Life Protip: Let people like what they like


I played some music today during my math class for the first time this semester. We were completing some exam review and I thought it might be nice to have some tunes on to lighten the mood (which is sometimes a bit leaden in that class, unfortunately).

Remember that I work with teenagers, so I’m sure you won’t be surprised when I tell you that students complained about the music. I played a mixture of current “hits” of various genres. Some vocal students griped about this or that artist, claiming that “he can’t sing”, etc. I switched to music they would be less familiar with but which I knew was “classroom safe”. As I anticipated, the leaders of tomorrow didn’t like that either.

They nearly all listen to music, but they each listen to their own music, which is supreme in their eyes, and everything else is, of course, absolutely terrible.

I tried to impart words of ancient wisdom, but I don’t know if anyone really agreed with me. “Let people like what they like, and you can like your stuff,” I said. “As long as they’re not hurting anyone, it’s fine.”

This isn’t just about music, though. I have dozens of interests, and many of them are niche or “weird” for most people. That doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of them, but often I don’t have many people to share with.

It took me many years to understand that it’s great when people like something, and it’s even better when there are lots of different things that people like. Let people like what they want to. If you’re lucky, they’ll share it with you, and you can learn to appreciate it the way they do.