I had a situation happen today. Nothing dramatic. In fact, it was quite minuscule compared to most actual, real-life problems, but it still bothered me.
You see, I have a friend with whom I share lots of quips with back and forth on a daily basis. Some call this ‘witty repartee’, others call it ‘banter’; I’ll leave it up to you to decide what synonym to use. In this exchange, we often have fake arguments, safe in the fact that we know that the other person is only messing around, in a playful, light-hearted manner.
This same friend is also in the habit of recommending me music to listen to. This is on the basis that I previously mentioned not being very good at discovering new music these days. I don’t actively seek it out, and I don’t listen to the charts, so unless I come across it organically, ie. by discovering it on a TV show/film/YouTube video/podcast, or by recommendation of a friend, I tend to listen to the same stuff pretty much on repeat.
Me and this friend decided to write a list of 10 songs we both loved, and exchanged our lists with one another. The exercise proved rather fruitful, as we both have slightly varied tastes from each other, so this enabled us to discover new favourite songs that we may not necessarily have come across before. Since then, my friend keeps recommending me the odd song here and there that he is quite liking at the moment, and thinks I’ll enjoy too.
There’s just one thing though. Apart from our initial exchange of 10 songs, he hasn’t listened to anything I have recommended to him. Granted, I don’t recommend him much, as I said, I listen to pretty much the same things all the time. One thing that I thought he might like though, is the cast recording of the Broadway musical Hamilton. The reason behind this is because he likes rap music, and Hamilton is a popular rap musical (I could go into so much detail about how clever and innovative and genuinely good the music in Hamilton is, though I have touched a little bit on it here).
But, he hasn’t listened to it yet. And it irked me. It irked me to the point where our friendly and playful banter turned into, “Have we stopped joking? Are we having a real argument right now?”
It bothered me for many different reasons. I had brought this up many times, and the fact that he didn’t look into this yet was hurtful. I told him, “I respect your opinion enough to give what you recommend me a chance, so it feels like you don’t respect mine enough when I do the same for you.” I also said, “You constantly give me things to listen to, what’s one thing from me?”
And I get it, when people hear the words ‘Broadway cast album’, they don’t necessarily think ‘cool and edgy’. And I also get that a lot of Broadway/West End albums may not have the same standalone listenability (is this even a word?) factor than a standard album, because the songs in a musical all correlate to a larger story. But surely when someone says, I think you’ll like this because it ticks off certain boxes of things you like, surely that’s enough to give their recommendation a go?
Of course, I am absolutely reading too much into this. This situation happened towards the end of the day, after a long meeting, so my brain was over-tired, and perhaps I was a bit more irritable than usual. I don’t actually think that my friend doesn’t respect my opinion, and I know there are a million other things in the world more important than someone not listening to Hamilton (though, just to reiterate, not in my world. Hamilton is my passion and Lin-Manuel is king). And I know that in a day or two, this situation won’t matter anymore.
But what I want to know is, should I have let go of this sooner? Should I have just settled with the fact that this person is probably not going to get round to listening to my recommendation, and leave it at that? This topic is more than likely going to crop up again, and it’s going to bother me again, but should it? I made a promise to myself at the start of this year, that as well as being kinder to myself, I would speak up about the things that matter to me more often. Whether it’s my writing, feminism, or even bloody Hamilton. Am I right to speak up about my irked-ness, or just not bother? Where’s the balance?
That’s the many questions I’m putting out into the universe today. Feel free to let me know if I’m being completely irrational (I’m speaking to both the universe and to you, dear reader).