It's thrown around a lot as an insult. Starbucks drinks, Tumblr quotes, dog filters on Snapchat. It seems like something isn't even really popular until everyone starts labeling it #basic. And being called basic is never a compliment.

Honestly, I don't have a problem with #basic things (with the possible exception of dog filters—those just look ridiculous). In fact, I think Starbucks makes great coffee, and Fall is definitely one of the better seasons. What bothers me about #basic has nothing at all to do with the things people say are basic.

I'm not even against popular things in general. I understand how branding works, and I personally don't even have a problem with paying a little more "just for the name." Style and image can make or break an otherwise mediocre product, and there's nothing wrong with that.

My problem with #basic people has to do with the decisions behind it all.

Seeing so many people post about the exact same thing like it's never been posted about before makes me wonder if they know that it has been. And they do; there's no question that they do. So why do they bother?

Maybe they actually like #basic things. I get that. And like I said before, I don't have a problem with any of the things people say are basic. If they actually like basic things as much as they say they do, then more power to them. I could be in denial, but I don't think that's what's happening.

And seriously, if that were true, wouldn't it seem like a pretty big coincidence they fell in love with basic things at the exact same time those things became the newest trend? And when it comes to something like Crocs, the "I liked them before they were cool" argument is pitiful. No, you did not like rubber clogs with holes before they were cool. Don't even try to defend their existence.

If it really were the case that basic things were so beloved, humans would be a pretty unimaginative bunch. If seeing a pack of girls all wearing black 3/4 length North-Faces or a group of guys walking around in tan Sperrys occurred because they all loved those things, the world would be a pretty dull place. Thank goodness reality isn't that boring.

No, it's not funny either. Dropping #basic into a post doesn't make anyone laugh because we've all seen it before. It's admitting to being just as basic, but instead of being embarrassed by someone else, beating the accuser to saying it insultingly might save some dignity. That trick does not work, and using that as an excuse for doing it is just as sad.

What's really going on is conformity. #basic things exist not because everyone likes them, but because everyone around them appears to like them. It's easier to blend in than to stand out.

My point isn't that people should purposely stand out either. I'm not saying pretending to like different things just to be different is any better than pretending to like basic things. Wearing Nirvana shirts and having a septum piercing does not automatically make you cool; it screams "poser" more than anything.

It ultimately comes down to being yourself. We're all hardwired with likes and dislikes right from the beginning, and we pick up more as we find our way through life. Being original is as simple as following that inner path because nobody is exactly like anybody else. #basic tries to stop us from being ourselves, and when that's allowed, we all end up pretending to be people we're not. A life like that is not worth experiencing.

My words of advice aren't complicated. Dare to be different. To be the person you want to be and not the person you think you should be. To be what comes naturally and not what is forced. Dare to think originally without first thinking about what others believe. Being yourself is much easier than being #basic; nobody can be you better than you can.