By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer
It’s common for people to define part of themselves by their interests. Whether it be their favorite band or a hobby they really enjoy, many spend time thinking about or sharing with others things that have meaning for them.
It’s also common for people to take pride in the things they love and at times become defensive when their particular interests don’t align with those of others. If someone has a favorite musical artist or book, those must be the best of their kind, and another person’s choices pale in comparison.
Although it has always been normal for people to hold strong opinions about things that they enjoy, it seems to be a somewhat new trend to turn away from “mainstream” interests and instead like things that aren’t as popular or known in society.
A large part of this trend has been the result of the internet, exposing people to an endless amount of things to appreciate or follow. Why would you like songs commonly played on the radio when you’re exposed to a nearly unlimited music on Spotify? Why like a basic food establishment when you could go to a lesser-known trendy spot from Instagram?
Additionally, the sharing of information on the internet causes people to romanticize the trends and lifestyle choices of past generations, making it “cooler” to wear clothes, listen to music or watch movies from decades ranging from the ‘60s to the ‘90s.
With such an endless amount of information available about everything from art to literature to fashion, it just doesn’t seem to cut it when people like what is currently popular or enjoy something that other people also enjoy.
People seem to more and more be forming their identity around having interests that they believe make them unique or different from everyone else. If these interests are genuine, there is obviously nothing wrong with this, and it’s always good to be open about what you are truly passionate about.
However, there’s no need to force yourself to like something solely because it isn’t mainstream or especially to judge people who happen to enjoy things that are popular. It’s okay for someone to prefer Starbucks over the trendy new coffee shop with fancy latte art. It’s also alright if someone continuously watches Friends, even if you personally enjoy branching out with new programs. It’s even fine for someone’s favorite singer to be Taylor Swift or Ariana Grande instead of listening to obscure indie tracks on Spotify.
People should be allowed to have and share their own interests without fear of judgement whether their interests are mainstream or not. Enjoying current music doesn’t make someone “basic” or their interest any less legitimate than someone who appreciates smaller and less popular bands. Judging someone else for what they like doesn’t make you more unique, and people often judge others’ interests to legitimize their own.
So the next time you feel judged for ordering a pumpkin spice latte or avocado toast even if that is what you truly want, know that there is nothing wrong with having popular interests, as things are usually popular for a reason.