Social Behavior

Definition of Social Behavior

Social behavior is what we do when we’re with other people. Think about it as the actions and reactions that happen when we’re surrounded by friends, family, or just people we meet during the day. It’s like when you nod and smile at someone walking by or when you offer your seat on a bus to someone who might need it more.

Another way to look at social behavior is to consider it like a set of guidelines, unwritten but widely understood, that guide how we interact in different settings. These guidelines can be different depending on where we are—like at school, there might be rules about raising hands before speaking, while at home, we have different ways of asking for things we want. When we follow these guidelines, society functions smoothly because everyone has an idea of the expected behaviors.

Types of Social Behavior

Just as there are many people, there are many types of social behavior:

  • Cooperative behavior: Occurs when we work together toward a common goal, respecting and supporting each other in the process.
  • Altruistic behavior: Happens when we act selflessly, helping others without expecting anything in return.
  • Antisocial behavior: Is when someone acts in a way that is harmful or unfriendly to others and can disrupt harmony in society.
  • Assertive behavior: Means expressing ourselves confidently and respectfully, standing up for our rights without infringing on others’.
  • Aggressive behavior: This is a hurtful way of expressing oneself that involves hostility or even violence, often leading to conflict and distress.

Examples of Social Behavior

Here are some clear examples of social behavior and why they fit the category:

  • Sharing your lunch with a classmate who forgot theirs demonstrates altruistic behavior; you’re putting their needs on par with or even before your own, showing kindness without expecting a reward.
  • When your sports team creates plays together, that’s cooperative behavior. Each member understands their roles and trusts one another, which is crucial for achieving the common goal of winning the game.
  • Arguing with a referee in a disrespectful manner is aggressive behavior. It displays hostility and can escalate tensions, negatively influencing the mood of the game.
  • Standing up in a town hall meeting and respectfully stating your opinion on community issues showcases assertive behavior. You’re able to share your thoughts while listening and valuing what others have to say.
  • Disregarding a teacher’s instructions is an example of antisocial behavior as it shows a lack of respect for authority and can disrupt the learning environment for everyone.

Why is Social Behavior Important?

Understanding and practicing good social behavior is crucial because it’s like glue holding society together. These behaviors are the ones that shape our interactions and make sure things run smoothly, much like the rules of a game keep the play fair and fun for everyone.

If you think about a library, the unspoken agreement is to be quiet so that everyone can concentrate. This is social behavior in action—it ensures respect for the space and the people using it. Similar rules apply in almost every situation, from waiting in line at the store to taking turns at a playground.

Good social skills also go a long way in building strong relationships, succeeding in school or working environments, and generally being a positive part of your community. They help us navigate challenges, resolve conflicts, and coexist peacefully with a diverse range of people.

Origin of Social Behavior

The way we behave socially has been developing for a very long time. Long before technology, humans realized the benefits of working together to overcome challenges. We’re wired to seek companionship and support from others, which has been essential for our survival and progress.

This social learning starts very early in life. As children, we watch and imitate the people around us. This is why role models are important—they show us how to interact in healthy and cooperative ways.


Determining what is considered acceptable social behavior can be complex because customs and expectations vary across cultures and can change over time. Debates around these topics are important as they encourage us to reflect on our actions and strive to find a common ground that benefits everyone in society.

In today’s digital age, these discussions include behavior in online environments as well. The etiquette for interacting on the internet isn’t always clear, leading to disagreements about what is appropriate in digital communications.

Related Topics

Various fields are closely linked to social behavior, each offering insight into different aspects of how we interact:

  • Social norms: These are the shared expectations and rules that guide behavior in a group. They help us predict how others will act and how we should respond.
  • Etiquette: Etiquette refers to the formal rules of courteous behavior that are more about manners and are particularly important in specific situations like dining or in professional settings.
  • Psychology: This is the study of the mind and behavior, exploring how we think, feel, and act, including the social aspects of our actions.
  • Sociology: Sociology examines society at a broader level, studying how groups of people interact, including social structures, relationships, and collective behaviors.
  • Cultural studies: Cultural studies look into how our culture shapes our beliefs and actions, affecting everything from our personal choices to our social dynamics.


Summing everything up, social behavior is deeply embedded in our daily lives. It plays a fundamental role in building friendships, collaborating with others, and maintaining a harmonious society. While our understanding of it may differ, it’s something we all engage in and contribute to, striving for an inclusive and positive environment.

Every interaction we have—be it a conversation, a group project, or any social gathering—is an opportunity to demonstrate social behavior. The better we are at engaging positively with those around us, the more smoothly society functions. Next time you find yourself among others, consider your behavior and the potential impact it has, not just on you but on the community as a whole.