We all have strong opinions about what songs constitute good music and what songs should only be played as part of a psychological warfare campaign to drive armed kidnappers out of barricaded compounds.
But that doesn't mean we need to bulldoze every conversation with our own taste. And it can be hard to stifle those opinions -- especially the negative ones. It's not respectful discussion I'm talking about. No, a good, healthy debate that involves a little nuance is healthy exercise. What I'm talking about is name calling disguised as taste. Such snooty worm-like parasites as those have a way of eating their way through your brain whenever someone says they like a certain group and flying out of your skull before you have a chance to stop them. I don't know what happens to these conversation-killing noises next. Probably they scurry off to the nearest computer to start a racist comment thread on a Reddit link to a cute kitten video.
It doesn't help that my brain is already one of those special organs in the ether of human biology that has problems overcoming the basic fears and worries of communication with other human beings. It hasn't make me an anti-social outcast who fears all human contact. It just makes me a little guarded, especially around people I don't know. Sometimes, however, it takes a break because being a psychologically damaged organ can be tiring and drinking makes it sleepy.
This happened a few weeks ago with a group of friends when one of them happened to mention that they like a musician that I'm not particularly into. I'm not going to mention the specific singer in question because I don't want to embarrass this person even though I'm not identifying them or perpetuate the mistake that I'm passing judgment on someone else who might like them. I also certainly don't want to offend members of the deaf community.Editor: I'm not saying it was this. That's not what I'm saying.
It's also not because I believe they should or shouldn't listen to such music or even feel embarrassed that they do. The whole lesson you and I both should learn from this experience is that everyone is entitled to his or her tastes regardless of what anyone else thinks is better for them or anyone else. Such harsh judgments should be kept completely out of the conversation. Unless, of course, we're talking about something like a white supremacist boy band or Miley Cyrus' latest crime against everything.
Since, at the time, brain was somewhat liquored up, I actually caught myself trying to voice my opinion on their music selection, but my brain wasn't there enough to ask me to pick two fingers and use said fingers to poke me in the eyes in order to stop me. So I thought, "Well, maybe I can sugar coat my true opinion by saying that I'm going to reserve my judgment to spare their feelings." If that sounds like a stupid thought to have, imagine how stupid it sounded when I actually followed through on it. Needless to say, it didn't work.
The world is opinionated enough and the Internet has made it much too easy to turn even the most basic levels of discourse into something more acidic than an Ecto-Cooler wine cooler. If someone feels confident enough to share their likes and dislikes with you, take it as a compliment. You don't have to agree with them, but remember that there's no such thing as objectively wrong about something like a band. And that there's a difference between a person and a person's opinions.
They are confiding in you something that they also probably feel would make people judge them. No one opens up their personal list of loves to someone else so it can be ripped apart by someone who is egotistical enough to think that their opinions are better.
Besides, the chances are very good that your opinions and beliefs suck hard.
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