Hey-o friends!

Recently, my sister has become really interested in k-pop. Now, k-pop isn’t really my thing, so when she starts talking about her favorite people and groups, I get a little bit lost. She’ll send me videos of the group members doing dumb things and I’ll watch them with no idea of what’s happening or who’s involved. It’s all for fun and I like watching her get excited about it.

But that’s not how it started. For some reason, my own sister was nervous about sharing her interest in k-pop with me. She said, and I quote, “Maybe you think I’m weird because I like k-pop.”

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Isn’t that an interesting idea?

All around the world, kids and adults get mocked for the things they show interest in. Hobbies, fandoms, music, clothes, books, movies. Literally nothing is safe from a person who finds their opinions superior to yours. A lot of people find solace in the internet, using sites like We Heart It, Tumblr, Pintrest, YouTube, and Reddit, to find people like them. This is great! Except a lot of these people say things like:

“My real-life friends don’t understand me.”

“This is the only place I can be myself.”

“None of my friends are interested in N so I can’t talk to anyone about it.”

There’s something wrong about that. Friends, true friends, should support you no matter what your interests are. After all, something brought you together in the first place, right? And while you both have free reign to gain new interests along the way, you should always continue to be supportive of your friends.

One of the easiest ways to support your friends in their interests is to show interest in their interest. (Can I say interest any more in the sentence? Let’s not test it.) It’s not a hard thing to do and you can start doing it today.

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Here are some tips for showing your friends that you care about what they care about:

Ask questions about your friend’s interest in the topic

  • How did you discover this?
  • What was your first episode/exposure?
  • Who’s your favorite character and why? Ask about favorites and least favorites in general.
  • Make it familiar: Is your interest like this thing I know? Ask about similarities and differences.
  • Why do you like it?
  • What do you dislike about it?
  • What would you suggest for a beginner?

Remember what happens

If it’s a book, movie, or tv show, try to remember what happens plot wise. I don’t mean go out and watch/read the content. But when your friend talks to you about characters or the latest episode of something, try to remember what happens to help you ask better questions and allow them to theorize without having to recap you every time.

Watch/Read what your friends share with you

Your friend is interested in a specific band or YouTuber? They send you videos of what they think is the best bits or send you music to listen to? Watch those videos! Even if you have to put it off for a moment because you’re in class, at work, or doing homework, make an effort to watch the video when you can and get back to your friend about your opinion. In this day and age, this is how we share things. It’s only fair to your friend that you take a moment out of your day for them.

Encourage your friend’s fantasies

You don’t have to join in on your friend’s roleplays or anything, but it’s always a good idea to encourage their fantasies. Let them tell you about their ocs or headcanons. Read their fanfiction and applaud their artwork. Ask them questions about what they would do in that universe, if that’s what they enjoy talking about. From personal experience, it’s a lot of fun to talk about other people’s characters and it lets you be creative with them.

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Now, it doesn’t seem that hard, right?

I know you can’t please everyone. There will be people out there who stubbornly refuse to share their interests. There will be people who may find your fascination with their interests creepy or overbearing. There will be people who are so excited that you care that they will drown you in their interests and try to force you to like them too. There will be people who get mad if you don’t share their interests or accuse you of being fake and insincere. This isn’t foolproof.

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However, in my experience, most people are excited to talk about the things they love. They don’t want someone to debate or even understand what they’re saying, they just want someone to listen to them talk about what they are interested in. In most cases, these are also the people who will listen to you. All you have to do is show that you care, not about the topic, but about the person speaking. People learn by example. If you start caring about what other people are interested in, they’ll start caring about what other people are interested in.

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I hope this helps you find some friends or better your relationship with the friends you have. Even if it doesn’t, I hope it helps you make someone else’s day.

Toodles,
clemthekraken