INT. MEETING ROOM – DAY
You sit in a room filled with men and women of varying ages, shapes, and sizes, gathered in a circle of chairs. The air is heavy with the scent of fresh coffee and donuts.
Tentatively, you clear your throat and raise your voice: “Hi, my name is So-and-So and I’m a recovering hype addict…”
“Hi, So-and-So,” the group replies in a listless chorus.
If the abovementioned one-act play seems at all familiar to you, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Like many of us, you might be suffering from a case of hype overload. That all-too-common occurrence in modern culture where so many marketing campaigns and word-of-mouth testimonials from friends causes our brains to simply shut down, no matter what’s being discussed. Maybe it’s the latest movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Maybe it’s a bestselling series of fantasy-genre novels. Maybe it’s the trailer for that one FPS game that’s ranking up millions of YouTube views every hour on the hour.
Whatever the case might be, the problem is clear: You couldn’t give less of a crap about what’s got everyone else and their mother raving.
Please understand that I’m not trying to dissuade people from enjoying things. It’s great, honestly. Get me alone for 5 minutes and I’ll be gushing about Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix or the emotional rollercoaster that is every new episode from Life is Strange (see my Tumblr page for more details). However, like being an introvert in a room full of gregarious talkers, it can feel lousy when you’re not watching the show or haven’t read the book or played the game that everyone else is gushing about. A very small vocal minority might call you out for not doing so, and in your mind, it’s easy to feel like everyone’s really thinking that about you.
Fortunately, having suffered through hype overload, I’ve come up with a good way to counteract it. This works especially well for anyone who tried the first season of a show or didn’t make it past the first 20 pages of a bestselling book.
1. Take some time away.
If you’re struggling to like something, then pause and take a deep breath. Let it out and relax.
Then, take a break. If you can give yourself a little bit of time from that particular show, you’ll give your head a chance to clear and let your disappointment or guilt settle. In some cases, this can help you better appreciate the series.
2. Engage other media.
Can’t get rid of the taste in your mouth? Go and lose yourself in something that you do enjoy. Maybe you’re rewatching a movie you love or you’re taking a chance on a video game that you think would interest you. Don’t let anything like obscurity throw you off. If you enjoy it, embrace it.
3. Revisit in small segments to gauge your current interest.
Like I said before, sometimes the best way to get back into a show or a movie is to get some distance. Come back after a few weeks or a few months and see if you’re still not into it like everyone else. A few minutes might be enough to remind you why you left or they could turn into one or more hours of enjoyment.
4. Make your final call and stand by it.
So, enough time has passed and you’re ready to make your decision. You’ve given it another shot and you’ve made your call, whether you love this show, you hate that book, or you’re mostly indifferent to this video game franchise.
Ultimately, I want to make one thing clear. As a voluntary TV show viewer, video game player, book reader, moviegoer, or music listener, you never have to apologize for what you like or what you dislike. Apologize for what you say or do to others, but never apologize for how you feel deep inside.
And if we can learn to be just a little more forgiving that someone’s not hooked on the latest episode of Game of Thrones or not a fan of that one 50-million-view YouTube video, then maybe we can find a little more peace and sanity on the Web and in ourselves.