Sunday, August 21, 2011


Opinions really bother me. It's true.

How can "opinions" be a pet peeve? Shouldn't it just be certain opinions? Not ALL opinions? And how can I say this, being as I am one of the more opinionated people you know? These may be just a couple of the questions running through your mind after reading the opening sentence. Allow me to clarify.

Mostly, I cannot stand unsolicited opinions. No matter the topic. If I did not ask for your thoughts, I don't want to hear them. Let me share a few "for instances" that are completely made up; if they bear any resemblance to real conversations or situations we have had, it is purely coincidence. For instance, let's say we are at the dinner table, and someone mentions that they love honey mustard. This statement is completely acceptable, as it is a fact when put in that form. That person, does, in fact, love honey mustard.

Now, had they said, "honey mustard is the best condiment" we have a problem. They have changed their comment into an opinion. It is absolutely debatable whether honey mustard is the best condiment. This situation can take many turns, some for the worse, some for the better. My hope is that, (A) I will either avoid the discussion by simply giving no response. Or, (B) I will take the bait, reply with my rebuttal, we will go on to have an intellectual conversation on the pluses and minuses of the many different uses of honey mustard, and settle on the fact that the original conversator prefers honey mustard to most condiments and that I just like salt. Agree to disagree.

But things rarely, I mean RARELY, happen like that. On most days, despite common beliefs about my personality, I generally hope for situation (A). Especially if I have an extremely differing opinion, and know discussion will be futile. (The ONLY reason I EVER purposefully engage in a pointless argument, is for my own educational purposes, if I feel my competitor might be well versed on the topic. Ok, as I re-read that, I realized, that isn't the only reason I might do that...after all, I am antagonistic by nature. Sometimes, if the person's beliefs, thoughts, opinions are extremely ridiculous or radical, I do it for my own entertainment.) So, I ignore the comment. But more often than not, I don't get my desired result of concluding the conversation. Instead, the person did not get the affirmation they had hoped for, so they go on and add, "Don't you agree?" Can I just say "no"? I mean, I can, and I do, but then I get, "Oh, really, then what condiment do you like better?" "Why?" And there it is. I am forced into a discussion. It's a downhill spiral.

I will never get out of the conversation now. I am trapped. I honestly begin to panic. Because this is another huge misconception about opinions...people feel, if they ASK you your opinion, and you politely share it, then that ok's them to give you theirs. NO. YOU asked my THOUGHTS, I did NOT ask you yours.

Which leads me into another situation, "fishing questions". Do you ever have those moments, when someone comes up to you and straight up asks your opinion about something, but you know it's because their true motive is to share theirs? For example, when I was obviously pregnant, so many woman approached me and asked some question or another about my pregnancy. Instead of speaking my initial thought, which is, "I don't really feel like talking about this right now", I would politely answer. This apparently means I have given the go ahead for the woman to tell me all about her pregnancies, deliveries, children, etc. You try to do the right thing, and it just blows up in your face.

Then there are the time when I take option (B). Usually, you can predict when option (B) is a bad choice, simply by the person's tone, demeanor or personality. But sometimes, you misjudge, and you find out that this person has an EXTREME opinion. Fact: ALL extreme opinions bother me. By extreme, I mean, the person absolutely, 100% believes this to be true and that there is NO way anyone's differing opinion could be right, ok, or possible. By the very nature of "opinions" this cannot happen. An opinion, is never a fact. You can use facts to support your opinion, but it will never make it absolutely the right answer. And I do not mind discussions with open-minded well informed people, but these kinds of people just don't form extreme opinions, and rarely feel the need to force their thoughts upon others. If you approach me with an extreme opinion, whether I agree with your stance or not, I will very nearly always play devil's advocate.

So, yes. I pretty much have an opinion on everything...even opinions! And I will share my opinions, if asked. And I will ask for opinions when curious. And that should be that.

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