Suppose I have some problem when someone takes an action 'X' on me which I find highly offensive and which makes me feel bad but it may/may not effect other individuals if used on them. A friend of mine has a bad habit of claiming that 'X' is not something to get mad at and he says that action 'X' does not have any effect on him and also he considers individuals who find 'X' offensive to be stupid.

The idea which I want to convey to him is:

Different people like/dislike different things.

But I need a colloquial saying (metaphorical maybe) or natural expression to use while having a conversation with him.

Do any popular saying exist that would get this idea across? If you have any self-made expression, I would deeply appreciate it if you could share it.

  • 20
    "DIfferent strokes for different folks", "Each to their own", "There's no accounting for taste". "De gustibus non disputandum" (and variants) are all about differences in opinions or taste, but are more about inconsequential things than about whether something is perceived as an insult.
    – Mitch
    Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 15:43
  • 7
    "One man's meat is another man's poison."
    – user867
    Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 22:40
  • 4
    The Latin for it is De gustibus non disputandum est. It means 'concerning tastes there can be no disputes', because it is obvious that tastes differ. Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 23:00
  • 2
    Whatever floats your boat.
    – Owen
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 18:36
  • 2
    @JonyAgarwal Not really sarcasm. More, "I don't think is going to work the way you hope." It's not a big deal, since you're just talking to your friend, but in writing and speaking, you're usually better off using language you are familiar with. Otherwise, it tends to sound kind of awkward or doesn't connote what you really want to say.
    – jpmc26
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 17:31

22 Answers 22



to each their own

one has a right to one's personal preferences AHD

  • 13
    The P.C. version doesn't roll off the tongue as well as the original.
    – Mazura
    Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 22:50
  • 2
    @Mazura forgive me, what do you consider "the original"?
    – Au101
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 0:55
  • 13
    @Au101: The link has "to each his own". Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 6:27

There's the proverb different strokes for different folks.

Citing Oxford:

Different things appeal to different people.

  • 2
    Similar, but not quite as relevant as yours 'different horses for different courses' Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 19:08
  • 2
    "Different funs for different ones."
    – StuperUser
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 10:03
  • 1
    This can go on forever! Different joys for different boys. Different gaits for different mates. Different loves for different doves. Different words for different birds.
    – jabrew
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 14:44
  • 15
    @Marthaª, since when don't they? How should they differ? M-W shows \ˈwərd\ and \ˈbərd\....
    – Hellion
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 19:33
  • 10
    Different pronunciations for different denunciations.
    – user126158
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 2:52

Consider "One man's meat is another man's poison".

From The Free Dictionary:

Something that one person likes may be distasteful to someone else.

Fred: What do you mean you don't like French fries? They're the best food in the world!
Alan: One man's meat is another man's poison.

Jill: I don't understand why Don doesn't like to read science fiction. It's the most interesting thing to read.
Jane: One man's meat is another man's poison.

  • 3
    Of all the answers I've seen so far, I think this one best expresses the justification of a negative desire, which I think is what OP wishes to do.
    – David K
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 13:07
  • Green Eggs and Ham.
    – user126158
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 2:53

I would suggest One man's trash is another man's treasure.

  • This isn't right - the man they're speaking to doesn't LIKE whatever the thing this person thinks is offensive, they just don't mind it. It's not treasure to him, probably not treasure to anyone
    – user8674
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 21:58
  • @user8674 People have their differences.
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 22:42

In the UK, a very popular proverb for what you describe is horses for courses. From Wiktionary:

  1. (chiefly Britain, idiomatic) Different people are suited for different jobs or situations; what is fitting in one case may not be fitting in another.

  2. (chiefly Britain, idiomatic) The practice of choosing the best person for a particular job, the best response for a situation, or the best means to achieve a specific end.

From that same source, also consider it takes all kinds to make a world.

  • 1
    Came here to offer this one :) Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 11:40
  • @GreenAsJade I'm actually surprised no one had mentioned it before me, I was quite late to add an answer. I also wonder if this is well known in some of the predominantly English-speaking Commonwealth countries (like Oz or NZ) where British influence is more pronounced.
    – Nobilis
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 11:57

A common one that younger folks will recognise is

You do you

Which could be expanded to

You do what you feel is best for your situation*

  • 4
    You do you; I'mma do me. Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 18:23
  • 1
    Or more simply, "You do what is best for you".
    – user1359
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 18:46
  • 3
    This is such a postmodern concept, one which I find to be silly.
    – ErikE
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 20:09
  • 6
    @ErikE You do you. :)
    – Sidney
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 14:53
  • Oh man, I guess that means I'm old...
    – pkaeding
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 9:01

If you want to sound all educated, you could say

de gustibus non est disputandum

which is Latin for "There is no arguing about taste." (Or, perhaps more idiomatically, "There is no accounting for taste.")
It's generally used when there is a matter of personal preference being discussed to point out that no amount of debate or argument is going to change one person's stance on the matter; for example, you can't talk someone out of liking chocolate.


I sometimes (ab)use "beauty is in the eye of the beholder", by replacing beauty with e.g. annoyance, bad taste. The idea being that such assessments are subjective, and vary depending on the person.


This one is more for people liking different things, rather than disliking things, but it might be useful:

Whatever floats your boat

Definition from Wiktionary:

Pronoun whatever floats your boat: (idiomatic) What makes you happy; what stimulates you.

Interjection whatever floats your boat: (idiomatic) Do whatever makes you happy or stimulates you.

There are other variations on this theme that I have heard, including "whatever trips your trigger".

  • 1
    From my experience, this is mostly used in a pejorative, sarcastic way, which does not seem to be the OP's intention.
    – yo'
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 15:22
  • 1
    @yo' That's not been my experience in any way.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 2:02

In Norway, there's a saying that goes 'The taste is like the butt - it's divided' (Not a perfect translation, but you get the idea)

  • 5
    The first time I hear "the taste is like the butt" out loud, I will not be able to contain myself.
    – kdbanman
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 22:11
  • 5
    Some people say, "Opinions are like (you -know-whats): everyone's got one."
    – user126158
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 3:03
  • 3
    @Brad The butt's divided. There are two sides.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 20:45
  • 1
    @Ole I can delight you with the fact that your neighbors in the east have the same saying. Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 0:16
  • 1
    Same in Swedish but there is an ambiguity that makes it funny: 1. Everone's taste/preference is like the butt, divided. 2. Your taste/preference is like ass, divided (implying your taste is better).
    – MattiasF
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 0:46

The problem here is that your meaning doesn't terribly match your goal--i.e., to convey something to your friend to get him to stop. All the answers along the lines "different strokes" suggest that taste is trivial. But that supports your friend's line of thinking. Without judging who is right on this matter, I can say what you need is to convey the idea that if it hurts you he shouldn't be callous. To that end perhaps you should tell him "Don't pour salt on people just because you don't have any wounds."

  • 1
    And vinegar is right out.
    – user126158
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 2:56

Let me suggest the idiom "Tastes differ."

Prov. Different people like different things.



Everyone sees the world in his own way

Example: The sense of humor is a special, personal vision of the world. Everyone sees the world in his own way and laughs in his own way. The humor has the nationality. Each nation possesses the characteristic sense of humor, which is not clear to a foreigner.

  • That's not really a saying. It's just a statement. Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 11:42

The idiom "to each his own" describes it best. Each person has different likes and dislikes is another way to express it or "one man's garbage is another man's art".


One man's sip is another man's chug.

This may be overly goofy, but I'm a fan of silly sayings... It's actually, as far as I know, a quote from a Garfield comic strip. Which probably does not help its case. :P

  • 1
    No problem mate. I too, am a fan of such wacky expressions! :) Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 4:53

You could consider using:

People (only) see what they want (to see).

It is a broadly used idiom to express that people see things based on their own preferences and different people have different preferences.

There are more of its different versions and the following one is popular.

People (only) hear what they want (to hear).

  • 3
    "[It's an] idiom to express that people see things based on their own preferences and different people have different preferences." I disagree. This phrase is about selective (and usually erroneous) interpretations, not differences in taste or preference.
    – kdbanman
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 22:08
  • @kdbanman That's true, but the selections are supposed to be based on preferences, even if not consciously. You might accuse someone of selective hearing if they don't hear you tell them to do chores, but always show up for dinner.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 19:07
  • 1
    @DCShannon, You're right! But that doesn't change anything I said. If selective hearing is based on preferences, then the phrase, "people hear what they want to hear", only implicitly expresses anything about preferences. The phrase is still explicitly about interpretation, and that's how people use it.
    – kdbanman
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 19:28

I have often heard: "Communication is what I hear, not what you say." In this case, the person is "communicating" with you by foisting their preferences and views upon you unwantedly.

You could try the Aesop saying: "One bad turn deserves another" and see how he feels about it.


In Italy the mainstream saying about this is

Tastes are tastes.

(I gusti sono gusti.)


There's already plenty of suggestions, but since this one isn't listed yet:

People don't all march to the same drummer.

  • Hey, Thanks :) Would you mind adding a dictionary link/any other support please? It would improve your answer. Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 7:41
  • It's a pretty common phrase, I don't even know where you'd go about looking for something like that... Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 14:35

I find it amazing that no one has yet mention the ancient and honorable, YMMV (your mileage might vary). Been used on the 'net since forever.

An example of it being used and defined is at http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/HomePage

  • Hey, Thanks :) Would you mind adding a dictionary link/any other support please? It would improve your answer. Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 7:40

Note: I realize my answer is more philosophical than merely being a "how to say X in English" answer, so if that is a problem, down-vote away or flag for deletion as your conscience requires. However, I think a philosophical answer will be more useful to the OP than just to provide a phrase exactly in the form asked.

I have two ideas for you.

  1. You could say "To the pure, all things are pure", then add my own corollary, "but to the corrupt, pure things are detestable."

  2. Another thing you can say is "By what standard do you demand I subscribe to your beliefs and values, while rejecting any compulsion that my beliefs and values have on you?"

    To elaborate on the reasoning behind that:

    Being offended at offense is inherently self-contradictory.

    All people have standards for the behavior they expect from others and like to think that they expect from themselves, so to denounce standards merely for being standards, is in fact where the stupidity lies.

    To call your standards stupid, in accordance with his standards, is simply to set one standard over another without good cause!

    A truly intelligent, wise, and enlightened person will be able to discuss the presuppositions behind his beliefs which lead him to decide that your preferences are stupid, while his are honorable and reasonable.


The most natural expression for this that I've seen so far is:

Different people like/dislike different things.

Really. Just say that.

Though, if you don't mind a little brashness, you could reply to "well I think it's perfectly fine" with:

Good for you.

…accompanied by a little glare. I'm not kidding!

  • Thank you. Albeit, the answer isn't really supposed to be like that but I still found this to be a great way to deal with the situation. :) Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 6:17

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