Huh, I like that response, differentiating between the ideas of just chasing after popularity and being socially aware. I agree, normally when you hear someone advise not to care what others think, you think of it in terms of popularity, trying to dress or act a certain way just to climb your way up the social ladder. But there is a flip side, and that can be taken too far. I think it is important to be yourself, and not worry about trying to conform to a certain image (starving yourself because you want to fit the widely accepted image of ultra skinny girl is not only physically unhealthy, but it's psychologically damaging too, and many businesses try to take advantage of people's insecurities by making them feel like they'll be 'uncool' unless they use an expensive product), but at the same time, I don't think the message of 'be yourself' gives people license to be insensitive to other people's feelings.
I think it just comes down to doing your best to be a person of character—sometimes that means stepping out of the norm, even if it means you might be ostracized, but it could also mean conforming to those norms that have been established for a reason. (Being careful and respectful of objects and property that aren't yours, for instance, and being polite and helpful if someone passing you asks you a question, rather than condescending or sarcastic.) Same thing at a job interview—it's probably not a good idea to try to give a complete image of someone you're not, or do things against your conscience in order to get a job, but you do want to be professional, talk in a professional and respectful way, and dress appropriately for whatever kind of job you're trying to get.
I think it's just important to judge what's important to care about concerning what other people think, and what's not so important.
“After all, absolutely no one can help but suspect a criminal, liar, and manipulator of committing crimes, lying, and manipulating. And of course, no one is more aware of that simple fact than Artemis Fowl.”
Opal sets into motion her most diabolical scheme yet, to frame Artemis and turn his closest friends against him. Only this time she has a new calculating partner who knows Artemis better than he knows himself. [An Artemis Fowl fanfiction, set after The Atlantic Complex.]
...Shameless self-advertising, guys! C;
(And if you're really bored: http://axxonu.deviantart.com/gallery/28 ... temis-Fowl
AF fanart. ;J)