Dear Dish-It: They Don't Like My Music
At my school everyone is always talking about who their favorite singers are and I am scared to tell them mine because I am afraid that they might make fun of me or something. What should I do?
In your question you talk about your musical tastes, but the same advice can apply to anything about yourself that you feel ashamed of or that you think, by revealing to others, will put you in a position where you’ll be made fun of, picked on or bullied. The first and most important thing you need to know is that no one has the right to make fun of you or make you feel bad just because what you think or do or like or don’t like is different from what they think or do or like or don’t like. The second thing is, unless you join in the conversation at school about music and singers, how will you ever really know how your friends will feel about your opinion? By not saying anything, you’re actually excluding yourself (rather than being excluded by others). I think this may be an issue of self-confidence that has everything to do with you and nothing to do with the kids at your school.
Be Proud Of YOU!
If you don’t like yourself – and everything that makes you YOU and unique – then who will? Everything about you – from your taste in music to the way you treat other people – makes you a special person in the world, unlike any other. So be proud of what you are – and be proud of what you like! If you feel like joining in on the conversation at school about music, go right ahead! Maybe you’ll find there are other kids who like the same songs and artists that you do, and you’ll make some new friends? And if anyone does make fun of your preferences, well, there’s something wrong with them, not you, and it’s not something you need to worry about.
Kids Can Be Cruel
For some reason (maybe it’s due to the pressure at school to fit in, or maybe it’s because your own personality and sense of self is still forming and very fragile when you’re young), kids have a bad reputation for being mean to each other. Not that some adults are any better, but lots of times as you grow up and learn to love yourself more and more you become more tolerant and accepting of other people and the differences you may have with them. That is, between two adults a difference in musical taste is usually not a big deal or something that will get someone made fun of, but between kids it does seem like a bigger deal in terms of being accepted in the group. Just remember, we all eventually grow up and learn these lessons; if the kids at your school do end up making fun of you for the music you listen to, try being the bigger (more adult) person and: a) don’t let it get to you, b) don’t retaliate or be mean to get back at anyone and c) don’t apologize or make excuses for what you like. If you do, the other kids will use your lack of confidence to put you down. Take what they say as a fact, not an accusation. So instead of reacting to "You really like that singer?" with a long-winded explanation, simply say, "Yes, I do!" You don't need to apologize for who you are. You'd be surprised at how far a little confidence can go. Good luck, and listen to what you want!
My final point is this: there will always be someone who wants to make a big deal out of the differences between you and him or her. If you think differently, you're singled out. If you dress differently, you're singled out. If you're like everyone else, however, you blend right in. So it's up to you. Do you want to be like everyone else? Do you want to follow only what is popular? Or do you want to be you? Do you want to be happy listening to the tunes you love? If the answer is yes, tell the bullies to leave you alone. It doesn't matter what they say – you're not going to change who you are! They're just wasting their breath. Maybe they'll still tease you. Just remember that being different, being who you are, will always be under scrutiny. The key, I think, is to find friends like you so that you know you are not alone. Be strong! Blast your music in your bedroom and know that no one in this world can change you. Besides, you're already perfect. And by that I mean perfection is being just who you are – and loving every little thing about you.
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