You’re chatting with a group of people at some kind of social get-together, something we all tend to do at K. The conversation is flowing nicely, you’re making friends, until that dreaded question comes up: “So, what kind of music do you like?”
The anxiety flows immediately. You enjoy listening to Ke$ha and Taylor Swift, maybe some Nicki Minaj mixed in there. Nervously, you stammer out, “Oh…you know…top 40?” The reaction is visceral. Faces twist into various expressions of disgust. “Top 40?” they spit out the words like they’re trying to get the genre of music out of their mouths as fast as possible. “How could you like such generic garbage? You should listen to [insert strange hipster band name here], they’re so much more original and underground!” You can almost see the halo struggling to form over their heads as they prattle on about the virtues of this glorified band.
The moral of this common scenario is that that someone gets to feel terrible because of the things they enjoyed, and someone else feels like a special snowflake. They are like the bullies on the playground who steal lunch money—or stealing pride.
This argument is hopeless, because you’re not making the world a better place when you shame someone for liking a certain type of music, drinking a seasonal latte, or wearing comfortable, fuzz-lined boots.
Look at me, for example. I really don’t enjoy the Disney movie Frozen, and don’t believe it’s as good as all the hype makes it out to be. I get judged about it often, but I know I’m not being helpful about the issue by complaining about the film to people who genuinely like it. While sometimes I slip up, I’ve been working on accepting what other people enjoy, regardless of whether or not I personally enjoy it.
Also, disliking something just because other people like it doesn’t contribute anything to the conversation – it just makes people feel bad about themselves. You don’t have to like everything, that’s your choice; But when you make a sarcastic comment about it at Starbucks, or post something on Facebook complaining about a flavor of latte that’s only around for a couple of months a year, you’re not doing anything to better the world.
It’s okay to not like things, just don’t be a jerk about it.