Friday Flashback: Outliers

Outliers are individuals who are outside the majority in a statistical study. If you read the comments on this blog, you will see a lot of posts from outliers – folks who want to say “Wait, not everyone is that way, I’m not that way!”


I fully understand this; it seems I’m often an outlier, and I’ve posted plenty of comments on other blogs to make it known that what was stated is not true of everyone. I suspect outliers are far more likely to post than those who say, “Yeah, that’s me” or “My wife is exactly like that.” That’s fine, but it means the comments will be skewed in favour of those who are outside the norm.

The real point here is one my wife makes regularly on her blog: know your spouse and modify what I say accordingly. In an attempt to be relevant to the majority I post what is true for the majority. I need to be better about mentioning the exceptions, but I can’t cover all the possible exceptions. So, outliers, keep posting your reality!

[This post first appeared April 13, 2010.]

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2 Comments on “Friday Flashback: Outliers

  1. I don’t think most of us have an accurate idea what normal (less than 2 σ from the mean)is, especially within the context of our own marriages. When we were first married my wife thought that me wanting sex every single day was abnormal and there was something wrong with me, I thought because her sex drive took a nose dive and her interest in variety was nil, something was wrong with either she or I. We thought we were weird because we fought a lot more after having kids.

    On the other hand, we allow normal to substitute for “good”. Just because something is normal doesn’t mean it works. Being overweight is normal in the US, running marathons is abnormal. I’m much happier never eating fast food and exercising a lot than I ever was being normal, sometimes normal sucks.

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