Dislikes matter

It’s no news that we live in a positive oriented world. Everything needs to inspire us, motivate us to do better, or allow us to binge on Netflix and cats on the internet. Body positive movements. Motivational posters. Inspirational quotes. Fitspo. It gets better. Even Facebook does not allow us to not like things! Despite our best effort to get a ‘middle finger’ button, all we got is an angry reaction emoji-thing.

positivity and dislikes

Criticism is sought after only when accompanied by its ‘constructive’ counterpart. To be honest, who would actively look for 'negative feedback', when it comes for free for all in the form of haters and trolls? As much as we look for positive experiences, however, it is our dislikes that get stuck in our memory. They say that to balance out one negative thing about something or someone, you need six positives.

And that’s science right there!

The more you know: Did you know our facial muscles work harder to express our dislike for a specific food? Or that there are many more words for negative emotions than for positive emotions? Are you aware that one negative review among a group of positive ones carries more weight than one positive review among a group of mostly negative ones?

I wish that was enough not to make me rent that 4.2 star rated 'Air BnB' apartment in Sydney! Instead I read that last bad review and thought the previous renter was a bit too snob and demanding. Turns out they were right.

Despite the positive world we live in, I strongly believe that dislikes can reveal more about who you are than likes. For example, talking about likes might be a good way to find out if someone could be a possible friend. You know, the standard ‘So what kind of music do you listen to?’. But discussing dislikes is generally reserved for those already in your social network.

Gossip, anyone?

You see, likes seem easier to discuss than dislikes. Likes are public, shared, and experienced with pride. You wouldn’t wear a badge of your most hated band on your leather jacket. Given freedom of clothes, a person's outfit reveal their likes, or Hogwarts house, surely not their dislikes. All of which is very hard to figure out in a work environment or when forced to wear a uniform. But you can tell you got to know someone when you are aware of their 'dark side': what they fear, hate, what drives them crazy or make them sad. Most importantly, what not to talk about. And when you do talk about that, rest assured your friendship is on a whole new level.

Bottom line is: dislikes, even though they are so crucial to taste, tend to be private. Even more so when they become guilty pleasures. But that's a topic for another week.

Post inspired by 'You may also like', a book by Tom Vanderbilt
Image: via

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