Hating Things You Haven’t Tried


I’ve noticed a trend that bothers me. It seems to happen most with the same people over and over. This trend is the ability to decide you don’t like something and that something is stupid and pointless and worthless, without ever having experienced it.

It’s bagging out people who like a TV show you’ve never watched. Putting down an activity you have never done. Thinking a book is ridiculous or invalid as a literary work without having read it. Or, as I have most recently observed, slagging out a conference you have never attended.

The ability to sit back, observe something from the outside only, and form an opinion on that thing without having any first hand experience of it.

It’s really the opposite of FOMO – it’s FOMO backlash.

This way of seeing the world has always been fascinating to me, particularly as I try very hard to reserve judgment of something until I have experienced it myself. I am not always successful in this endeavour, and certainly failed a lot at it in my teens I assure you, but it’s something I strive for, based primarily on my observation of those who are quick to judge.

I first encountered this way of thinking with a friend in high school who hated a particular TV series. He hadn’t seen the series, but he had decided he hated it and was determined to stick to his guns. It wasn’t for him, he’d decided, based entirely on the fact that everyone else really liked it and for whatever reason he decided he wouldn’t. Star Wars is a very common series I’ve seen people do this with, also Star Trek, Doctor Who and Harry Potter.

Every popular movie, book or TV series liked by many people seems to have developed a cult anti-following in addition to their following. People who are determined to hate it, despite having never having experienced it for themselves.

I understand the capacity to not experience something and, based on solid facts and evidence, know you would not want to experience it. I have never been sky diving, but I am strongly averse to putting myself in any kind of danger (real or imaginary) and my physical reaction to fear is not an adrenalin rush, blood pressure increase and endorphin spike afterward. Rather it’s the opposite, my blood pressure drops, I get dizzy, my adrenalin levels drop and I don’t have any fun at all.

So it’s a fair assumption, based on facts and evidence, that I probably wouldn’t like sky diving.

I get very upset by war movies and they have a tendency to render me a crying mess balled up in the corner of the living room, devastated by the atrocities committed in the name of war. So it’s probably fair to say I wouldn’t like Schindler’s List and have therefore never seen it.

But when you haven’t experienced something and aren’t even 100% across what that thing is, I find it very hard to reconcile the idea of hating it.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s a backlash against your own feelings of secretly wanting to do that thing. Or perhaps a desire to be seen as a nonconformist for the purpose of simply nonconforming. Perhaps it’s an inbuilt ability to react to stimuli in a negative way.

Or perhaps some people are just grumpy.

Whatever it is that causes it, I find it a very interesting way to be.

Do you hate things you haven’t tried? What won’t you try? How do you feel about people who are negative about something without having done it?

  • Gary

    When it comes to food I want to try it all. It doesn’t mean I like all food though. I try not to hate on things, especially if I haven’t tried them. I agree with you, if you haven’t tried something or experienced it it’s not fair to criticise it.

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      Well food is a pretty good one to want to try all of! Food is one of the few areas of my life where I’m truly adventurous and keep re-trying things I know I don’t like just in case my taste has changed.

      • Gary

        I agree completely. So many things I wasn’t fond of as a kid but now I love. I feel bad for people who have a fixed mind when it comes to not wanting to try something again because of a poor memory. Unless it’s dangerous, everything is worth trying again, especially if it brings about a moment of bliss and pleasure.

  • http://www.kellyexeter.com.au/ Kelly Exeter

    Oh yes. So much yes! And LOVE the tagline!!!

  • Monique Fischle

    Oh I HATE it when people hate things they haven’t even tried or experienced. Especially when it comes to Harry Potter (and yes, of course I’m going to mention this haha). I completely understand that not everyone will like Harry Potter, no thing can be universally loved, but don’t tell me that it’s crap if you’ve never read it. Please, just don’t.

  • Amanda Kendle

    Totally agree on this Tamsin! In fact I always tell my son that he should never use the word hate. I would deserve it for truly awful stuff like the holocaust or something … and certainly to never hate something without experiencing it! You can totally choose to *not* experience it (I’m with you on the skydiving!) but I’m sure you would never go around saying you hate skydiving!