Wednesday, November 19, 2008

O is for Opinions - Know What They Are and What They're Not

There is a certain kind of person in the world who simply does not know the difference between an opinion and a fact.  This kind of person is certain of his or her rightness.  And is willing to argue forever.

But here's the thing.  There is a difference.  A fact can be proven to be right or wrong.  An opinion?  Is just a feeling.  And no amount of arguing is really going to change that. 

And the problem really only goes one way, doesn't it?  People will say that, say, spicy food is wrong, as though that is a provable fact, but they don't ever feel that Ann Arbor is the capitol of Michigan.

Alan and I once had a customer show up at our bread table, in the early days of our little business at the farmer's market.  I told her what varieties were available and when I mentioned the Walnut and Raisin, she looked me dead in the eye and said, "Putting raisins in bread is just WRONG."

This has become shorthand in our house for "I hold this particular opinion very strongly and nothing you can say or do will ever, ever change my mind so don't even try."

It's also code for "That person? Sucks all the air out of the room and is to be avoided at all costs."

Facts can be measured, proven, seen, corrected.

Opinions, while fun to hold and sometimes even air, are just feelings and most attempts to change the opinions of others are foolhardy and downright rude.

I think if more people could learn this crucial difference there'd be a whole lot less screaming in the streets.

Of course, that's just my opinion.....


Jamie said...

Haha! That's my opinion too. Well said.

Barb McMahon said...

Thanks Jamie!