It’s Okay to not Like Things (but Don’t be a Jerk About it)

Photo by Julia Hoven

I always joke when people ask me my major and say I’m studying underwater basket weaving, but there are actual people out there who enjoy underwater basket weaving, and I’m pretty sure there’s at least one person who’s majored in it. When we think of every person having a unique, defined set of interests — it tells us a lot about who they are, in general.

And people can dislike things too! I don’t like the acid trip cartoon show Adventure Time, or diet Mountain Dew or wearing socks. And it’s totally cool for me to not like those things, because I’m a person with, like I said, a defined set of interests.

That’s not to say the “definition” can’t be changed all the time, but that’s an article for another day. You can dislike tons of things — that’s absolutely fine. It’s your right as a person. But there are always those people — you know, those people who have to argue every time a subject as menial as Netflix is brought up. “Netflix is stupid because I don’t have a mailbox.” Those people, this article is for you, and I think this YouTube video says it best:

Wasn’t that adorable? Yes, and it has a very valid point. It’s okay to not like things. I am well within my rights as a human being with lots and lots of freedom of speech to express my dislike for, say, the TV show The Big Bang Theory. But what really annoys me is when people think it’s also within their rights to absolutely crap on everything you love just because they don’t love it.

I used to be one of those people. I used to think I was so cool for groaning every time Nickelback or Zooey Deschanel was brought up in conversation. I would actively put down other people’s interests to make myself look cultured. And that’s wrong.

I like One Direction, the show Teen Wolf, and the movie National Treasure. I don’t like these things “ironically.” (I can’t stand that word, people use it to mean everything from coincidentally to accidentally). I genuinely like then.

I hate telling people that I listen to One Direction because most people have this really dumb preconceived notion that just because a band or an artist is on Top 40 radio, it means their music is “mass-produced” and “unoriginal.” And yeah, scientists have determined that today’s pop music is actually less original than the music of, say, fifty years ago—but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it. Maybe I like the mindless bubblegum pop that five really, really hot boys from the UK can give me. Maybe it makes me happy to listen to — who are you or anyone else to take that away from me?

Refusing to hear logic or reasoning about why a person likes or doesn’t like something is immature and, quite frankly, pretty annoying. Give me a chance and I’ll give you a chance.

People have interests specific to them as a person. You can like fart jokes or Adam Sandler, or you could like formulaic romantic comedies, or you can like B-rated made-for-TV sci-fi movies, and you’re absolutely allowed to. Just remember than when you’re insulting a band or a show or anything someone likes, in extension you’re insulting them as a person and telling them “your likes are less worthy than mine of attention.”

I don’t think I could put it any more succinctly than “It’s okay to not like things. It’s okay, but don’t be a jerk about it.”

  • Anna Patricia Hawkins

    I like having discussions with people about what we like or don’t like. But it takes a rare kind of person to say, “I don’t like _____, here’s why. But I can see why you like it now that you’ve explained your reasons for liking it to me.” So these kinds of discussions are rather rare, unfortunately.

  • Maury Holliman

    I like Justin Bieber so… there’s that.