How To Deal With A Friend Who Tells You Your Obsession Is Out Of Control

I got an email asking for advice from a reader who I’ll keep anonymous. They wrote:

“I, too, enjoy Harry Styles, his butt, and the greatness that is One Direction.I usually hear comments from friends laughing at my obsession, considering I am 23 years old. I can laugh with them because I know it’s ridiculous. But I have a close friend that’s completely lacking a sense of humor. I received a text from her explaining why I’m annoying because I’m ruining One Direction for her… She’s decided to “take a stand against my obsession.” Should I be taking her seriously? Am I wrong for thinking she sounds like a ridiculous idiot?”

OK. Here are my thoughts.

Obviously, I also love Harry Styles, his tiny pancake butt (though recent photographic evidence suggests those cakes may be growing), and the glory and honor of One Direction’s warm, luminous embrace in this cold, dank world. And, obviously, as a 24 year old, (which is NOT that old, contrary to what my teenage haters would have you believe), I catch a lot of heat for it. Of course, I have a handful of friends who agree with and partake in my obsession. And I have a handful of friends who find it ridiculous and laughable and devoid of all respect and honor and decency.

And, even though I strongly disagree with the latter, and find their shaming to be woefully misguided, after significant reflection and soul-searching, I’ve found it in my heart to forgive them of their sins, for they know not what they do.

The truth is, my first reaction to, say, a stranger who said this to me would be to say “Fuck you, I like what I like, and you’re gonna have to fucking live with it.” And then I would kick down a door, revealing a life-sized statue of Harry Styles I’d have carved out of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, and I would laugh and laugh and laugh at them while I licked the side of Harry’s buttery face, and they would stare ahead in horror as I spiraled further into a butter-induced rage, clutching at Butter Styles’s slippery abs and weeping. Because nobody should make me feel like less of a person because of something that makes me happy. That’s the point of the thing in the first place: to make you happy.

But then there are our friends, who, despite whatever else we may have in common, lack this particular obsession. And, for their sakes, I’m usually inclined to dial back my addiction and talk about something else in their presence.

Of course, when I’m with my friends, there are any number of topics I could draw from for conversation, which includes, but is not limited to: birds, fallopian tubes, the thing that hot guys’ jaws do when they’re chewing gum, picture books, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, corner brownies versus center brownies, One Direction, pig races, lakes, and, of course, chocolate dildos. I’m friends with most of my friends because we share at least some of these interests in the first place. But, not every friend will feel as strongly about every thing, and that’s OK. If you really care about that friend, you gotta pick and choose how fervent you are about the things they don’t care about when you’re with them. Ideally, you’ll have other crap to discuss when you’re around them, and then you can focus on your obsession on your own time, perhaps by keeping a locket filled with a photo of Harold’s face pressed tightly to your chest at all times. Or, ya know, find other people who are equally emphatic and obsess with them.

BUT, this setup only works if your non-obsessed friend respects your right to continue your obsession on your own time. It’s unfair for anyone to ask you to stop doing what makes you happy altogether.

So. Bottom line: If you like one another enough, you can find something else to share while you’re together. When you’re alone at night, you can caress your posters of One Direction as aggressively as your heart desires.