Are you a trendsetter, or a bandwagoner? Do you march to the beat of your own drum, or follow the herd?
Whether it be sports allegiances, fashion choices, music tastes or other cultural trends, there are those with a unique style, (别具一格), and those who instead prefer to follow along.
Today let’s look at 3 ways to describe people who prefer to let others make the risky choices, and decide to make the perhaps more prudent decision to follow along.
随大流 vs. 赶时髦 vs. 盲目随从
1. 随大流 (suí dà liú)- go with the flow
随 (suí): along with (as in 随便- suí biàn- casual, arbitrary)
大流 (dà liú): “the flow”, crowd
Literally, this means “with the wave”, or “go with the flow”. The 大流 can be a certain ideological trend, contemporary convention, or a pop culture fad. The important point here is that it is generally a mainstream, conventional, or widespread idea; you are seeking safety in numbers. You observe your surroundings, and decide to stay in line with the majority. It can be used in both positive and negative circumstances.
zhuān jiā zhǐ chū, zī běn shì chǎng zuì róng yì chū xiàn gēn fēng, suí dà liú de yáng qún xiào yìng
Experts note that capital markets are easiest for a “follow the herd” mentality to appear
yǒu de xué shēng zài zhuān yè tián bào shí, méi yǒu zìjǐ de zhǔ jiàn, ér shì suí dà liú, bié rén bào shén me, zì jǐ bào shén me
When choosing a major in college, there are students without their own opinions, and decide to simply “go with the flow” and choose whatever major others are choosing
2 . 赶时髦 (gǎnshímáo)- follow what’s fashionable
赶 (gǎn): to chase, to follow
时髦 (shímáo): fashionable, trendy
This means to literally “chase the fashion”, or “seek what’s fashionable”. As opposed to 随大流, to 赶时髦 isn’t necessarily to follow what the majority is seeking; rather it is to pursue a specific style or niche. Regardless of whether the specific trend is mainstream or not, 赶时髦 is to observe what a specific set of your peer group is up to, and decide it is worth following.
cānguǎn gǎn shí máo yòng píng bǎn diàn nǎo diǎn cān
Restaurants follow the trend of using tablet computers to order food
shí xià nián qīng rén qiú hūn dōu shì huā yàng pō duō, yī gè gè gǎn shí máo gǎn xīn xiān, wèi de jiù shì xiǎng yào nǚ yǒu dā yìng zì jǐ de qiú hūn
These days lots of young people are following a pattern when proposing marriage, one after the other following trends and looking for fresh ideas in order for their girlfriend to say yes to their proposal.
3. 盲目随从 (máng mù suí cóng): to blindly follow
盲目 (máng mù): blind, blindness
随从 (suí cóng): accompany, go along with
As indicated by its literal translation of “to blindly follow”, 盲目随从 has the most negative connotation of these three. There’s nothing wrong with “going with the flow” or “pursuing what’s fashionable”, but who would want to “blindly follow”? As shown in our examples below, you probably don’t want to 盲目随从.
bǎi xìng de sī xiǎng yǐ bèi jìn gù, bù néng dú lì sī kǎo, bù cún zài yì jiàn, zhǐ huì máng mù suí cóng
The people’s thinking is restricted, not allowed to independently think or have dissenting views, and only allowed to blindly follow.
zhuān jiā jiǎng, zhì liáo diān xián bìng de fāng fǎ zhòng duō, huàn zhě bù yào máng mù suí cóng, xuǎn zé zhì liáo fāng fǎ yào kàn qí liáo xiào hé zhì yù lǜ
Experts say there are many ways to treat epilepsy, so patients shouldn’t blindly follow; the choice of treatment should depend on efficiency and cure rate.