Finding the answer to what is a social consequence isn’t easy. That’s because the answer is multi-faceted and complex that spreads through different areas of our personal and social life. To give this question a brief and easy answer we’ll consider Newton’s Third Law.

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“For Every Action, There Is an Equal and Opposite Reaction”

Similarly, for any action you or another person takes, there is going to be a certain social consequence that affects others. On a micro level, the social consequence will only affect you, your family or friends. On a macro level, social consequences are felt by entire communities, cities or even countries.

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It also depends on the kind of action you’re taking. Our society, friends and family tend to reward positive social actions, but it also ties in with the circle you have. Social consequences derived from charity work and helping the poor are considerably different from those derived from stealing and committing crimes.

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Different Kinds of Social Consequences

The diversity of social consequences is what makes them so complex and difficult to understand. This makes the answer to what is a social consequence equally complex as well. Social consequences factor in both tangible and intangible qualities.

Based on this, there are two major types of social consequences that you can experience:

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Micro Level Social Consequences

Most people usually focus on the social consequences which can directly impact their lives. Micro level social consequences are also the ones that are self-contained. They start with and end with the person.

These can also make a difference in the community but not on a city wide scale. It’s usually a small action that has consequences which are limited to one area.

Due to this reason, micro level social consequences can be divided into the following minor groups.

Personal Social Consequences

These relate to social consequences that affect your personal relationships with friends or family members. This happens when our actions earn us acceptance, love, admiration and satisfaction in our lives. We’re able to improve or worsen our interactions with them based on this factor.

From falling in love to developing lifelong friendships and bonds, personal social consequences can be very rewarding. That’s why they play a bigger role in our life.

Societal Social Consequences

Societal social consequences are related to our interactions with our community. Most people who are part of religious groups, community programs and more are reliant on social consequences. Social consequences here can also make a difference in your social standing.

You can either be the worst neighbor or be the Good Samaritan who helps their neighbors in everything they do.

Not everyone cares or pays attention to this which can result in being a social outcast or a social pariah. However, those who are looking for acceptance usually interact in a way to make a positive impression.

Macro Level Social Consequences

Social actions on a macro level are usually considered by people who’re studying or conducting research. Sociologists, biologists, environmental scientists etc. all have to consider the social consequences of humanity as a whole. Macro level social consequences are the ones where large groups, communities or cities have contributed towards something.

Not all such large scale acts are good. Other elements that come under this term are usually related to societal evils such as alcoholism, obesity, crime rate and more.

Social consequences can be of two types based on the kind of action a person is taking

Positive and Negative Social Consequences

Thinking back to Newton’s Law, there are going to be two types of reactions to each action – either good or bad. This also applies to social consequences where the good and the bad can be thought of as two sides of the same coin.

Based on the kind of action undertaken, there are negative and positive social consequences.

Positive Social Consequences

These are social consequences where the outcome is positive. It contributes towards helping to improve your relationships, building better friendships and also making a positive impact on others. Consider this scenario:

Suppose you’re at school and you decide to talk to a new student. That’s a positive social consequence. You now have a new friend, plus you made their life easier at school.

Similarly, suppose your mom has asked you to do a chore and you finished it neatly and better than her expectations. That’s also a positive social consequence. It makes your mom trust you, rely on you and appreciate your efforts.

On a larger scale, a form of positive social consequence can be considered mentoring programs. These allow one to reach out to others, help them overcome their issues and also refresh their own skills. It’s a win-win situation and everyone walks away from these programs having learned something that can be applied to society.

Negative Social Consequences

These social consequences relate to when the outcome is negative. It can worsen your standing in the society, ruin relationships and just be overall unpleasant for others to deal with. To get a better understanding of this, try to consider the following scenario:

Suppose you bullied a student in school. This can have negative consequences such as requiring you to go to detention. Even if you don’t get in trouble with the school management, other students will know you’re a bully and try to avoid your company.

Similarly, if your mom asked you to do a chore but you didn’t finish it and show no remorse at having not done the task, you will make your mom mad. She will also not think that you’re reliable and see you in a negative light.

When applied on a large scale, negative social consequences can be seen by those who break the rules of society. Anyone who commits a crime not only gets jail time but once they are out of jail, they will find it hard to get a job, find lodgings or benefit from other things in society.

There’s a Fine Line Though

This might have made it easier for you to understand just what is a social consequence but there is a certain gray area you have to consider here too.

To understand how this works, let’s consider a group of friends where a certain action is considered the norm. Suppose you’re with friends who all drink recreationally. So, you start to drink with them too. Positive consequences you experience here will mean approval from your peers, social connection and inclusivity with your group.

However, the side effects of drinking might end up being dismissed. It’s only when you turn into an alcoholic that you start to realize the negative consequences. Your addiction makes it difficult to hold a job, have good relationships with others and it can even start to affect your health.

Based on these factors, you can see that social consequences are in motion all around us, either tangibly or intangibly. Plus, if you become aware of them, you can then make more educated decisions which will be better for you and everyone involved.

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