Listening to opinions and comments from others has become something almost unavoidable. Before, we knew what others thought in casual conversations during dinner or at a party. Nowadays, and thanks to social media, we can literally write what we think and know what others think about something almost immediately.
As always, this has some positive and negative points. If I am going on vacation to a place I have never been, I search for comments for the best places to visit. That is how I decide which places may be worth it according to general comments. I always look for someone who loved the place and other who hated it. If there is a restaurant that I have never eaten at, I look for its social media and for the comments of people that went there, to learn what they think about the flavors, the service or if you need to make a reservation in advance.
No point of view is absolute, because each person tells from their personal experience. The opinion of a person that went to a restaurant, when it rained and did not have an umbrella, when the place was packed and had to wait half an hour for a table, and also the restaurant did not have their favorite drink, will be a very different opinion from someone that went in a sunny day, at a time with not many customers and that had no issues while ordering their drinks.
I could keep writing about the good and bad of making comments, but I would like to focus this article in another topic. People, and I include myself, must learn to respect other people’s tastes, even when they are different from our own. Now that we can have an opinion on everything, from the comfort and anonymity of the internet, we need to learn to respect each other. It is something that sounds easy to do, and you probably heard the phrase: “Don’t do to others what you wouldn’t want done to yourself”. It is a saying that everybody knows, but few apply themselves. If we all lived under this principle, the world would be different. It would be better. I will not touch philosophical topics like politics, religion and so on. I think we can start with something simple.
Let’s suppose it’s the weekend, you are at home and you decide to watch your favorite movie for the tenth time. When it is over, you make a post in any of your social media and you write: “I love the movie XYZ! Every time I see it I learn something new”. And you are feeling fine, you just saw that movie that you adore and you expressed it to the world.
Ten minutes later, someone, a friend, a family member or a complete stranger comments your post saying: “That movie is awful. I was bored”. What would your initial reaction be? I am sure most of us would get angry. How can they not like it? Immediately, you write a response over that comment saying that the person is wrong, it is a great movie, they do not know anything about films, and she/he probably likes movies that are way too common, or way too weird. And so begins an unending trend of comments and responses, which is not interesting to anyone but the participants, and maybe some curious readers.
Let’s see both sides of that hypothetical situation. If you are the one that made the original post, where you expressed that you liked that movie, why did you get angry when someone else hates it? Did you make the movie? Will you stop liking the movie just because other people don’t have the same preferences as you do? Instead of getting ourselves in a long and useless argument, we should simply accept the fact that not everybody likes the same things. Next time you go to buy ice cream, will you get mad at the kid that did not choose chocolate like you did?
The other side of the story is from the point of view of the person that commented that they hated the movie. What did they get by making that comment? Will a cinematographic studio contact the person and ask him/her to be a movie critic? What would have happened if no comment was made? Nothing, life is better without negative comments that do not add anything of value. I always thought there is people that cannot see something positive in others, without feeling the need of taking some of that positive energy. How different would be if that person would have commented something like: “I was bored watching that movie, but I wish I had one I liked as much as you like that one”.
This may sound like an exaggerated optimism, but it is not. I strongly believe that words are powerful, and we must be aware of what we say. This is not a perfect world. In fact, that imperfection is part of the world’s charm. Being different and having opposite tastes enriches everything there is.
To finish, I want all of us to try a little exercise. I know there are more relevant topics in the world compared to a movie, a book, or a Netflix series, but at least with these kind of common things let’s be open. If someone comments or expresses that your favorite book is the most boring thing in the world, do not argue, do not fight, because other people’s opinion will not affect what you think about it. The fact that someone hates your favorite cereal brand, will not make you stop liking it, nor will magically change its flavor. And also from the other side, if you are going to comment that you do not agree or have a different opinion on something, try using words that are not attacks, and at least give one reason or detail on why you have that opinion, don’t just write: “I hate it”, with no explanation. If you took the time to say that you hated something, it is because deep within you have more to express; otherwise you would have kept reading or scrolling the screen.
That is why I care less each day about movie critics or movie comments. I discovered in more than one occasion that I have a different opinion from the majority of people, and no matter how much we talk about it my opinion did not change. There are movies that people hate, and that I love. Other times I agree with what the popular opinion is. I do not let comments influence my taste, I just receive them and then I make my own.
I also discovered that avoiding to make a negative comment in social media has great benefits. For example, I do not find myself in the middle of a senseless discussion that only wastes my time; or that I do not ruin a person’s good mood that decided to express something. Like the movie Bambi taught me when I was a little boy: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. I have seen videos online of people singing, playing piano or guitar, practicing a dance, and those same videos are filled with negative comments with no constructive criticism. What do they get by making those negative comments? Nothing. If you cannot avoid making a comment, at least say something that is worth it. Say what did you not like, or what can be better, and maybe, even if the person gets angry or sad, they will at least get something that can help them improve. Are you thinking of writing a comment in this same post saying that you hate it?
Let’s keep behind our internal prejudices that make us hate or argue with someone just because they have a different opinion. Social media connect us with many people, do not lose sight of the power words contain, and avoid being the person that fills the comment section with negative posts, that may cause content creators to avoid even glancing over them.
Feel free to contact me for questions or additional comments in: firstname.lastname@example.org.