We all have that thing we adore - a hobby, show, book series, favorite animal, whatever. It's that thing that we still find joy in no matter how often we take the time to enjoy it. It stays fun and we still feel happy even after watching/doing/thinking about it for the 100th time.
But what's really cool is when you find other people that also love that thing, then you get to connect with others like you.
Maybe you like the Star Wars franchise and like to create elaborate costumes of the characters, trying to get it as close to the movie as possible. And you have found a whole community of other people that also like it - that's so fun! In a world that can oftentimes feel so lonely, it's nice to find friendship in a shared passion. And with so many kinds of media and activities out there, there is plenty of obsessions to choose from. Which means that there is something for everybody and plenty of opportunities to find that comradery.
But you know what isn't fun? When people make you feel stupid for liking your favorite thing.
Look, we might not always understand other peoples' obsessions. But making someone feel bad about the one thing that brings them happiness isn't cool. I'll give you a personal example:
I was in college when the first Frozen movie came out.
I was completely in love with this movie the first time I saw it - I loved the music, the animation, the colors, etc. And yeah, I knew it was a children's animated movie, but I didn't care. I was going to school for animation, and I enjoyed this movie both as someone who aspired to make something like that and from the point of view of the inner child I still carried. Like we all do to some degree.
Well, at some point my then-roommate and friend told me she thought the movie was stupid.
Fair, I thought. It is a kid's movie, and my friends might not always like the same things as me - not a big deal. I didn't like some of the things she did, but if it made her happy, then I was happy to sit and listen to her talk about it.
But then she started to say some pretty harsh things about people who like Disney movies (like anyone that likes them are all the same). That anyone who liked Disney movies were "f***ing morons." Saying these things to my face, when I obviously really liked a good handful of Disney movies. Heck, I wanted to work there once I graduated!
This experience really hurt a lot, and I was completely appalled that she was saying these things to my face.
She liked plenty of things I didn't. But if I saw a meme about this one horror video game she liked, I'd send it to her because she was my friend and I wanted to support her in whatever made her happy. I never called her a moron for liking what she liked, and I would especially never to her face like that. Her knowing how much I liked those movies and saying that to me anyway made me feel so small, like my passions and opinions didn't even matter. For whatever reason, she felt the need to continue saying these harsh things like this to me for the next two years of our friendship. This wasn't the main reason we are no longer friends, of course, but it definitely contributed to it.
It doesn't feel good when someone disses your favorite thing. So why do so many of us do it online?
Just the other day, I was reading comments on a post that a friend shared about some movie sequel coming out, or something like that. And another one of her friends commented something along the lines of "people who like this stuff are incredibly stupid." And it took me back to how small I felt back then.
And it wasn't just that post. I was scrolling through TikTok today when I came across someone's live stream, where she was painting her face so that she looked like a doll that had come to life. It wasn't my thing, but there's plenty of things that arent - what bothered me was that people were leaving really hateful comments, calling her names and making fun of something that she was obviously enjoying.
Why is it that when someone likes something we don't, it's so easy to make them out to be smaller than us? Why do we have to hate that thing so fiercely that we turn against those who DO like it?
Sure, I personally don't get excited thinking about Dungeons and Dragons, or about Star Wars, or cooking competitions.
But when a friend gets excited about her latest D&D campaign, I love seeing how happy she is about it, and seeing another human being feel such pure joy makes sitting and listening worth my while for that. I'd be willing to try playing a campaign with her if it made her happy. Or like when I visit home and my family is watching a cooking show - I'm not big into competition shows, but I'll sit with them and watch it, even if it's not my thing.
And maybe you just REALLY don't like the thing someone else likes.
Maybe your friend wants to rewatch their favorite anime again and you really don't have the bandwidth to sit through watching it. Or it's a stranger online posting about their newest cottage core craft, and you don't have the emotional motivation to support them with a nice comment like you would do for a friend.
That's okay - you don't have to do that! You don't have to be totally 100% supportive of other people's obsessions all the time. That's exhausting. Just don't make someone else feel small for loving what they love. Just don't leave nasty comments, let them enjoy their passion. Don't pass on anymore hate - the world already has enough of it.
So, let's try to support someone else enjoying their passion this week, either online or in person.
What is your passion, or fandom, or favorite thing? Let's share them and support each other in the comments of this blog. Who knows - maybe we will find our fandom comrades here ❤️