More often than not, we wait for social cues as to how we are supposed to behave.
We hesitate to clap until it seems clear that others are going to.
We often don’t stand instantaneously for a standing ovation. We wait until it feels safe.
And it works for less positive things as well.
When someone is being grumpy with us (unless we are really in tune with how we react), we tend to get a little grumpy back.
When someone else around us is scowling, we tend to feel like we’ve been given permission to scowl back.
Our challenge is in stopping the automated behavior matching and in getting past the fear long enough to risk that we’ll be the only person clapping or the only person smiling back at a scowl.