Newman’s Nook: Ignoring the Advice of Others

I recently began reading the My Hero Academia (MHA) manga. Yes, I recognize that the series is a good five years old. I even tweeted to that effect.


As I said in the tweet, this series has been recommended to me over and over. Why wouldn’t it? It’s an anime/manga series about superheroes. I grew up on American superhero comics and I’m currently reading a graphic novel where Batman turns into a vampire. Superhero satire like The Tick and One Punch Man are some of my favorites.

Based on those facts alone, MHA would obviously be my jam. Yet, I resisted checking out the series. Why do you think I resisted the recommendation?

I know I am not alone here. We have all received recommendations from friends that we ignored—the type of recommendations that, inevitably, we discover we adore. Yet, again, we find ourselves resisting, even though they come from the people who know us best. Why do we ignore potentially good advice?

 

Is it arrogance? Do we think we know better than others and, therefore, do not want their recommendations? Maybe. I can understand thinking that I alone know best what I will like. I mean, I am a guy who has on his list of all-time favorite anime series a short-form, dialogue-less series based on a mobile game about a family of anthropomorphic mushrooms. When what you enjoy is that weird, what do other people know about your tastes?

The answer—a lot.

Sharing your life with friends and family establishes a connection. This connection is as deep as you allow it to be and friendship is incredibly important. These friendships can help guide your life with the helpful advice of friends. While I could go on about Biblical examples of friendship or a faith-based connection to friendship, let’s not lose focus on what’s important here—good recommendations and our poor responses to them.

I know I’ve sworn I would check out a series only to never end up checking into it. It feels awkward when you talk to the person next about those topics because I lied to them. While in some cases I did plan to check out the series, in many instances I never was planning to do so—I only said I would to placate my friend. But why? Why not just tell the truth? Or, why not look into the series your friend who actually knows you thinks you would like?

Writing this has been convicting for me, personally, because I do this often, most especially with friends online. If I looked into everything that was recommended to me, I would not have time to sleep, eat, or hang out with my kids. So, going forward my plan is to be more honest.

First, I plan to ask the person why they believe I would like their recommendation. A show being your favorite does not mean it will be mine, even if we have similar tastes. For the example of MHA, there are obvious answers that I should have heeded a long time ago.

Second, if it really does not sound like my jam at all, I need to say so right away. This is how I have felt about Stranger Things or Game of Thrones. While both have been highly recommended to me, when the series are each broken down, I’m just not interested. Being honest with my lack of interest has helped avoid awkwardness and hurt feelings later. I straight up said in each instance, “I don’t want to see this series, but I’m glad you are enjoying it.”

Third, look inward at your own recommendations. What have I recommended to others? Did I recommend something because I liked it a lot or because based on my friend’s interests, I think they would like it? If it’s the latter, then I did a good deed recommending it. If it is the former, reconsider recommending it unless it also fits into the second category.

While I was not planning to write an advice column, I’m glad I did. What are some series you held off on checking into, but ended up loving later on? Or how did you feel when you recommended something to a friend and they ignored it? Let’s have a conversation in the comments.

mdmrn

Matthew Newman is an environmental engineer who’s also a husband, beard aficionado, Dad of four beautiful children, blogger, and all around geeky guy. When he’s not chasing his kids or working, he’s probably asleep.

5 thoughts on “Newman’s Nook: Ignoring the Advice of Others

  1. Violet Evergarden and Fruits Basket were shows that I recommended to some of my friends that don’t watch anime, but apparently I may have overestimated how much drama they could take based on how they reacted when I gave them short summary of the plot.

  2. I can totally relate. Most of my friends are really into the Fate series, Game of Thrones, Attack on Titan… and here I am watching Trinity Blood, Inuyasha, High School Fleet and Love Live much to their chagrin XD

  3. Traditional Catholic Weeb – I tried Attack on Titan after much hype from friends – did not enjoy it. I mean, to each their own. But yea, I also hate gory things – so it became pretty obvious early on that this was not a show that I was going to like.

  4. thathilomgirl – I get it. Sometimes our recommendations don’t stick not because we don’t know our friends as well, but because there may be some specific element about our potential recommendation that doesn’t fit into what they’d like. For example – there are plenty of fantasy stories I love, but Lord of the Rings I find to be a bore. But that’s me.

  5. What makes recommendations hard for me, at least on a personal level, is how my interest tends to lean towards more obscure, niche stuff that a lot of anime fans don’t have a particular taste for. I want to recommend them to people but I’m very well aware that there’s a good chance the other person won’t like it. I do try to keep in mind how well the show might be received by general audiences, so I know, for example, that someone is more likely to like AnoHana and A Place Further Than The Universe than, say, The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls. It’s rather unfortunate because I genuinely believe these to be good shows and I want more people to watch, enjoy, and talk about them, but at the same time I strongly believe there is no such thing as a “must-watch” anime and no one should be forced to watch or like an anime. I guess this is why I like blogging, since I don’t have to worry about focusing on a specific person’s tastes, and I can focus more on my own thoughts and feelings about the anime.

    As for others’ recommendations to me, there’s a very good chance those will go ignored for the simple reason that I have way too much anime I want to watch already and way too little time to watch them. The whole “having niche tastes” thing also means that I probably won’t be as interested in the big mainstream titles that are most commonly recommended as others are (though there still are many I might consider watching if I feel like it).

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