‘Lad’ Culture – An Insider’s Perspective


Table of contents

In this episode, we have a guest appearance from Jake, a junior doctor and recovering "lad". We discuss the meaning of being a "lad", the experience from inside the group and the feelings of those of us who feel implicitly excluded from boisterous, alcohol-heavy group dynamics.

Some of the highlights from our discussion:

Lad culture provides an identity and sense of purpose for some people. This becomes especially noticeable at university where new friendships, new identities and new relationships emerge. This may be particularly accentuated at Oxbridge where an identity of being ‘the academic one’ is lost when you’re surrounded by similarly academic people. This leads to certain people embracing the lad identity as a new role for themselves. As Jake explains “If you take 100 people who used to be the clever one and say only one of you can now still be the clever one, people have to adapt and search for new roles”.

The group changes the behaviour of the individuals. Peer pressure and expectation to go beyond the bounds of what you would usually indulge in through drinking games, for example, exemplify how individuals can feel compelled to fit in within the ‘lad’ culture dynamic. This can also contribute to an inclusive / exclusive group dynamic emerging around this culture with those outside of that group perhaps noticing this separation to a greater extent.

The image of ‘lad’ culture and how it’s talked about have changed in recent years. People are increasingly keen to talk about it and people are more wary of being labelled as a ‘lad’– in this sense, there has been a change in the way that society views the ‘lad’ group culture and dynamic due to associations with excessive drink and other negative stereotypes.  

Ali’s Insight of the Week (inspired by a highlight from the 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss)

When you’re at a crossroads in life, and you have a decision to make, you should ask yourself which of these is going to be the more exciting option. If you optimise for excitement at each junction, chances are you’ll have a good life however you define that.


4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss - https://geni.us/4hwwali

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What is this? Not Overthinking is a podcast about happiness, creativity, and the human condition. We talk about things to help us think, do, and be better. Things like social interaction, lifestyle design, mental models...things that are hard to examine, but important to explore. And hopefully, things that make for a fun and interesting chat every week.

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Who are we?

Ali is a junior doctor and YouTuber working in Cambridge, UK. He makes videos about medicine, technology, productivity and lifestyle design. His links: YouTube, Blog, Newsletter, Instagram

Taimur is a data scientist and writer, working on his own startup Causal. He writes on his blog and as a columnist for Medium. His links: Blog, Twitter, Medium, Instagram

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