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Other People’s Opinion Don’t Matter – Here’s Why

Bash Sarmiento

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Other People’s Opinion Don’t Matter - Here’s Why

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There is actually no need for a debate on whether or not an opinion is bad. As a matter of fact, if you will only analyze it, asking a person for their opinion, or theirs towards yours, can only lead to conflict, misunderstanding, and long conversations. Most especially if you are not organized with your feelings and lack respect for others’ words, you might find yourself and your relationship towards others spiraling down.

People sometimes misconstrue opinions as facts simply because of the way it is delivered. If you noticed, the tone and volume of your voice when you make such statements need to be high as if there is a need to emphasize because of lack of credibility. In detail, opinions are rather weak because it only focuses on what someone thinks — disregarding a consensus and unanimous view. That is why we often initiate our sentences with disclaimers using phrases like “I think” or “I believe” which might seem indicators of self-mistrust and personal judgment respectively. How do we differentiate facts from opinions?

Obviously, facts are statements that can be quantified as either true or false. Usually, facts are delivered with an affirmative voice, with humbled confidence, and are straightforward. This is because facts are usually derived or inferred from data, an experience, or a relevant study. Opinion, on the other hand, is an expression of someone’s feelings or emotions that may or may not really be true. The basis of an opinion is usually a perception — how someone perceives it, which, of course, is not as solid as factual data. On rare occasions, opinions can be based on facts but can often be meant to deliberately mislead others. As such, one should be conscious of their purpose, choice of language, and tone of voice when delivering opinions since interpretations can vary from person to person.

The tone of voice plays an important role in delivering any speech. In a conversation, voice tone is often neglected since everyone is just having a good time sharing stories but as they say, it is all just fun and games until someone gets hurt, or offended. In most verbal exchanges, it is not only the message that should be carefully crafted but rather how you say it as well as the impression or register to the audience who is listening to you. In any case, when you feel like you just have to say something as an opinion, ensure that the situation warrants it first.

Opinions do not really matter because culturally, whatever you do or where you go, it is as if you will always be judged. When you orchestrate or mold yourself into someone the society expects you to be, you will still be judged with your every walk, smile, and in every aspect. That is the reality. You get good grades in the classroom and you will be tagged as a nerd; low scores and you will be called a loser. Girls hanging out with male friends would appear shameful or characterless for some, while those who keep up with her all-girls peers would be mistaken for being plain backward. Some will even consider you fake if you are being too nice to other people and call you arrogant if you like your time alone. These are common conundrums that paradoxically happen daily. Sadly, opinions are everywhere and it is almost as if facts may not even matter to most people.

Setting the tone of the conversation can go a long way in facilitating opinion-based conversations. A true conversation allows for respect, turn-taking, and a lot of agreeing to disagree moments. It should follow the conventions of the politeness principle by Robin Lakoff (1942) who devised three maxims that should be in control of any conversation to avoid conflict and negating forces. These maxims include:

  • Do not impose;
  • Give the receiver options;
  • And make the receiver feel good.

These are paramount in making good interactions in today’s times when speech really has a grating voice, in different mediums and can easily be uttered without any consideration. Remember that not only an opinion can break the cycle of a conversation, your response, more so, does too. Luckily, we can always take note of the following tips when confronted with verbal kung-fu:

  1. Use hedges.
    Hedges are short phrases that you can incorporate in your speech or sentences to allow for a warm tone like “it seems like”, “perhaps” or I may be mistaken but…” etc.
  2. Super-polite word forms.
    To sound sincere and kind, use these:
    “I hope you don’t mind”, “If it’s not too much to ask…”, “Is it okay if…?”
  3. Apologize more than you can.
    Apologies are like markers to indicate a respectful approach, practice these:
    “I’m sorry but…”, “I apologize if we are on different pages”, “I’m afraid that…”
  4. Speak less frequently.
    Learning how to keep your opinions to yourself is tantamount to forgiving the other person for how he or she perceives things.

These are only some but you see, words that are conscious and considerate can mitigate the negative impact one speech can entail. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, that is a fact. It is your right and privilege but you also have to ask yourself if it is always worth your time and effort delivering it.

All in all, the truth is that some people will not agree about who you are, what you say, and will never approve of what you do but in the bigger picture, these do not matter anyway. No one wants to be living to please someone else. The best advice you can give yourself is to do whatever it is that makes you feel right, happy, and fulfilled. After all, the decisions and choices that you think need other people’s opinions are going to be dealt with by you, not them so if there are consequences and bad turnouts that might rise up, it is not their stories to tell. Take things lightly, with confidence, and with a grain of salt. Give yourself the freedom to act honestly and truthfully because, at the end of the day, it is your intentions that can make your heart gold. Knowing that you are true to your own skin and unheeding others, you will find yourself sleeping with peace in your mind and only even more love in your mind.

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Bash Sarmiento is a writer and an educator from Manila. He writes laconic pieces in the education, lifestyle, and health realms. His academic background and extensive experience in teaching, textbook evaluation, business management, and traveling are translated into his works.

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