A friend of mine recently gave me a CD to listen to with her favorite cover songs on it. If you’re not familiar with a cover song, it’s when a music artist does their own rendition of a song that’s already been made popular previously. Some covers are better than the original. Others are not.
Most of the songs on this CD were covers performed by a duo named Tuck & Patti. I can honestly say it was difficult for me to sit through the songs performed by Tuck & Patti. As I was listening, I remembered that my friend’s husband had mentioned that his wife’s taste in music was weird. I didn’t want him to be right. I wanted to side with her. Sadly, I couldn’t.
How do you break it to someone dear to you that you don’t like something they have given you? I decided to not bring it up at all. A week or so later, she asked me what I thought of the songs. I’ve never had a good poker face and I hate to lie, so I fessed up that I wasn’t too keen on the music. She seemed visibly heart-broken. Not so much about the fact that I didn’t like it. More of the fact that I didn’t see the beauty in it and that she and I didn’t share that bond.
I felt for her. When I’m so in love with something, I want everyone to love it as much as I do. The hope that if they gave it a try it would bless their lives in the same manner that it has blessed mine. It doesn’t always work out in my favor. Even worse, I sometimes have taken it personal; as though them not liking something I care so deeply about somehow implies that they don’t like me.
I was determined to give the songs another go. My friend had expressed how a couple of the songs were her absolute favorite songs ever. I could tell by her demeanor that these weren’t just any old song, these were meaningful and rich songs for her. I listened a second time.
This time, I decided to listen as though I was my friend. I was driving at the time, but I pretended that I was in the comfort of my home and I was alone in a room reflecting on the beauty and passion of the song. I started to see it a little bit. For a moment, I understood how she could find these covers powerful. Then, out of nowhere, my natural instinct came back and I couldn’t handle another second of the song. Sometimes you can acquire a taste for something. Other times not.
Our life here in Oregon is an excellent example of differing opinions. Our whole family instantly fell in love with our new hometown when we moved here late last year. The weather, slower pace, strong community feel, and general splendor has swept us away. I want all my loved ones to come move here so that they can enjoy the same blessings. However, this weather and lifestyle is not for all. I need to remember that. I wonder if we sometimes spend more time trying to be salesmen rather than listeners.
COMMERCIAL BREAK: When I was 19, I applied at GAP for a sales position. The woman took my application and informally asked me a couple questions. One of those questions was, “Why do you think you’d be a good fit to work at GAP?” My response, “Because I won’t force anybody to buy what they don’t want to buy.” Epic fail. I knew it the moment I said it. Worst answer ever for a sales position interview. NOW BACK TO YOUR REGULAR PROGRAMMING.
Maybe we’re not salesmen, but rather judges? Do we spend too much time thinking of why our likes and interests are better than others? Or worse, do we like what pop culture tells us to like for fear that our own ideas will be mocked? Certainly, I’m old enough now to not feel that pressure. I don’t imagine our youth today are afforded that same luxury. I recall a friend confessing to me, when we were teenagers, that she didn’t want to tell anybody about her interests because two of our mutual friends would inevitably tease her and find fault in her opinion. What a sad way to run a friendship.
I think it’s important that we hear one another out, even if that hearing means listening to a CD of songs that you care little for. Continue to share your interests in hopes of sharing that special bond, but don’t shy away the moment interests differ.
In my teenage years, I recall walking around in bookstores and mocking the people in the Fantasy and Sci-Fi section. I was certain that I would never be with any guy who was in to such silly things. Truly, this fact was on my childish list I had made of the “perfect guy.” No Fantasy or Sci-Fi nerds. Well, guess what? I married a Dungeons and Dragons’ playing, The Hobbitloving, fantasy monster drawing, Sci-Fi nerd. And, surprisingly enough, he is the perfect guy for me. My husband and I see eye-to-eye on all of the important stuff in life. That’s what matters.
We would all do a whole lot better focusing on what we have in common versus where we differ. I have no plans to listen to Tuck & Patti for pleasure, but I will gladly take all the custard that I despise out of my donut so that this same friend can have a double dose of the custard she craves in her donut. And we will sit and enjoy each other realizing our mutual love for donuts is the only bond we need.
My goal is to stop trying to sell people things that I love or assume that if something makes me happy then it will make everyone happy. Based on my interview with GAP alone, I’m not really cut out for sales in the first place. I’m hoping to do a better job of finding out what other’s interests are and hope that such actions don’t always result in a CD of Tuck & Patti. Sometimes I may get lucky with the recommendation of a funny show, a yummy treat, or a great book. More than anything, I want to encourage my loved ones to enjoy the things that make them happy rather than try to convince them that they are somehow missing out on life because they aren’t interested in the same things as me. We can’t all be Princess Bride quoting, New Girl watching, Blind Pilotsinging goofballs like myself. It’s inconceivable.