People like what they like; stop being annoying by trying to change them!

One of the rules I've ingrained into my belief system is that "people like what they like, and that's okay".

I know, at this point you're either rolling your eyes or confused, am I right? It doesn't seem like rocket science and certainly does not seem like something to be decreed a rule. I used to think that too, until I stopped for a second to think about what it really means to say 'people like what they like'.

Be patient with me as I take you through the logic. We all have biases, we know this. One of the ways in which we're biased is thinking that other people have the same preferences to us and share our beliefs, even when they don't. Psychologists call this false consensus. False consensus is a tendency to think that others share our preferences and beliefs much more than they actually do. This is one of the many reasons why we find it surprising, anger- inducing or annoying when we learn that others don't share our beliefs. What exacerbates the situation is that we tend to think they will be ready to change their long-held beliefs or preferences as soon as we "show them the light”. Of course they don’t, because the flipside is that we have not changed our long-held beliefs or preferences to match theirs either.

Before I properly understood this concept, I used to be overbearing and well.......annoying. Unfortunately many people still dot get this. That each of us has the opportunity and dare I say  the right to make choices everyday. Choices about what we like and how we want to lead our lives (within basic principles of decency of course). Here's a challenge; spend just one day taking note of how many times you are prescriptive in your convos with friends, family, people you work with or sometimes strangers (if you happen to talk to strangers).


What's surprising is that often when you're busy prescribing and telling others how to be, you're really just giving yourself advice. Half of the time when people offer you advice, its not even related to the problem you're concerned with. This is because we’re all talking but nobody’s listening. We’re all going around saying and doing things  at a very superficial level but in reality we’re all thinking: “am I okay? is this okay? I’m okay right? you’re okay? are we okay……”. If you read the last line and thought to yourself; “yes, oh’ my gosh, yes I totally get it” you and I are best friends, we just maybe have not met yet. 

If on the other hand you did not identify with the concept…..you’re dead to me. Just kidding, it’s also okay because we are human beings and we’re allowed to be different and have conflicting ideas, thoughts and feelings. In fact, we all have a natural born right to hold differing preferences  and opinions that we do not have to justify to others (again, within the realm of common decency which will allow us to thrive as human beings). 

So, in case you missed the headline (how could you?) here's the gist: people like what they like; stop being annoying by trying to change them!

Nkgopoleng MoloiComment