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Buttercup
2010-Dec-23, 02:55 PM
Please read this carefully if you are going to reply.

It's not my intention to attack. Am simply wanting to express something here.

Overly opinionated people worry me. I mean the sort who confuse their opinion with fact. As if because they believe something or see things a certain way, it is (indisputably). :rolleyes: And they cannot be persuaded otherwise: You. Are. Wrong // They. Are. Right.

An in-law has become opinionated to the point of serious close-mindedness imo. :( Her opinions are facts. The natural gasline explosion in a California neighborhood a few months ago? It was a bomb. Yep: A terrorist bomb. She's not speculating or offering a possibility; she's stating a fact (in her mind).

My parents were extremely opinionated and it turned me off to that. Aside from science and empiricism, how can people be so certain they are correct? And everyone who disagrees with them is wrong? And that everyone around them cares about their opinions?

What is that more of: Arrogance? Insecurity?

People like that seem to view it as strength; as if it makes them better and smarter. I think it tends towards weakness, and is unsettling to me. Everyone has opinions to some degree of course; natural and unavoidable (I try for a healthy level).

Guess I just can't be THAT CERTAIN about everything! And I'm glad...(keeps the mind open and willing to learn)

Strange
2010-Dec-23, 03:35 PM
Maybe you need one of these: http://badscience2.spreadshirt.co.uk/i-think-you-ll-find-it-s-a-bit-more-complicated-than-that-A8097896

But that's just my opinion...

Buttercup
2010-Dec-23, 03:48 PM
Maybe you need one of these: http://badscience2.spreadshirt.co.uk/i-think-you-ll-find-it-s-a-bit-more-complicated-than-that-A8097896

But that's just my opinion...

Lol! :) I like it and might order one. And wear it next time that in-law drops by. :p

Fazor
2010-Dec-23, 04:00 PM
I have a few family members like that. I guess I should be thankful, because like you, it turned me of to it. I'll state my opinion or point of view. I'll defend it. But once I've given all I can offer, or all I can counter with, that's it. I really don't care if the other person never agrees with me or sees it my way. That's the great thing about an opinion; it's yours and yours alone.

But it still annoys me when someone just assumes their opinion is the correct one. I listen to sports radio while I'm at work. Unfortunately, "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" is on for the majority of the morning (10:00 to 13:00), and he's very much like that. Which means often, even when I agree with one of his opinions, I disagree with him because he doesn't back them up. It's just "This is how it is. Everyone else is below me. I'm on Radio so I have to be right."

Not sure if he's really like that, or if it's part of his on-air "persona", but to be honest, I have the speakers turned off for a good part of the show. Or I'll go listen to my history podcasts.

Buttercup
2010-Dec-23, 04:14 PM
But it still annoys me when someone just assumes their opinion is the correct one.

...yes, and as though another person's opinion (or stated viewpoint) just does not matter. Brushed off and disregarded without even pausing to consider an alternate POV. The in-law I mentioned is getting worse about this. When she visits, I let her talk 90% of the conversation. {{shrugs}} I don't have anything to prove. She is otherwise a good person and has been an excellent in-law to me. I'm more concerned about her than anything. My husband is just as opinionated as her (they're sibs obviously), and so I mostly just sit back and let them try and power-over each other. :lol: I figure they think they know everything anyway...

I'm concerned she is seriously closing off her mind. And considering her educational level, it's surprising and sad. The flat-out pronouncement that the natural gasline explosion in Calif was a bomb -- it was! -- shocked me. She should have better critical thinking skills than that.


I listen to sports radio while I'm at work. Unfortunately, "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" is on for the majority of the morning (10:00 to 13:00), and he's very much like that.

Thanks for the warning. :hand: Never heard of him.

rommel543
2010-Dec-23, 06:32 PM
I've had to deal with people like that quite a few times in the past. When you start having a conversation with them you quite quickly find out how opinionated they are. Most of the time I let them make their opinions and I leave the conversation. If I'm feeling particularly confrontational though I will engage them, making them prove their point. I've gotten into quite heated "discussions" in the past this way. For example in your case I would ask your sister-inlaw how does she know that it was a bomb. Was there reports of people hanging around in the area before hand? Was there a report regarding possible arson or terrorist actions? There have been gas pipe-line explosions in the past, one of which not too far from where my parents live. In fact their neighbor, how worked for Tans-Canada Pipeline at the time, was working in the control boot at the time of the explosion and just barely got out of the building before the line blew. Micro-fractures in the line from the constant stress caused the line to burst, no terrorist activity.

From my experience people who are that opinionated tend to be looking for a fight and if you aren't comfortable with confrontation it's best to stay away.

Gillianren
2010-Dec-23, 06:42 PM
I have two categories which come into play here. There is "always right" and "never wrong." The Always Right person actually is, because they are well-read, well-spoken, and disinclined to make pronouncements of fact when they don't have the necessary information. If they are wrong, they're willing to admit it and correct themselves accordingly. The Never Wrong person just never admits that they are wrong. No matter what. Even if you are able to bring out documentation. I once corrected my boyfriend's brother about a minor point of Elizabethan weaponry. Now, I'm not an expert on weaponry of that era and have never claimed to be. However, I have done quite a lot of low-level research on the history of the era and am a high-level amateur. He told me he was right and I was wrong because a friend of his was an expert on Japanese weaponry from that same time period. So I was wrong.

Family gatherings have taught me that I can't do anything about Never Wrong people. I just talk to the family members who are neither whenever possible; he doesn't have any Always Right family members.

Hlafordlaes
2010-Dec-23, 09:14 PM
I, too, am appalled by people with damaged critical thinking skills, especially if they are old enough to know better.

But I find myself in a bit of a quandary with respect to the bull-headed. The vast majority of monetarily successful people I have met (at least those from professional management as opposed to entrepreneurs) are about as resistant to self-critique, let alone healthy doubt, as Superman is to bullets. For years I wondered why organizations so led do not fail miserably in short order. In the end, I concluded that the tendency to blindly insist on the impossible, even the absurd, works. Perhaps this because a lot of actual thinking people behind them go to great creative lengths, not to mention inordinate amounts of overtime, to make lemonade of the lemons.

Thus I explain to myself how evolution did not cull all the dolts from the gene pool.

Solfe
2010-Dec-23, 09:16 PM
I think the issue is family can break all the rules of polite society and still hang around for years on end. ;)

Paul Beardsley
2010-Dec-23, 09:20 PM
Interesting thought, Hlafordlaes. Depressing if true...

I have a colleague who is an otherwise very nice woman but she's quite sarcastic about people who believe Apollo really landed men on the moon. If the subject comes up again, I will tell her, politely, that she has damaged critical thinking skills.

Cougar
2010-Dec-23, 09:44 PM
From my experience people who are that opinionated tend to be looking for a fight ...

I don't know. It could be an insecurity. Need for control....

danscope
2010-Dec-24, 01:27 AM
Yes, a combination of control freak , and loss or damage of critical thinking skills.
On the gas line accident; ask her if she has ever heard of the concept of a Federal investigation into explosions like that for a scientific examination of the facts , and a report in due course. Sounds to me like she chooses to " Shoot from the Hip " . Impulse displaces quantified judgement , with a subcurrent of ego in the mix .
Yoda would say..... " No. Too old. Too old to begin a training . " :)

Best regards,
Dan

baric
2010-Dec-24, 04:10 AM
I reached the point long ago where I was tired of letting opinionated friends or relatives run roughshod over reality while I stood by passively.

Now, I challenge them. Generally I start with an interested "Oh, really?" and "How do you know that?"

If they don't have a source ("I just know that it is"), then I follow up with something more authoratitive like, "oh, I read/heard that it was actually xxxx" and then throw them a lifeline like "but I can see how it would look the other way at first"

But if they give a source, I actively look it up or ask them for details. At this point, I am playing the role of Socrates and gently conversing with them in a way to show that maybe they don't really know what they think they know.

They either realize that 1) maybe their source is not so infallible or 2) they stop spouting their opinions around me.

In other words, win-win. Well, plus I have the satisfaction of turning the tables, so win-win-win.

Please understand that I can be tenacious, though.

Tinaa
2010-Dec-24, 12:31 PM
Same with me Baric. If a good friend or relative tells me something outrageous, I now challenge them. People believe some really crazy woo-woo stuff. If someone starts spouting Hoagland, Stitchin or Velikovsky nonsense my estimate of their intelligence goes way down. I usually decide the conversation isn't even worthy of my time.

gzhpcu
2010-Dec-24, 12:57 PM
I think the Mark Twain quote in my signature sums it up well.... :)

Buttercup
2010-Dec-24, 01:23 PM
I reached the point long ago where I was told of letting opinionated friends or relatives run roughshod over reality while I stood by passively.

Now, I challenge them. Generally I start with an interested "Oh, really?" and "How do you know that?"

For me, it depends on the person and topic.

My rule of thumb is: Pick your battles wisely.

In the case of my sis-in-law, to have challenged her regarding the gasline explosion would likely result in her either becoming extremely inflamed/angry OR automatically changing the topic (and hence no discussion). When she's in this mode there's no winning. Also, there is a jealousy issue (our backgrounds) and she'd likely become highly resentful -- as if I'm personally attacking her. Once I set my teeth into a matter, I won't let go; and ultimately she and I discussing her opinion would be like my mother vs. Aunt Ruth...and we're not going there. ;)

My polite avoidance of her pronouncements and opinionating often seems to work indirectly because she seems to realize maybe she's overdoing it, and sometimes she'll back down or ask my opinion. And some of this is her bitterness "talking." I can't see the sense in antagonizing her, unless it were a really serious issue; then I would engage her.

geonuc
2010-Dec-24, 03:39 PM
Thankfully, I don't think I currently interact with anyone like who Buttercup describes.

I believe it's likely that most people who hold on to incorrect or unsubstantiated opinions a little too fervently are compensating for an inadequacy in their own ability to reason things out.

Buttercup
2010-Dec-24, 04:12 PM
Thankfully, I don't think I currently interact with anyone like who Buttercup describes.

I believe it's likely that most people who hold on to incorrect or unsubstantiated opinions a little too fervently are compensating for an inadequacy in their own ability to reason things out.

Yeah, it's mostly just sad. Added to the mix is her recently graduating with a Bachelors Degree in education (sincere congragulations). She seems to want to use that as "cred" or weight in her opinions (about any topic). But she tries to restrain that impulse because I didn't cop any attitudes on her when I outranked her in formal education (which was nearly 17 years of our being in-laws).

If the conversation can't be mostly straightforward and unhindered by who has this or that, or who HAD this or that, why bother? To her credit she does try to withhold rivalry impulses...and I'm not interested in tweaking her otherwise, lol.

Gillianren
2010-Dec-24, 05:55 PM
Thankfully, I don't think I currently interact with anyone like who Buttercup describes.

Not even here?


I believe it's likely that most people who hold on to incorrect or unsubstantiated opinions a little too fervently are compensating for an inadequacy in their own ability to reason things out.

I'm given to understand that my boyfriend's brother is perfectly personable to a friend of mine. I have not yet worked out what combination of personal details combines to produce his attitude toward me. Is it because I'm female? Is it specifically because I'm his brother's girlfriend? Is it because I'm more educated? Well, that one can't be it unless he doesn't realize my friend graduated from college, too. Is it that I'm enough smarter to intimidate him? Some combination thereof? Or is it something about my friend? Not, you understand, that I obsess about this. It's just a curiosity that I think about now and again.

TJMac
2010-Dec-24, 06:01 PM
"Opinionated" people exist in droves. Maybe it's a reluctance to realize we may be wrong. I learned a long time ago, that an open mouth just invites a foot. Often enough, it's about totally unimportant things. For instance, I have friends that will not own any motorcycle other than a Harley. "Jap bikes are crap!", and the reverse, "Harleys are pure junk!", I wouldnt own one. And they mean it with sincerity.

Many people will hear any urban legend, and just assume its true. I had to explain to someone last week that breast implants will NOT explode inside the pressurized cabin of a commercial airflight. :doh:

I am so very much not qualified to say what makes a person like that. I doubt there is just one reason. I do know, that for the most part, I just let them talk, and move on, like listening to the neighborhood dogs bark as I walk by. They make noise, I go on, no harm done. If it's important, and may affect other people, then I will draw a line in the sand.

Of course, thats just my opinion, but I know Im right. :lol:

TJ

Nick Theodorakis
2010-Dec-24, 06:09 PM
People who think they know everything are annoying to those of us who actually do. ;)

Nick

Perikles
2010-Dec-24, 07:27 PM
Many people will hear any urban legend, and just assume its true. I find that a remarkable number of people cannot discern between information sources, and that, to them, all information is of equal value regardless of the source. The internet, the man in the pub, the worst newspaper, a scientific journal, all taken on equal level. This leads to being opinionated, and with the increasing amount of information/rubbish available, I can only see things getting worse. I shall soon be the only person who knows what he is talking about, if that has not already happened.

danscope
2010-Dec-24, 08:24 PM
Hi Perikles , I think you have said it so well. Too often, people don't comprehend the nature of the " sources" they hold to be knowledgeable" .

For myself, I like to see some corroboration in main stream sources . This works better .
At "Cheers" , Norm and Cliff are friendly. Are they knowledgeable ? Hmmmm.......

geonuc
2010-Dec-24, 08:26 PM
Not even here?


Good point. I was thinking of flesh & blood interactions. Given the size of the BAUT membership and the number of frequent posters, there are certainly many here who could fit Buttercup's description. But I'm not heavily invested in BAUT, so I can easily ignore them. Also, I don't participate in ATM or CT and I imagine there is where I'd find most of those we're talking about.

Trakar
2010-Dec-24, 08:53 PM
i think the issue is family can break all the rules of polite society and still hang around for years on end. ;)

roflol

bingo!

Trakar
2010-Dec-24, 09:03 PM
People who think they know everything are annoying to those of us who actually do. ;)

Nick

More than this, though indirectly reflected in your quote, opinionated people seem most irritating and annoying to other (though differently) opinionated people. So if you find yourself becoming increasingly frustrated and annoyed by others forcefully expressing their opinions you might need to take a peek in the mirror before blaming the problem entirely upon their actions.

manxman
2010-Dec-25, 06:07 AM
i just tell them to shutup, and remember whose home they are in, and if they dont like that they know where the door is.

Gillianren
2010-Dec-25, 08:01 AM
Which is fine and dandy if you're interested in severing relations and are in your own home at the time.

cosmocrazy
2010-Dec-25, 03:36 PM
I have no problem with other people's opinions as long as they are in agreement with my own! :lol:

baric
2010-Dec-26, 01:52 AM
For me, it depends on the person and topic.

My rule of thumb is: Pick your battles wisely.

Oh, I definitely agree with this! For example, I slid down the Christian -> Agnostic -> Atheist slippery slope years ago and I am well-versed in the religion/creationism types of arguments. But at the same time, I understand how useful and important religious beliefs are to others, even if I don't share them, so I never engage in religious disagreements unless they explicitly start treading on my personal ground.


In the case of my sis-in-law, to have challenged her regarding the gasline explosion would likely result in her either becoming extremely inflamed/angry OR automatically changing the topic (and hence no discussion). When she's in this mode there's no winning.

Changing the topic is a win, imo. Extremely angry just opens up a "why are you getting so upset? Do you expect everyone to agree with you on everything?" line of discussion.


Also, there is a jealousy issue (our backgrounds) and she'd likely become highly resentful -- as if I'm personally attacking her. Once I set my teeth into a matter, I won't let go; and ultimately she and I discussing her opinion would be like my mother vs. Aunt Ruth...and we're not going there. ;)

Ya, you do have my sympathy! But like I said, I got tired long ago of letting that stuff slide. If they get upset just because I disagree with them, that's their problem, not mine. It took me a while to realize that I will never get everyone to like me, no matter how hard I try so I fight the battles that seem important and do so diplomatically, but without apology.

Buttercup
2010-Dec-28, 02:49 PM
Another aspect in this is my perception that very highly opinionated people are either afraid or angry. My sis-in-law is an angry, bitter person and I think the constant high-level opining is a vehicle for that. I know it somewhat confuses her as to why I mostly keep my views/opinions to myself (what would be the point? she'd quickly dismiss and/or deny, and seek to reassert herself; exercise in futility).

But I just cannot see the point in being angry and wound up about issues I have no control over, aside from the ability to write key officials a letter and/or express it at the voting booth -- which I have done.

I don't understand why she thinks everyone around her has a vested interest in her opinions: As if she's a public official, or expressing opinions at the table will change things in real life. I am certain most people could give a hoot about my opinions...and why should it be otherwise? I'm not governor of this state or something. :lol:


But like I said, I got tired long ago of letting that stuff slide. If they get upset just because I disagree with them, that's their problem, not mine.

True. But it has to be something important, imo (whoops), for me to chime in and/or engage. Because once I set my teeth in, I will go at it. ;)

It's when opining becomes aggressively compulsory in some people that makes me very uneasy...and makes me wonder.

Perikles
2010-Dec-28, 03:54 PM
But I just cannot see the point in being angry and wound up about issues I have no control over, This puts you in a minority category of those who can rationalize. (I am sorely tempted to add some sexist generalizations here, but my rational side is warning me not to ...)

Buttercup
2010-Dec-28, 03:57 PM
(I am sorely tempted to add some sexist generalizations here, but my rational side is warning me not to ...)

:lol: ;)

Gillianren
2010-Dec-28, 06:05 PM
If you don't want to make things better, why bother having an opinion about them at all? Assuming your location is just fangirlness, you probably live somewhere where you have a voice in your government. If you live in a democracy, your representative is supposed to care about your opinion. People acting strongly on their opinions change the world. The opinion you're really having a problem with is "I'm right about everything," which is different from "this thing isn't right and should be made better."

danscope
2010-Dec-28, 06:31 PM
Hi Buttercup,

" You don't have to argue with weak minded individuals who have a bent for arguing their ill thought out opinions. These aren't the droids you were looking for. You can maintain your peacefull mind and serenity in a hectic situation . Your wisdom will see you through. Move along."
The lost counsels of OBI JUAN KENOBI . :)

PS: I have a sister who fancies herself an expert because she reads readers digest in the doctor's office three times a years.
We have all learned not to rattle her cage. It's just "easier" .

Best regards,
Dan

Buttercup
2010-Dec-28, 06:34 PM
The opinion you're really having a problem with is "I'm right about everything," which is different from "this thing isn't right and should be made better."

Exactly. And very well put; thanks.


Danscope: PS: I have a sister who fancies herself an expert because she reads readers digest in the doctor's office three times a years.
We have all learned not to rattle her cage. It's just "easier" .

Agreed. ;)

Ara Pacis
2010-Dec-29, 08:33 AM
I know that I'm one of those "always right" types, except when I'm not right, in which case I figure out what is right, and then I can be always right again. :)

ggremlin
2010-Dec-29, 12:10 PM
Sometimes this works "Why do you want me to agree with you?, I don't demand you agree with me. Please give me the same respect."

Results are 50/50, better if there is an audience.

Gillianren
2010-Dec-29, 07:06 PM
Exactly. And very well put; thanks.

You're welcome. Writing is what I do, after all.