The Strange Attraction of Peculiar People

Being quirky isn't a threat, it's an act of bravery. In fact, having charisma, a unique style, being non-conformist, and ignoring conventions can sometimes be shocking but without a doubt always provokes attention.
The Strange Attraction of Peculiar People
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 20 October, 2022

Peculiar people are the oddballs of our society, but they’re also essential. Why? Because they dare to reason and act differently. Indeed, in a world where we’re urged to be identical and think in the same way, peculiarity can be quite a challenge.

You might be surprised to discover that Peculiar People Day is celebrated every January 10. This is due to a movement that emerged on the internet and social networks. Its objective was to make the population aware of the importance of not prejudging people.

However, although it’s true that the singular, strange, and peculiar can be attractive, they’re often also rejected. It’s only by reducing the habit of prejudging that we’ll get to know these kinds of people who can, on occasion, be pretty inspirational.

You may even be one of them yourself without even knowing it, someone who has a different perspective from others and who likes to live differently.

“I want to be important, by being different.”

-Sylvia Plath-

Boy walking between mountains symbolizing Peculiar People
There are many people who are peculiar, but who don’t really dare to show their singularities for fear of being judged.

Characteristics of peculiar people

The fact that there are peculiar people is the best thing that can happen to a society. After all, only those who dare to break the mold, think in an innovative way, and develop their own personalities, free from conventionalism, bring a real advance to the world. Nevertheless, being different can often be quite a threat.

There’s one thing we must make clear. A peculiar person isn’t someone who wears spectacles with no glass in them. They’re not those who wear their clothes inside out or exhibit clearly antisocial behavior. As a matter of fact, peculiarity means to face and perceive things differently from the rest. Usually, in a more effective and creative way. However, when these people dare to demonstrate their unique characters, they’re singled out, criticized, and even ostracized.

They’re like the nail that sticks out and is then hit by a hammer to make it equal to the others. Indeed, our society has a filter of subtle hypocrisy in which we’re all urged to be unique and authentic, but when someone dares to be so, they’re degraded. For example, no matter how much we talk about or defend diversity, the fact remains that the black sheep is always criticized.

Yet, despite criticism and prejudice, there remains an instinctive appeal to quirky people. In fact, it’s common to feel a kind of psychological ambivalence toward them. They both fascinate and disturb at the same time. They attract and annoy. That’s because everything different has a tendency to make us rethink ourselves.

So what are these peculiar people really like?

They don’t mimic the conventional

One outstanding aspect of them is that they tend not to blend in with the conventional.

They’re men and women who are open to what’s different. They’re curious about the dark side of the Moon (so to speak). The kinds of personalities who always seek to know what’s not said. People who don’t conform to general opinions.

They think holistically and critically

Thinking holistically and critically is a tool that we should all apply. Nonetheless, in a reality marked by dubious news, constant and often biased information it’s only peculiar people who are obstinate enough to doubt everything. Their approach is always critical and holistic.

For this reason, they’re capable of abstracting new ideas from what they read or see. They make comparisons and connections in order to have a broader and more unified vision of what they’re looking at.

They’re oriented toward constant innovation

Normative is boring. The conventional is the rust that often ages our society and slows down its gears. On the other hand, peculiar people have a gaze that’s oriented to the peculiar, that seeks to innovate, and aspires to promote advances, changes, and revolutions. They achieve this by applying an approach that’s always creative, daring, and groundbreaking.

They know that their behavior and attitudes can generate criticism, but they’re not afraid of it. Because they have an open mind and don’t give way to inflexibility. As a matter of fact, they pity those with rigid mindsets. 

Happy woman with high self-esteem representing peculiar people
Peculiar people are the ones who often bring to our society the changes it needs

They’re inspiring

Peculiar people are different in their ways of thinking, relating, reacting to challenges, and processing reality. This makes many of them act as dynamic agents of society itself. They inspire and urge us to break our old thought patterns by making us reflect and reformulate certain aspects of our lives.

Everything that’s unusual or strange usually comes to life in an uncomfortable way. That’s because these things challenge us and force us to rethink many of the things we take for granted. Naturally, this isn’t always easy or comfortable but we gradually allow ourselves to be embraced by this new current and strange yet innovative spirit. In light of this, it’s high time we stopped prejudging.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Forgas, J. P. (1992). On mood and peculiar people: Affect and person typicality in impression formation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62(5), 863–875.
  • Henrich, Joseph & Heine, Steven & Norenzayan, Ara. (2010). The Weirdest People in the World?. The Behavioral and brain sciences. 33. 61-83; discussion 83. 10.1017/S0140525X0999152X.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.