How do you manage competing pop culture interests in a relationship? Are you destined to fight over the mouse every time you or your significant other opens a new Netflix tab? I guess the easy thing to do would be to make sure you and your S.O. have at least something in common besides your attraction for one another before jumping into a relationship together.
But let’s face it: we all like a challenge. So if you find yourself in a relationship with someone who has incredible blue eyes, shaggy blond hair, and vaguely reminds you of the golden retriever you owned as child, but who also has none of the same interests as you, you’re not completely doomed. Navigating such a relationship can be tricky, but here are some tips from someone who’s been there:
1. Take turns trading off movie/music/activity picks. Remember learning to share toys in kindergarten? You trade off who gets to pick first (or if you’re like me, you get put in the corner during playtime because you were pretending to actually be sleeping during naptime and refused to wake up. Somehow the teacher knew I was faking. Maybe because I was giggling? It’s all very unclear). Let your significant other choose something they really like the first time, and then the next time you get to pick. This way no one grows resentful of being forced into activities they’re not interested in.
2. Be open-minded. When your S.O. is showing you something they like, don’t groan about it. Just because you don’t usually like science fiction doesn’t mean you’ll automatically hate Interstellar. You could wind up acquiring some new pop culture interests if you’re not stubbornly set in your disdain for everything you didn’t discover yourself. I thought Bojack Horseman was absolute stupidity when my boyfriend first mentioned he liked it and now I am completely obsessed with it. Bojack is my spirit animal.
3. Discover new things together. Are there pop culture avenues neither of you have walked down yet? Well then, hold hands and walk down them together! Watching that new show you’ve both been hearing about might actually give you a shared interest.
4. Try watching comedies. Everyone likes to laugh and there’s enough comedy shows on campus and TV (Bojack Horseman, Parks and Rec, How I Met Your Mother, 30 Rock, Family Guy to name a few) for you and your S.O. to laugh about together. Besides, if your S.O. doesn’t like Adam Sandler, you should probably dump him/her anyway.
5. Never talk about anything pop culture related. Just don’t talk about pop culture. Ever. If the conversation is veering towards pop culture or you sense your S.O. trying to bring up something he/she read in the newspaper or watched on TV, don’t let them do it. Interrupt them. Run away. Whatever it takes. Save your relationship.
6. Cry. So your boo wants to stay home and watch Scarface, but you want to go to a local production of Twelfth Night? Don’t compromise; just cry! You’ll need to do better than a few clear tears though; your S.O. is more than a little obsessed with the scene where Tony Montana blasts through the door with his gun and screams, “Say hello to my little friend.” You need to make your S.O. feel like scum. Start out by nonchalantly asking him/her why he/she never lets you pick what you watch. Then, cue the tears. Don’t be afraid to blubber!
7. Manipulate them. Tell them you are watching a documentary about the disastrous effects of classism in the 1990s, then put on Clueless. It’s not a total lie!
8. Get over it. Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to share the exact same pop culture interests. There is always going to be a part of you your significant other doesn’t know or understand and that’s okay. Celebrate your individuality! As a fan of a movie or book, you are not required to get your fandom branded on your forehead; something doesn’t lose its meaning to you if not everyone knows exactly what it means to you. Sometimes what makes something so special is the fact that it’s yours alone and no one can take it away from you. So my boyfriend might not ever read Jane Eyre and if he does, he might hate it. That’s fine; I still think Jane’s kickass. And at least she never ignores my text messages (mainly because she doesn’t have a cell phone in 19th century England and because spoiler alert she also doesn’t actually exist, but that’s beside the point).