One of my close friends had surgery recently.  Her ailment required the opinions of two specialists.  Of course, each specialist suggested a different path to get to the desired outcome.  By friend was a bit overwhelmed by all the information in front of her and asked the three other members of our little clan to give our thoughts on the process.

What I found interesting about this was the three separate approaches we had to making a decision.

  1. My Approach: I asked her what the pros and cons of each method were- the best case and worst case scenario
  2. Friend 1: She asked a Doctor friend for what he would recommend if the procedure were to be needed by someone he knew
  3. Friend 2: She described  her own issues with surgery and healing, and what her friends who had gone through the same procedure  thought, and did

Three people, three different methods of thought.  All valid. And oddly, all these methods led my friend to the same conclusion (coincidentally, also the decision she and her Husband were leaning towards anyway)

When you make decisions, what are the factors involved? Personally, I  make lists of the possible outcomes. (Yes- I will do anything possible to use a list.  I love lists) I formulate best and worst case scenarios.  I think about acceptable risk. This is the numbers part of me- I can’t help but calculate odds….no matter how hard I try to be a words girl, in the end,it always comes back to numbers.

I read about a subject.  And I read.  And I read. If I need to make a decision I try to read as many varied opinions as possible.

I ask questions. (Shocking that I would ask questions) To me, the greatest knowledge comes from the answers that people give you, both the verbal and the non verbal (if you’re looking at someone, check out the body language) Also, a non answer is also a very telling answer- if someone avoids the question, or gives you an inconclusive answer, what does that say?

And, in the spirit of asking questions: How do you make a decision?  How do you formulate an opinion? If a friend were to ask your advice, what method would you use to help them out?

Is one method superior to another?

I need your opinion: how do you form an opinion?

46 thoughts on “I Need Your Opinion

  1. About someone’s health/surgery, my knowledge and I read a lot of journal articles. I am a sounding board for all my friends.
    About my own decisions, my instincts and vibes. Though I would read up and ask but ultimately go with what feels right to me.

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  2. For decisions of my own I adore lists, pros and cons, research, writing it out, asking questions, data data data. But for a friend, I ask them questions. The decision I might make if I were in their shoes could be drastically different than what they feel would be right for them, and I don’t ever want to pressure a friend to make a decision I think I’d make if they in their gut don’t feel it’s right for them, so if they are asking me my opinion, then my first step is to data gather from them. What are their initial thoughts or feelings? What processing have they already done? What other data have they already gathered? How did they feel about what they’ve already found out? Which way to they think they are leaning? And then I give my perspective from there.

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    1. I was glad that our opinions mirrored what her thoughts were. In the end, I would have told her to go with her thoughts on the process because unless they were bone head moves, my guess is her initial instinct would be the right path

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  3. This can get very complicated……an opinion is just that, what one person feels about something and it is very personal. I would guess she valued all of your opinions, as she was comfortable enough to ask you all. It depends on the situation, but I think if you are asked for an opinion, the person is confident you can help him/her to come to a conclusion. In this case, a medical condition, I think I would seek out the answer much the same way. A trusted medical opinion, weighing out the pros and cons, and experience of others (like a close friend).

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  4. In my experience, medical opinions and legal opinions are two areas where the more you ask the more confused you get. I limit it to three experts, do extensive research on my own, and then follow my instinct. Personal opinions, however, i dish out based on my own experience and value set, which may not always be the same as the person soliciting point of view. Psychology has taught me to first determine who is asking and what are they really after. Women tend to seek support or validation as DBrownell says above, but men seek a solution and their opinions will be formulated accordingly.

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    1. Agreed. I think my friend wanted validation that her thought process was logical, and fortunately we all agreed with what she felt. It’s a tricky thing though

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  5. My partner is a researcher. This is both good and bad. Frankly, sometimes the inactions due to incessant research, or delays in actions, or the whole “too much information” is wearing on me. When is stuff gonna get done? Because with the internet, research is never done.

    Having said that, I think people tend to ask those they trust to give a viewpoint when it comes to personal questions about themselves. Even though I sometimes think they’re leaning toward a decision and the intent of their questions are more about validation than change in course.

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    1. Agree on everything you say. I try to cap my research at 5 sources, and then I decide. There are too many ways to look at information and everything does become jumbled after awhile. We’re going through a little of that now in our house….it’s mind numbing…and yes…I think you ask your closest friends sometimes cause you’re looking for validation. I think we just want someone to say that we’re not crazy…

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  6. I agree, if you ask someone a question and they don’t give you the answer you hoped for or expected, that’ll definitely sharpen the mind, or perhaps be MORE worrying?……. ‘why the reluctance?’ :/ On reflection perhaps receiving an answer is best.

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  7. I too read and ask questions. You have to trust your instincts too. There’s s lot that goes into making a major decision like that. Different people have different ways of thinking about things and that’s good too

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  8. Ultimately I go with my gut. But if this were me, I’d probably seek the advice of multiple doctors until one agreed with me, I suppose.
    Sometimes however you follow people you trust. Like when I was really ill and went to the ER several years back. An X-ray proved I was filled with gall stones. I saw two doctors and my GP. All said I’d die or my gal bladder would burst so in spite of lists taken to each doctor I was only given a short window of time and had the surgery. I happened to be the 1 percent left with a condition afterwards as a result. The good news is I survived and surgery was pretty minor. But for the rest of my life I was left with a digestive side affect that limits me if I want to travel or eat out. It’s not the end of the world, but the reality is, ALL the doctors agreed that I needed surgery. Had it gone the other way I probably would have researched the subject to death and done what suited my personal needs and picked the doctor I liked the best. When it comes to health we are pretty much in the experts hands. I’m not really a list person. However, I use lists so I don’t forget things. I jot down my ideas in an unstructured manner when I write. But, thank goodness for iPhones. Because, before that I’d forget where I put all my lists. Now I just carry them with me all the time. Hooray for technology.

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  9. Interesting dilemma. Regarding medical issues, I have no medical training so my “advice” would be similar to yours. I would ask questions and try to help a friend examine the options rather than give advice. If it’s related to something I’ve been through, I might weigh in with my experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I try to gather as many facts as I can and consider pros and cons. I always try to preface the conversation with “If it were me…” because ultimately it has to be a decision the person will be comfortable with and then I can’t be held responsible if they make the “wrong” decision and say it was because I told them to.

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  11. Medical procedures/issues – I ask (from having worked with medical ethics): will it benefit the patient, might it harm the patient, is the patient able to give informed consent (that is, understanding the truth about the procedure), and is there patient autonomy (the patient’s right to refuse treatment). Good post!

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  12. My biology makes decisions for me. At least that’s what Mr B & Sunshine tell me. Like, I don’t decide chocolate is my favorite ice cream; my biology tells my body that IT likes chocolate.

    So now, when they trie and argue with my opinion, I just tell them they’re fighting my biology 😉

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  13. I follow a similar path. Often I put the decision away for another day and come back and do some more research. If it’s medical, I often look for a support group online. Doc says 2 months to recover, the support group says 6. Doc says 80% success, support group reveals 20% – always helps to ask around :- )

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  14. LA,

    I base my opinion not solely on the facts in front of me, but on how those facts apply to my situation. The math has to fit me, no matter if it makes me an anomaly.
    You’re right on about this situation with your friend, because everybody’s answer is going to differ.

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  15. I’ve had some serious and unexpected medical emergencies in life and found that I work best if I give it over to God. I’m basically a deer in a headlight once I’m in a hospital. But I have this inner will to survive. My hospital stays have been so inspiring because I’ve been able to sit back and watch really talented and compassionate doctors struggle over decisions. I’ve had them visit me quietly in the night and pray for me (in a secular teaching hospital). Almost dying was actually very peaceful. Yeah, so basically I’m horrible at making decisions. LOL.

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  16. I do my own research, speak to people who I think will have a relevant view or who know me well and how I live. Have some discussion, then weigh risk and issues. I work through the stuff I’ve learned and come to a view. It’s a combination of head and heart, really.

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  17. I wouldn’t really recommend my method for making decisions about health/dental procedures, since it goes something like this: freak out that I need to have a procedure at all, worry, fret, complain, worry some more, bitch so much that people walk out of the room when I enter it, and then finally calm down and think rationally about it.
    At that point, I consider the pros and cons and decide what I can live with and what is recommended by the medical professional I trust most, and go with that.

    Liked by 1 person

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