What do we mean when we say “normal”? Welcome to the Normal Bar, a new survey that might actually help us answer this question. The Normal Bar probes the feelings, attitudes, and behaviors of people who participate in the survey. It aims to define a “new normal” standard based on what real people share about their experiences. Seventeen different content areas, including family, sexuality, money, and happiness, are open to users who, after they finish their survey, can see where they fall on a “normal bar,” based on their answers.
“I’m not an advocate for being normal. But we are interested in what it looks like,” says Chrisanna Northrup, who developed the survey—the findings of which will be published in a book next year—with Dr. Pepper Schwartz, the author of several bestselling books on relationships and sexuality, and sociologist Dr. James Witte, director of the Center for Social Science Research at George Mason University.
Here’s how it works: Users are first asked general questions about their age, employment, and relationship status. Their responses to these core questions shape their path through the rest of the survey.
Next, users can choose specific surveys that pose incisive questions; the variety of topics includes Communication, Romance, Daily Life, Addiction, and others. You may take as many surveys as you wish, and will be given a personalized link if you choose to respond to the surveys in separate sittings.
Reader’s Digest has chosen to focus surveys on Friends and Family, Sex, and Happiness. The results of these surveys may be featured in our magazine or on readersdigest.com. Northrup and her colleagues will also use the results to illuminate larger, more general trends about how we live today, very likely calling into question the very concept of “normal.”
Take the survey HERE and see how your “normal” compares to others’.