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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

How much of a sheeple are you?

February 19, 2009

Not a sheeple


Everyone wants to be liked. Which makes caring what other people think totally normal. It’s also normal at times to choose to go along with the group just to keep the peace or avoid confrontations. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it makes sense to be agreeable especially if we’re talking about some little thing that really doesn’t matter all that much. But what if the issue does matter to you? Do you still do what they say when it’s not right for you? Do you go along with the crowd just so they’ll like you?

If this sounds familiar you might want to ask yourself, “Am I a sheeple?” In case that’s a new word for you, sheeple are people who act like sheep. They’re most comfortable when following other people’s rules of “acceptable” behavior (what to wear, what to think, etc.). The Golden Rule rule for Sheeple: “Thinking for yourself and being your own person is way too risky! Play it safe. Follow the others.”

Wonder if you’re a sheeple?  Take this quiz and find out:

  1. If people think something is funny, I laugh even if I don’t get the joke. True or False?
  2. If everyone has seen a movie I haven’t seen, I’ll lie and say I saw it. T or F
  3. I hardly ever tell people how I really feel. T or F
  4. I try really hard not to make a fool of myself. T or F
  5. I’d do anything to be more popular.  T or F
  6. I’ve dropped out of an activity I liked because my friends quit. T or F
  7. I worry if about people talking about me. T or F
  8. If someone makes fun of something I’m wearing, I won’t wear it again! T or F
  9. If my friends hate a TV show that I like, I pretend that I hate it too. T or F
  10. I’m never the first to give my opinion. T or F

If you got:

7-10 Ts: You have some strong sheepish tendencies that can prevent you from calling your own shots. You might want to cut loose from the herd every now and then, just to prove to yourself that you are still an individual. You are, aren’t you?

4-6 Ys: You sometimes find it challenging to stand up for yourself so you don’t push it very often. But sometimes you are your own person and it actually feels good.

0-3 Ys: Most of the time you don’t hesitate to think for yourself. Your friends might respect you for being independent and whether you know it or not, you could be inspiring others to think for themselves, too.

If you’re a t(w)een and you took the quiz, I’d love to hear from you. Post any comments or questions below. Or if you’re the parent of a t(w)een, I’d like to hear from you too!

Filed under: Quizzes,Teens — Tags: — Annie @ 10:16 am


  1. Though I’m no longer a teen, I’ve known people who are sheeples and others who are flagrant anti-sheeples. (This is fun. I feel like I’m playing with a new language.)

    I’m trying to remember when I last wrote about the sheeples in my life. It was probably in my journal. A journal makes a great, non-judgmental friend. It’s a great place to rant, process, and find hope.

    Thanks for sharing the concept and the quiz.

    B. Lynn Goodwin
    Click on Journaling for Caregivers and see what you think. =)

    Comment by B. Lynn Goodwin — February 19, 2009 @ 9:06 pm

  2. Interesting idea. I like the quiz a lot. When I took the quiz I found that with questions pertaining to core beliefs and values (voting a certain way in the school election, volunteering to take part in a project even if no one else does, getting good grades even if it’s not cool), I followed my heart regardless of what other people thought. However questions about a more fleeting, surface image (possibly moldy mushrooms on the pizza or wearing my white shirt once my friends decided white shirts were only for big fat losers) then I tended to go with the crowd. It doesn’t mean that much to me to go one way or another and the repercussions (teasing) can be uncomfortable. If everyone laughs at a joke I don’t get I probably won’t laugh but I will likely smile. However if vanilla is my favorite flavor of ice cream and everyone else gets chocolate, them I’m sticking to vanilla.

    Comment by Fayette — February 26, 2009 @ 9:33 am

  3. I’m glad you pointed out those differences, Fayette. Because it’s absolutely true! In some situations it is more challenging to ward off sheepishness than other times. In addition to a visceral reaction (to the suggestion of moldy mushroom) I think our ability to follow your heart… or your values, doing your own thing or whatever you call “thinking for yourself” has a lot to do with:
    1. inborn temperament/personality (Are you the kind of person who needs peer approval a lot, or not so much?)
    2. past experiences (What has being out there with your individuality gotten you in the past?)
    3. the people you’re with (How accepting vs judgmental are they when it comes to people being “different.”)

    Seems like we all have times when it’s easier to go along to get along. And that’s not necessarily a sign of sheepness… or selling out.

    Comment by Annie — February 26, 2009 @ 10:31 am

  4. this is pathetic. the whole test is to see if you do the same as other people around you, but it doesn’t adress motive.

    if you’re in a club with friends for fun, and your friends all leave, your not a sheep if you leave too!

    Comment by no. — March 28, 2009 @ 2:02 pm

  5. Hi “no.” The test was only to help people identify how much (if any) sheeple behavior they tend to have. It doesn’t set out to measure motives. yes, I agree with you, if you are in a club with friends for fun and your friends all leave, then I can see how you might think that fun has left too and so you’d leave. But what if you’re really into whatever the club is about (aside from “fun”). If it’s an after school karate club or art or something else that you’re really interested in and this is the only opportunity you have at the moment to spend time learning more about this interest of yours. Suppose then that your friends leave (because they’re not interested in it)… do you still bail on the club? That might be a measure of how much you value pursuing your own interests (for a small chunk of time each week) vs. following your friends to the exit and possibly giving up your chance to learn more about karate, etc. Personally, I think, in that case, if you follow your friends that shows a bit of sheeple behavior.

    As for motive, aka, why people might act this way… i believe it comes from a lack of self-confidence, self-esteem, social acceptance. otherwise, you probably wouldn’t have a problem saying to friends, “you know, I’m really into this club and I’m going to stay.” if your friends have a hard time with your doing that, it sounds like they may need to have sheeple around them.

    Comment by Annie — March 28, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

  6. Girl in that photo…More than likely a sheeple. It’s the new thing these days to look different.

    Comment by Emily — March 29, 2009 @ 1:23 am

  7. The weirder you’re going to behave, the more normal you should look. It works in reverse, too. When I see a kid with three or four rings in his nose, I know there is absolutely nothing extraordinary about that person.
    — P.J. O’Rourke

    That theory’s always worked for me.

    Comment by the green bastard — May 11, 2009 @ 12:19 am

  8. Let me put it this way, Sheep: Bahh, I am only doing it because that’s what everybody else do. Person: I am only doing it because I want to. Simple as that. 😉

    Comment by Mason — March 17, 2010 @ 8:28 pm

  9. you think this crap ends once your out of school but i was in some job situion were i felt like i was in school it was awfull .teasing an stuff i couldnt belive adults behave like that then someone said just becuse someoine an adult dosnt mean there muture that sure is true .i have a disbilty so i still on occ deal with ingoent people .but i really thought that crap end .there was one person who like me then the other people stop socialzing with her bwecuse she was friends with me so insted oif being a muture person she stop being my friend so they treat her good agin @@@@@@@@@@@ ,it really mad me mad i thought are we in 5th grade there was other stuff after while iu stop workig there i couldnt take it .sme place dont want us there .now i voulnter one day a week at a school for the deaf near me abn they are soooooo nice to me i look fw to going an dont have angizy about it

    Comment by stefanie — February 17, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

  10. Sometimes i become a sheep because i dont want people to think i am not cool. I have friends that are closed minded and followers.

    Comment by Anonymous — February 18, 2011 @ 7:52 am

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