11:00 am EDT, December 28, 2018

Five fandom New Year’s resolutions to be a healthier, happier fan in 2019

Let’s make some fandom New Year’s resolutions! Here’s what to start and stop doing in 2019 to enjoy your fandom and be free of toxicity.

These past few years haven’t been easy for the fandoms, with all the reboots and cancellations going on (but is any year easy when you love something so, so much?). As the New Year rolls around, it might be helpful to make some fandom New Year’s resolutions, whether you’re experiencing fandom fatigue or have suddenly found yourself falling in love with a whole new universe.

Here are some fandom New Year’s resolutions to keep you healthier and happier through all the ups and downs that are bound to come with the next year:

1) Start shipping multiple ships

Not enough of us are shamelessly shipping multiple ships. Maybe it’s the shipping wars that so many are obsessed with, but why hold yourself back? Next year, try to keep an open mind about your favorite characters. Sure, your main ship makes a great couple… but maybe another ship has an equally interesting dynamic, or there’s a crack ship that you’ll discover you can’t get enough of (even though it’ll forever be a rare pair and you’ll never find fan fiction for it).

That’s the beauty of fandom: you can have multiple scenarios all take place simultaneously in your head, and you can enjoy them all shamelessly. You can ship Dramione and Drarry, and Drinny. Who says you can’t? Some characters are fun no matter who they’re with.

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2) Stop gatekeeping

One of the nastiest things in fandom is gatekeeping. Not only does it manage to make entire groups of people feel unwelcome in a fandom, but it imbues your love for a thing with a nastiness that thing doesn’t deserve. In the next year, try to stop whenever you find yourself thinking that only people of a certain age, gender, or personality deserve to be a part of your fandom.

It’s more than just not bullying: it’s about the way you think about your fandom, and the way you react when someone unexpected tells you they’re also a fan. It’s about encouraging everyone, and embracing everyone with the same kind of joy.

The best stories are those that are profound and well-crafted enough to invite all kinds of people to identify with different aspects of it. Just because it was your thing at some point doesn’t mean it can’t be someone else’s thing, too.

3) Start watching something completely new once in a while

This might be an unusual resolution to have in relation to fandom, but sometimes it’s good to take a break and watch something new for a while. In the next year, take a break from binge-watching for a second and randomly pick something on your streaming service of choice: maybe it’s a documentary about a city you never knew about, or a foreign film you never gave a chance, or even a classic movie you never got around to seeing.

As much as you adore your fandom, it’s nice to gain some perspective by watching something completely different. And who knows? Maybe it’ll introduce you to a genre you didn’t know you could love… or give you a cool conversation topic for your next holiday gathering. Or maybe it’ll even inspire a new AU or crossover scenario for your main fandom!

grace and frankie sol robert

4) Stop having ridiculously high expectations

This one is tough. We all love theorizing about our favorite stories, and because of all the time and energy we spend doing this, the image we have in our heads is often far better than the real thing once the next movie, book, or season arrives.

Maybe in the next year, we can all resolve to be okay with a sequel that doesn’t quite meet all our expectations, but is still good and fun in other ways. Maybe we can begin to accept that the filmmakers’ vision for the story is often vastly different from the fans’… and that there’s not much we can do about it. Maybe we can learn to enjoy both our own version, and theirs.

(Maybe. I’m still crying about Pirates of the Caribbean and I’m way too stressed about Netflix’s Narnia to be in any position to offer wisdom on this.)

5) Start leaving reviews more often

Central to fandom is our interaction with other fans, and our enjoyment of fan-created content. And sometimes, even our interaction with the creators of the original content itself! In the new year, try to leave a review or comment whenever you find something that makes you happy or inspires you. Whether it’s Tweeting to an author, leaving a review on a fanfic or article, or sharing an artist’s work, show your love! Help promote a beautiful thing!

Try to reserve your comments for positive things… or at least try to leave more positive than negative reviews. Put out more positivity in the world than you do negativity. And remember that everything you write is read by a real person!

Fandom is all about community, and the secret to having a happier, healthier fandom life is to try to improve our own behaviors so as to influence others. Whatever your fandom New Year’s resolutions are for 2019, try to make them something that will help others be happy too. We need more of that.

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