It’s a familiar situation: You’re hanging out with a few friends, and someone suggests it might be fun to watch a scary movie. Panic sets in as everyone else enthusiastically agrees to the bonkers plan to feel afraid on purpose, and you sense you may have to flee the scene or throw a fit. Well, now you don’t have to! Here’s how to calmly explain to your pals that you can’t watch a scary movie, because actually, to you, fear is kind of bad.
Let them in on your POV.
Experience is subjective! For your friends, it’s presumably really fun to watch a film where the main characters are plagued by grief, unspeakable violence, paralyzing fear, and abject horror. That’s totally chill, but to you, fear is an emotion associated with danger and overwhelming anxiety. Some people love that stuff, which is so normal and valid, but you just happen to be a person who thinks anxiety is “bad” and “not to be chosen”. Potato, potahto! (would be another example of two things, one of which is correct, and the other absolutely insane).
If you don’t want to have a night of watching sitcoms until the sun comes up to try and stave the infectious horrors out of your brain, then you’re going to need to offer some alternatives. Suggest a comparable activity such as abstaining from food and drink, or holding your hands over an open flame. Hunger and pain are traditionally “negative” experiences, but your freethinking friends may, for all you know, enjoy them both. Better than dread and terror!
Be willing to compromise.
Okay, so you don’t like watching people be murdered, tortured, and driven to madness, but your friends think it’s fun. Their feelings matter, too, and you have to be willing to compromise. While everyone’s sitting around not eating and taking turns holding their hands to the flame, grab a laptop computer and pull up some of the images your besties crave. Key words may include: ominous shadow, dark corner, medicine cabinet closing to reveal figure behind you in bathroom, gouged eyeballs, decomposing animal, bucket of blood. They’ll like looking at these and appreciate that you understand where they’re coming from. Everyone’s different!
Have fun, and try not to think too much about the movies they suggested earlier in the night. Feeling afraid is actually, depending how you look at it, sort of bad!