Well, hot damn, everyone has something to say about everything. Don’t they? And now, unlike before, we’re all given not-so-tiny microphones to interject our thoughts way beyond the friend-to-friend life convos. Now, we get to share opinions with strangers, distant cousins, old besties, that kid from freshman lit. You name the topic, we’re sharing an opinion on it.
There’s a whole heck of goodness that comes from this. But it’s also dizzying overload on the receiving end.
Having opinions is a good thing. A great thing actually. I have opinions stored in every corner of my mothership. Opinions are an indicator that we’ve assessed how we feel about something, which is a reflection of the fact that we know and are owning our voice. But when we start giving, shoving, blurting and forcing opinions on people who never asked, that’s when they become bad.
Imagine a friend approached you (out of no where) at happy hour and noted that a nude heel would have paired better with your dress than the ones on your feet. Natural responses probably include Um thanks? Did I ask? WTF? If you have a friend like this, kindly tell them to fuck off.
That’s how forcing your opinions onto people can feel. You never know what might be a hot button for them or where their decisions are coming from. And it always seems like the big life moments are the ones that other people have the most opinions on…becoming a parent…dealing with heartbreak….getting married…changing careers.They’re also the same decisions that need direction from within, not outside influence.
So before you go handing out your opinion in any situation, big or small, ask yourself…
Did someone ask? Being a great listener, friend, colleague, or partner often requires the fine art of listening. And the secret to listening is that you don’t speak (tadahhh!). And you don’t always have to follow it up with direction or advice. Holding pace for someone’s experience is often all they need when they’re venting or processing. Most times they’re not looking for your opinion. If they are, the’ll say it. If you’re not sure, ask if they want it.
Can I make it clear that this is not a one-size-fits-all opinion? (because no situation ever is) It’s easy to go from opinion to projection when you’re not taking the other person’s life into perspective, or when you’re putting too much emphasis on your singular experience. Only give your opinion when you can acknowledge that this may or may not be helpful or relevant.
I hope you have opinions. Feel the fire of your own perspective. I also hope you handle those opinions with care.