10 Everyday Things People Are A Part Of That Are Cult-Like

The term ‘cult’ often conjures images of secretive groups with sinister intentions. In today’s world, various communities and movements give off the vibe of a cult-like atmosphere. They might have strict dress codes and sign language, with members having common behavioral traits.

Looking closely, you will find that these cult-like things are not real cults. Instead, they represent popular trends joined by highly passionate people. Let’s check out some of the most significant things that seem like cults but are not.


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Sometimes, fans of a particular thing become very connected to each other and create a fandom. Their shared interests range from a T.V. series, a sports team, a movie, an author, etc., to a celebrity or franchise. The devoted followers can be so emotionally invested that everyday activities could seem like a cult.

Entrepreneur David Meerman Scott discusses in his blog how fandom sparks cult-like behavior. The line between enthusiastic fans and cult followers can blur from elaborate rituals to intense activities surrounding premieres, shows, or matches.

Self-Help Groups

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Self-help groups intend to support personal growth and development. With more emphasis on characteristic improvement, many individuals are drawn to participate in such group activities. These groups often include charismatic leaders and strict adherence to certain beliefs or practices. Since these groups function on the enthusiastic participation of the members, not abiding by the rules can be disastrous for some.

Fitness Fans

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Specific fitness communities exhibit characteristics akin to cults. Members of a particular fitness group tend to show zealous adherence to specific exercise regimens and dietary restrictions, and there is an almost religious devotion to fitness gurus or instructors.

The number of health clubs in America slightly declined during the coronavirus period. Even then, the country had almost 31,000 health clubs in 2022. While promoting health and well-being, fitness groups may foster a sense of exclusivity and unwavering loyalty.

Extreme Diet Followers

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Extreme diets like raw foodism, juice cleanses, veganism or intermittent fasting can create intense followings. Followers often stick to strict dietary rules with a passion that resembles religious devotion. Millennials and Gen Z are drawn to these diets due to their increased awareness of health. Occasionally, diets endorsed by celebrities gain millions of followers overnight. While these diets lack the formal structures of a cult, the zeal of their adherents can certainly give off cult-like vibes.

Social Media Influencing

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Social media’s impact in the U.S. shows some cult-like traits, though it’s not a cult. As per 2023 statistics, the USA had over 177,000 Instagram influencers with around 50K followers, while over 5000 influencers had millions following them. These social media influencers hold significant sway over their audiences. They advise and instruct the fans on various lifestyle choices, shaping their thoughts and behaviors. This is very similar to charismatic cult leaders’ influence on their followers.

Exclusive Social Clubs

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Exclusive social clubs can foster a sense of elitism and exclusivity reminiscent of cults. The USA’s exclusive club culture is a testament to wealth and prestige. Statistics reveal there were 24,000 country clubs in the United States in 2020. Members may form tight-knit bonds over everyday activities or shared interests. These clubs often force the members to adhere to strict rules and rituals. The strict regulations and high-profile access create an insular environment, making it feel like a cult.

Virtual Communities

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Around 94% of Americans have access to the Internet, so participating in virtual communities is common now.

Virtual communities, such as specific subreddits or forums, have millions of participants who regularly engage in online discussions. Due to their insular nature and shared beliefs, these online communities can develop cult-like characteristics. Gaming enthusiasts, movie buffs, and alike form and maintain such communities. However, people may experience pressure to conform to group norms. The tendency to ostracize dissenting opinions can create echo chambers of thought.

Extreme Ideological Groups

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Extreme ideological groups often have members who prioritize allegiance to the group above all else. These groups are formed based on several activities, including nationalism, environmentalism, religious or racial commonalities, and other beliefs. There is an underlying sense of being superior to many different social groups. The exclusive activities and regimented behavior of such groups can seem cult-like. Adopting extreme or violent tactics to fulfill the group’s agendas can be dangerous.

K-Pop Culture

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The popularity of K-Pop in the United States has grown significantly in recent years. A 2020 survey revealed the United States had over 20 million BTS fans, forming the most considerable fanbase worldwide. Fans are drawn to catchy music, elaborate performances, and captivating visuals in K-pop videos. While the popular reception of K-pop in America does not adhere to a cult, some fans exhibit extremities, making the culture cult-like. Attending concerts, buying merchandise, and engaging in online communities are part of the over-enthusiasm of this culture.

Alternative Medicine Practices

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Certain alternative medicine practices have recently gained popularity in the United States. Practices like Chinese medicine, ayurveda, homeopathy, and naturopathy do not follow the scientific norms of allopathy medicines. Yet, people may benefit from them as complementary treatment methods. People with preferences for alternative medicines sometimes show a sense of blind faith, similar to cults. Followers may reject conventional medicine in favor of unproven treatments. Charismatic leaders or anecdotal success stories within the community propagate blind faith in such practices.

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