I want to be a good listener, truly I do. I also want to believe that everyone has a right to an opinion and that one’s opinion is valid. These days everything gets blamed on social media, disinformation, and fake news. However, I suspect that human beings had opinions way before the advent of social media.
Are you tired of a particular person expressing their opinion? Some people seem to believe that they have the god given right to share their opinion with everyone. Does it seem like some individuals believe that they are an expert on every subject, therefore, their opinion is gospel?
It seems that the world is so divided that the opinion of others is not truly valid unless it is an opinion that you (the collective you) share. Trying to convince another person that their opinion might be less than 100% correct, is nearly impossible in most cases.
I have been trying to figure out a way to mitigate the universe of opinions I appear to reside in. Do I just listen and stay quiet? Do I interrupt and politely let the individual know that I am not interested? Do I listen and then try to engage in a debate? Do I assume that the person I am listening to is open minded or are they more likely locked-in to a certain mindset? I know you might be wondering if it matters. I’m here to tell you it matters.
The Know it All
This personality type is hard to take. Doesn’t matter what topic comes up at the table, this person knows better. I’ve learned that staying quiet is the only way to shut this individual down. If you speak up and attempt to argue, you are only fueling the fire. Sometimes this person comes with their entourage, their tribe, the people who agree with everything they say and suck-up to them. If you encounter this unfortunate situation, the thing to do is either leave the party or walk into another room. If you’re reading this thinking: “I wonder if Chris is talking about me?” I am.
One of the many maddening things this person does is interrupt you as soon as you open your mouth to speak. If you dare try to continue and speak your truth, they raise their voice and succeed in drowning you out. This type will never change and therefore, it’s best to let them go or pay them no mind. Any of this ring true for you?
The Individual Who Agrees With the Opinion of the Moment
I once had an acquaintance who found great satisfaction is touting whatever the leader at the moment was selling. Didn’t matter what oral diarrhea was spewing forth, those were the very words this person shouted for all to hear. I wanted to say, do you have your own opinion? But I dared not, knowing they would only get defensive and tell me that I needed to respect this leader because they were “fill in the blank.” I have been banned from a party because I presented an opposing argument. Well, that’s a party I’d prefer not to attend.
The Person(s) Who Follows the Opinion of Just One Other Person
There is an individual in my world who is the “unofficial” head of the family or tribe. He or she is funny, charismatic, attractive, and ultimately the keeper of the keys. Just about everyone in his or her orbit waits to hear their opinion and then they follow whatever it is. Don’t you dare try to challenge this person or have your own opinion, because if you do, you will be labeled “the black sheep, the crazy liberal, the person who only believes these silly notions because he’s gay or black or brown or gullable.”
What troubles me most about this particular individual, is that their beliefs and ideals are ultimately racist, sexist, elitist, and/or homophobic, but they are smart enough never to say the words black or women or gay; instead they use the words God, immigration, and values, to cloak their truth and instead spew hate and fear.
I know, it’s a dark opinion, but here, in my blog, is where I get to speak my truth.
People Who Are Afraid to State Their Opinion
These are the people I pity the most. I know they have an opinion, but for whatever reason, they are afraid to speak up. There are actually people among us that believe if they oppose the leaders of our country, they will be jailed or audited by the IRS. I cannot imagine having to live with this kind of fear. Freedom of speech is one of the many privileges of being a U.S. citizen.
The Individual Who Will Always Oppose Your Opinion, No Matter What That Opinion Is
I enjoy a good debate with an intelligent and informed individual. It’s stimulating, provocative and ultimately, may persuade me to change my way of thinking; nothing wrong with that. But among us are people who get off on arguing with others, whether they believe what they are putting out there or not. It’s impossible to reason with them; their goal being to make you look bad and admit you are wrong. I have no patience for this character; if this is you, please target someone else. I implore you to look elsewhere for a victim.
The Person With No Opinion
This is the person who will always say, “I don’t know what to think,” or I don’t have enough information to respond.” Really? Do a little research: what do the scientists say, historians, experts who have studied the subject matter for many years, study the facts, for example.
I know, I know, it means one has to put forth a bit of effort. This is what I find troubling about the freedom to vote; so many of us who vote, have not done any fact finding — it’s about what the average Joe on the street says instead. This is how conspiracy theories are perpetuated. The saddest thing is when an intelligent person who once had a mind of their own, succumbs; it’s an awful thing to watch.
That leaves you. Wondering what to say and how to say it? Deciding what to believe? Daring to speak up when your brain is telling you to remain silent. Living with the pain of alienation or betrayal. Just remember, you answer to yourself. It is your head that hits the pillow when you attempt to fall asleep. And it is you who will ultimately take inventory of your words and deeds. You decide how your opinion is formed and how you choose to be heard. You, after all, inspire me.
“I never make the same mistake twice. I make it five or six times, just to be sure.”
“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.”
Leonardo da Vinci
By the way, this entire piece is just my opinion of course.
Back to Alvor, Portugal in a few weeks (one hour and 20 minutes by train). I’m enjoying being by the rocky sea, off-season. Truly wonderful restaurants, peaceful, gorgeous, close to home, and affordable.