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We’re currently living in the True Crime Renaissance. Netflix is basically turning out a new murderer documentary every week. Oxygen has changed from being the source for rom-coms to the one for all shows about a woman snapping on her spouse. There is no shortage of death-centered podcasts to sink your AirPods into.

With all the supply and demand of murder content, it’s important that people not get the wrong idea about your newfound interest. So, here’s how to talk about the burgeoning genre of True Crime without seeming like a murderer.

1. Know your audience.

With such growing popularity, who wouldn’t share your intrigue in to diving into the minds of depraved humans in search of what drives them to wickedness? The person shrinking away as you describe a conversation from the Ted Bundy Tapes at a cocktail party, that’s who.

True crime isn’t for everyone. Some people (the true weirdos), find it dark and disturbing, and in turn may think you are, too. So, how do you know if you’re in a safe space to go all in on your local unsolved murder? If they know ID stands for Investigation Discovery, you’re in the clear.

2. Keep calm and carry on.

Speaking of Investigation Discovery, when in the presence of non-true crimer, try to keep your cool as you tell them about the new episode of a Murder to Remember premiered. Yes, they asked what you did last night, and yes, you listened to them talk about Grey’s Anatomy—which you think is the deadliest show television. But, getting hyper as you talk about the Lipstick Murders investigation might come across as, well, creepy, even if it’s based in benign interest. Instead, share it with as much attention as you would the fifth-most boring hour of C-SPAN and continue onto the next topic.

3. Don’t name drop.

To continue a conversation, you contribute what you know, right? Obviously, or you’ll just be blabbing lies. But, when your mind is an encyclopedia of human disasters, this gets a little riskier. If you’re talking about puzzles, veering into the Zodiac Killer’s creation of ciphers to taunt the public during his crime spree that still goes unsolved may raise more red flags than, let’s say, bringing up your experience with The New York Times crossword.

Of course, there are scenarios where it makes more sense to interject. In a discussion of DNA genealogy kits, it would be strange not to bring up the Golden State Killer case as an example of how they can be used to find criminals. The key is to keep the details limited. If they ask for more, you know you have your in.

4. Or just be yourself.

So, you like true crime, and some people may find your interest questionable. Who cares? Everyone is interested in something that at one point or another has been the subject of raised eyebrows. Like your friend’s near-obsessive love of Zac Efron films. Or your neighbor’s collection of antique dolls. Okay, that one’s definitely bone-chilling, but it doesn’t mean she’s not a cool, good person who makes the cookies you love.

Like all hobbies, as long as you’re doing it for non-nefarious, un-Manson-like reasons, keep doing you.

Sarah Razner

Sarah Razner is a reporter of real-life Wisconsin by day, and a writer of fictional lives throughout the world by night.

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