Disrespecting Opinions

Finch
There's a lot of talk these days about "disrespecting" or "respecting" opinions and how important, or unfair, it is. However, let's take a minute to set things straight...

It is not possible to respect or disrespect an opinion. An opinion is an abstract concept wherein you form a view or judgment about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. Meaning: an opinion is YOUR specific thought on a topic; opinions cannot be right or wrong, only agreed with or disagreed with. Now that all sounds pretty simple and easy to understand - and many readers will leave it at that and skim or skip the rest of this thinking they know where we're going... but hear me out.

You can agree with my opinion about something, or you can disagree with it. Those are your two options. Respect comes when you recognize my privilege to HAVE an opinion, regardless of what it is. I can SHOW you respect by not (incorrectly) telling you that your opinion is inherently wrong - because it cannot be. Alternately, I can show you disrespect by pretending that your opinion is somehow wrong. This is not the same as agreeing or disagreeing in that if I agree, I am saying that we both share the same subjective thoughts about something. Disagreement can come in the form of my perspective or preferences being different than yours. I can then, if I disagree with you, tell you my thoughts on the subject and explain why I think the way I do - even try to persuade you to change your views to agree with me - but if I ever tell you that you are WRONG about your opinion, then I am being ignorant and don't understand that a subjective opinion CANNOT BE WRONG.

To sum up, it is not possible to respect or disrespect an opinion. You can only respect someone's privilege to have an opinion, and you can only agree or disagree with what that opinion is.

Moving forward, if someone disagrees with you, fine. Let them explain their point of view; it will either change your mind or it won't. Either way, you'll come out of the exchange stronger for what you believe. If they tell you you're wrong or stupid for thinking the way you do, know that they just don't understand the concept of an opinion. If you are the one disagreeing, remember that someone cannot be wrong about their opinion. We all have the privilege to have our own opinions (ie. this building is better than that building) but not our own facts (ie. this building is taller than that building). So don't be an idiot and confuse the two and pretend that the TV show, movie, game, character, song, album, etc. you like is somehow objectively better than anything else. It's only your opinion.

Comments

But that counteracts the idea of The Policy - 2storm

I'm generally referring to personal interactions where there are different rules as opposed to behavior on a website owned by a person or company (assuming you are referring to someone telling you you're stupid for your opinions...) - Finch

I've known quite a bit of people on other sites where certain opinionated people keep to their opinions and never let go of them. I guess I let it go there but then they force their opinion thinking it's the objective truth, and that's where things are inherently wrong. It's really bad if I can't politely express my own. - Nonpointed

An important thing to remember is that nobody can "force their opinion" on you. You can listen, or you can not. Just as you can agree or you can disagree. Someone may believe their opinion is a fact and act as such but that is their own mistake. - Finch

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