The Mentality of Groups
Identifying with a group is the process of adopting its beliefs, attitudes, and standards, as well as complying with its rules and regulations in an effort to gain closeness to other human beings and feel part of something larger than an individual's personal life. In other words, it makes you feel like you belong. You belong to a country, a state, a city, a county, a community, a parish, a family, a credit union, a gym, an art club, etc. Each group helps define who you are and exploits your talents and morals, and in turn you help define the group itself. This symbiotic relationship nourishes your spirit and gives you a sense of society.
The groups you identify with are also called reference groups, because you refer to them when you need to understand your own opinions and analyze your behavior or reactions to situations.
The importance of groups starts at a young age. Children form groups in their classrooms as well as in their neighborhoods, and groups like the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and the Boys and Girls Club of America help children develop strong personalities, learn skills that boost their confidence, and meet friends who could possibly last a lifetime.
Everyone wants to feel like they belong somewhere. That is why groups are so important to social lives. When you can relate to others, you are able to justify your beliefs and actions even though that justification isn't necessarily needed. Even so, you often feel more secure in your beliefs if you have a support group. Humans rely on the social interactions with others both to learn about their environments and to grow as individuals.