Maybe it's because I have never been competitive. Or it's the social worker talking, but I never found it a fun pastime to try and win at anything. The participation in the event was always more fun to me than the end result.
It's why I prefer role-play to roll-play when it comes to Pathfinder, RIFTS, or other tabletop games. It's why I love cooperative board games, or games that require teamwork. A few years ago, when I was raiding in MMOs, it was the camaraderie I loved more than my DPS results. I mean, I loved those too, but I came back every week to hang out with my friends.
Even when I was on the Debate Team in high school, which was highly competitive, I cared more about winning for the team than my individual success. I wrote good speeches and argued well to benefit the team, not me. But I was the girl who always congratulated my opponent on a debate well-done, and arguments well-handled, so there weren't ever any hard feelings. It was the English way to do things.
So, I suppose this is why now, when someone tries to tell me that I am wrong for liking this or thinking that, I simply don't argue. Everyone is entitled to their opinion after all, and who am I to say that they are wrong for thinking I am? Standing up for myself may be the macho thing to do, but, aside from the tattoos, I am far from macho. I prefer to keep my opinions to myself, and not waste breath on a "Nuh-uh!" "Yeah-huh!" back and forth.
It dawned on me three years ago that it's not offensive to me what kind of coffee anyone drinks or what books anyone likes to read. Anyone's choice of drink or leisure activity has no bearing on what I drink or do in my free time. So why should I go around telling people what they should drink and read? So you don't like Barbara Kingsolver. So what? We can still hang out. And you love gas station coffee. Great! More overpriced beans for me.
My theory is that while hobbies and taste have an impact on what subculture a person slots themselves into, it has no bearing on their character. You can have nice nerds and jerk nerds. You can have gentle jocks and rough jocks. Even gang members can stop to pet a caterpillar. Some people just get into what they like because it's what they've been exposed to, others get into it out of necessity; it doesn't mean they're wrong or terrible, it just makes them different.
I have a friend whose political views swing to the opposite side of the spectrum than mine. He comes over for dinner twice a week, and we talk about everything, except politics. It's easy, it's fun. Our interests on everything except whoever we vote for are identical. I have another friend whose religious beliefs are vastly different than mine. We talk on the phone a lot, we support each other on Facebook. We'd see each other more often, except he's in Exeter, UK, and I'm in Ohio, USA.
Thing is, I will never change my friend's political views, or my other friend's religious beliefs. So why try to convince them that I'm right and they're wrong? And, as my good friend said this weekend, what kind of hubris is that? To think that my opinions and beliefs are superior to theirs, and that mine are somehow the correct ones. They're perspectives, nothing more.
I started feeling much better about my interactions with people when I stopped trying to exert my opinion over friends and strangers, and moved on to having fun. Conversing cooperatively rather than competitively. Because life is not a competition, it's a team building exercise. Those we love will mean more to us in the end than those jerks on Reddit we owned in July of 2013.