Let me set the scene. Daughter is away at college- about her first week. The following is a skype call.
Daughter– Mom- What’s your opinion on Sorority’s?
Mom– I don’t like them. They’re degrading. They force you to do things that you wouldn’t normally do. Have you heard the stories about rush? Why would anyone want to be in a sorority. You auditioned for a dance group. Those will be your friends, the other people in the dance group. Why would you need any other friends? There is no reason to join a sorority- it’s just a big party circle. And they’re not really popular at your school. If I were you I wouldn’t join a sorority. But, it’s your choice. Do whatever you want.
Now, I realize the kid asked for an opinion. But….is this an opinion, or is this a diatribe?
What’s the nature of an opinion? I think of an opinion as a particular take on any given subject. I have been know to overtly state my opinion on just about everything, even though no one has asked me for my opinion. (note to self- why is no one asking me for my opinion on anything?) So, I’m making a distinction that some people write from a particular viewpoint, and they don’t care what anybody thinks….they just articulate.
What if someone asks you your opinion?
How do you answer?
Do you present your side in a logical format, with as little personal bias as possible? Or is personal experience/reflection crucial to an opinion?
If you do not like the idea of something, how vehemently would you state your distaste? Would you say something like Why in the world do you want to do that? Is making someone feel ignorant part of voicing an opinion?
At what point does an “opinion” become manipulative? We all know the power of words, but should an opinion persuade someone in one direction or another?
And then there is the person giving the opinion. If you are asking the person you trust most in the world, does this opinion carry so much weight that you will do exactly what this person “suggested”? Should you get multiple opinions before making a decision? Do some people ask opinions of those that are of like mind, so they’re going to get the opinion they are leaning towards anyway?
Back in the real world, I think my friend is so opposed to even the idea of a sorority that she is manipulating her child into not trying. Which is her right, but is it fair? Is it really acting in her daughter’s best interest?
Of course, I told my friend that I thought she was being a little over dramatic. Ok- my talking to her could be described as over-dramatic. I won’t repeat here what I actually said to my friend (but really could explain why no one asks for my opinion) But, the short version is, I told her that a “better” answer might be “I don’t like the idea of a sorority because I have heard some horrible stories about rush, and I don’t like the idea of you being in a situation that you may not know how to handle.” And I don’t know if mine is better, but I don’t think her version was the right way to go.
What’s your opinion? What is an opinion?