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Let People Dislike Things

The Other Half of The Coin

By Neal LitherlandPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 4 min read

"Let people enjoy things."

This has become the rallying cry of several corners of the Internet, and for good reason. Because people should be allowed to enjoy the things they like without shame, as long as it isn't hurting anyone. The customer is always right in matters of taste, as the saying goes, which means that whether you like cheesy horror movies, watching cartoons about the magic of friendship, or consuming the darkest, most nihilistic tales of the most over-the-top sci-fi, you should be allowed to like those things without people coming in to rain on your parade.

However, there is a flip side to that coin. Because if you dislike something, you should also be left in peace to dislike that thing.

Within certain bounds.

Yucks and Yums

This is a little song about all the things I hate.

The phrase, "Don't yuck my yum," is fairly common in most geek circles, and the meaning is pretty obvious. If someone is enjoying something over in their own, private area, they shouldn't be subject to outsiders coming into their space and explaining to them why they're wrong, and the thing they like is wrong bad fun.

But the flip side of this is also true.

If someone is in their own space disliking something, the last thing they need is someone riding in to defend the thing they dislike. Whether it's a particular edition of a tabletop RPG, a video game franchise, the cast of a certain film, or just a genre of music, chances are good they aren't looking for a debate. They don't want to have a conversation about it, and they aren't looking to have their mind changed on the subject.

Sometimes people have strange reasons for a stated dislike. They might hate country music because they were forced to listen to it on family road trips, so it has negative connotations for them. Someone might have particularly sensitive taste buds, or an easily upset stomach, so they hate the taste of alcohol. Someone might have sensory issues that make karaoke evenings a nightmare instead of a good time out. They might just "not get" high art, or find literary fiction boring and dull.

The point is, if we're respecting people's tastes, then we need to respect all of them. Even the ones we vehemently disagree with.

It's important to remember that matters of taste and opinions aren't objective fact. Someone else disliking something has no effect on whether you can enjoy it, particularly when you're strangers on the Internet. It just means that you and this other person have a disagreement on something.

Don't Abuse The Privilege

There are some caveats to the above statements one must keep in mind.

There's probably some folks who are feeling pretty vindicated by the above text. Likely folks who have a major talent for disliking things. As one of those people who is very good at not enjoying things, however, I feel it's important to add a couple of disclaimers that one should keep firmly in mind when it comes to these statements.

First and foremost, the key is that you are disliking things over in your own area. Whether it's with like-minded folks, or over on your own social media pages and groups, but the point is that you are not seeking out people enjoying themselves to rain on their collective parade. If someone else is talking about their love of a thing you hate, move along without leaving your opinion, because no one was asking for it there.

Secondly, and this is mostly best-practices advice, it is important to dislike things specifically, and in a way that does not hurt anyone else. For example, you may truly hate boy band music, or the Twilight series. That's fine. But if you're going to criticize these things, it's important to criticize the things themselves, and to try to have sensible critiques of them if you say anything beyond, "I do not like this thing." Too often we broaden our dislike of something to include the people who enjoy it, using our dislike as a reason to ridicule those people out of some weird, clannish response. If there are legitimate criticisms to be made, make them, but don't turn your dislike into a broad brush.

Thirdly, I would recommend folks who dislike a lot of things keep in mind a piece of advice I gave in 5 Things You Can Do To Be a Better Ambassador For Your Hobby. Because while there are always going to be things we don't like, it's often a good idea to big-up the things we do as alternatives. Whether it's gushing about how much you love Pathfinder instead of bashing Dungeons and Dragons, sharing your love for Deep Space Nine instead of hating on Lower Decks, or holding forth about what was really great about Dracula instead of dragging Interview With The Vampire through the mud, people generally prefer to listen to others discuss things they enjoy, rather than listen to them rant about things they hate.

But since you need to vent the pressure sometimes, consider the Reddit rule. For every 1 hate screed, try to gush about things you love 9 times. If nothing else, it means you're spending more time talking about things you genuinely enjoy.

Also, if you liked this piece, consider checking out It's Okay To Admit There Are Problems in Your Hobby, as well as some of the other pieces in my full Vocal archive!

Like, Follow, and Stay in Touch!

That's all for this week's Moon Pope Monday. To stay on top of all my content and releases, make sure you subscribe to my newsletter as well!

Again, for more of my work, check out my Vocal archive, and stop by the Azukail Games YouTube channel. Or if you'd prefer to read some of my books, like my sword and sorcery novel Crier's Knife, or my latest short story collection The Rejects, then head over to My Amazon Author Page!

To stay on top of all my latest releases, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and now Pinterest as well! To support my work, consider Buying Me a Ko-Fi, or heading to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to become a regular, monthly patron. That one helps ensure you get more Improved Initiative, and it means you'll get my regular, monthly giveaways as a bonus!

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About the Creator

Neal Litherland

Neal Litherland is an author, freelance blogger, and RPG designer. A regular on the Chicago convention circuit, he works in a variety of genres.



Blog: Improved Initiative and The Literary Mercenary

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Comments (1)

  • Loryne Andaweyabout a year ago

    Thank you for this important article. Diversity also includes taste and that is something we often take personally.

Neal LitherlandWritten by Neal Litherland

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