People should never be mocked for being vocal about their hobbies

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Illustration by Cora Fu / The Peak

Written by: Alexander Kenny, Peak Associate

“I’m so excited for this tournament that I have this weekend, I’ve been looking forward to it for a month, I’m pleased with how I built the army for it, and I’ve just finished up all the painting. I tried all these new techniques, and I’m so happy with how it all looks!”

“Wow, you almost put me to sleep, that was really lame.”

I’ve had a fair number of encounters like this when getting excited about hobbies close to my heart. It usually starts with someone showing interest and enthusiasm to see you talk about something you enjoy. Quickly, though, the other person is treating this conversation like an 8 a.m. lecture for a prerequisite class they didn’t want to take — a pure annoyance and disinterest that screams “are you done yet?”

I once went on a date with a woman, and told her about some of my hobbies, which at the time covered war-gaming, collecting hockey cards, writing, studying history, and more. She later told me, “You’re cutest when you get all excited about something you like.”

Considering the tendency to mock or judge people for their passions, I’ve kept that memory close to me, and I deeply appreciate and want to pass it forward. People are most beautiful when they’re sharing their hobbies and what makes them happy. Let them enjoy things.

We should never be making people feel as though their knowledge of a television or book series, or their social experiences with fandoms, art, and fictitious worlds, are things to be ashamed of or mocked. These things aren’t the main focus of someone’s life — they’re called hobbies for a reason — but that doesn’t make it OK to mock a person for them. We have enough misery and stress in the world. Someone’s specialized knowledge of a trivial topic shouldn’t bother you so much.

Sharing these passions is also just an important social tool that we shouldn’t be shamed for using. Getting in-depth in your interests and comparing yours with others is a conversation goldmine, and lets people with different interests find things to relate to.

More than that though, talking about interests openly is also the primary way to find people who share your interests. This is why we have clubs for special interests on campus — to bring together those with similar passions, hobbies, and interests in a space where you know others are willing to share. There is no reason not to express enthusiasm about hobbies around others, so long as they don’t hurt anyone. Doing this in our social circles is the only way to further “normalize” enthusiasm and eliminate mockery for it.

Please, if you have a hobby that you love, share it. The world is a less colourful place without them. Ultimately, the change that we need to make is to create a mindset where people find beauty in each other getting excited about the little things in our lives. It shouldn’t be something “annoying” to hide, but something to share a part of.