were told they were part of a group of six and sat in front of a computer to take part in a turn-based test (the rest of the group were really just computer simulations). They were given points they would later be able to cash in for the chance to win a gift card, and asked to decide how much to contribute to a community pot. When everyone was done making voluntary donations, the pot would be doubled and split equally. In other words, if most people were kind, everyone would be better off, but one stingy asshole could game the system by donating nothing and ending up with more. So kind of basic Game Theory, right?
Vico Images/Alin Dragulin/FogStock/Getty
This person will be the same one who asks, "The card says 'from all of us,' right?"
In the second round, people were allowed to spend some of their points to punish another member by taking theirs away. Unsurprisingly, the subjects tended to punish the greedy non-contributor for not playing fair. But people in the experiment also opted to be needlessly horrible when the rogue participant had donated more (and benefited literally everyone).
You can already guess why -- it's the same reason you always see backlash against someone like Bono, who makes a big show of helping starving Africans and reminding us of how much better he is than we are. We want to punish them for showing off. In other words, we have such a strong impulse to force people to conform to the group and punish those who don't make an effort to fit in, that we do it even if "not fitting in" is the equivalent of "making life better for the group overall."
Cindy Shebley/iStock/Getty Images
How else can you explain Crocs?
Stop and think about that for a while, and you might come to the conclusion that humanity is doomed.
Daniel's unsolicited gift to the world is his humor blog, so you're welcome. Alan will overcome his manly inhibitions and be thankful if you follow him on twitter or read his blog.
Always on the go but can't get enough of those sweet, sweet dick jokes? We have an Android app and iOS reader for you to pick from so you never miss another article.
As 2013 draws to a close, be sure to check out Cracked's year in review because, well, we know you don't remember it half as well as you think.
Related Reading: For a look at the best gifts money can buy, click here. Shark-boats are a pretty risk-free present. If you're more interested in avoiding the worst gifts on earth, this is the article to read. Nobody wants novelty presents. And nobody wants these incredibly creepy gifts.