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Thread: Being Opinionated - is it such a bad thing?

  1. #1

    Default Being Opinionated - is it such a bad thing?

    In online debates, real life conversation, news articles etc. (the list goes on), I've seen 'opinionated' used as a criticism of people, and I personally don't see it as a bad trait, at least not an inherently bad one.

    I generally find that people who are opinionated enjoy debate, have strong views and engage with a number of topics, and are often more enjoyable and interesting to converse with than individuals who are either disinterested in many issues, or else avoid voicing the opinions they have. Maybe that's partly a result of my being quite outspoken and passionate in discussions and debates, but I certainly gravitate more towards people who are openly passionate and candid about their own notions.

    I understand that certain opinions are inappropriate or inadvisable to voice in particular situations or around some specific individuals, but in no way do I believe that being outspoken or opinionated is overall a bad trait. That's especially true if someone is knowledgeable and/or passionate about a subject being discussed. I find this idea that keeping opinions to yourself is a naturally polite thing strange as well. Politeness is the art of being thoughtful, tactful and phrasing things in a non-antagonistic manner, not avoiding giving an opinion on issues.

    How do fellow ADISCers feel about this? I realise I might be in a minority with the above stance, but it would be interesting to hear what others think of being opinionated or of interacting with people who would be considered 'opinionated'. In other words, I'd enjoy seeing your opinions on this!

  2. #2

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    I am very very strongly opposed to ever taking an opinionated stance on anything. Just kidding

    I think that at its best, being opinionated shows someone who has taken the time to carefully consider their beliefs and is willing to discuss and defend them.

    Unfortunately, opinionatedness (is that a word?) gets a bad reputation because of dogmatic individuals who are completely unwilling to consider any view which differs from their own.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by bean View Post
    Unfortunately, opinionatedness (is that a word?) gets a bad reputation because of dogmatic individuals who are completely unwilling to consider any view which differs from their own.
    I completely agree, but I don't think that's a fault of opinionated individuals, but simply the case that people often confuse being opinionated with being closed-minded. Sure, some opinionated people do have very rigid and inflexible attitudes to the views of others, but I'd say that's just symptomatic of a large number of people (whether they be out outspoken or quiet) being self-centered, which again, is another trait erroneously linked to being opinionated.

  4. #4

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    Being opinionated is defined as "characterized by conceited assertiveness and dogmatism."

    I think the key word there is conceited. In my view, there is nothing wrong with having an opinion, and expressing it, and enjoying lively debate, but being opinionated means to be vain about it. It means being right at all costs, regardless of the others feelings or veiws.

    Example: Say you're down the shops and you see a little girl or boy with their parents. They want a toy, and are getting whiny about it. The parent says 'You'd better behave or Santa won't be coming this year'. Now let's assume that you don't believe in letting children have the fantasy of Santa (as many people don't), that doesn't give you the right to tell that child that Santa doesn't exist. Just because you're right, and it's your opinion that children shouldn't be lied to in such a way, doesn't give you the right to go around telling other peoples children about Santa not being real.

    Now, for the dogmatic part. "Inclined to lay down principles as undeniably true." That seems like someone who isn't willing to listen to facts or research, or to hear other people out. Someone who will just have their own one opinion and that is law as far as they are concerned.

    At the end of the day, opinionated isn't a compliment because it's not designed to be one. It doesn't mean, simply, that you have an opinion that you're knowledgable and willing to debate on, but instead that you've decided something, possibly without proper research, and will tell everyone and anyone about it and not listen to veiwpoints that don't support your own.

    Example: You read on the internet about all those Christians that say 'in x part of the bible we must do this'. Perhaps you know one or two of them, and want to counter their point by quoting another part of the bible. An opinionated person is the person who will turn right back around and say that that's not how that passage was meant to be interpreted. Because it's not in their interests to listen to you.

  5. #5

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    I have been sees as such too and when I look it up, it's another word for prejudice, bigoted, inflexible, narrow minded, arrogant. How are these good? Also the definition of the word doesn't look good either.

    If more than one person has pointed any of these out to you, then it's time to rethink of your communication and how you come off as. But I think some people just don't like to discuss things and hear your point of view and don't like anyone having a different opinion than them which I think is ironic so they call you argumentative or opinionated or see you as closed minded or thinking you don't get different perspectives. But should you stop? I think not but that means you have to learn to accept not everyone will like it and will think these things about you. But there will be other people who won't get this perception of you because they like to discuss things and hear your views, etc. Some people just don't like someone not agreeing with them or not sharing the same view.

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    So being opinionated means not changing your view. I think everyone is opinionated then because we all have our opinion and stick with it and nothing can change it unless we know for sure it's correct. Like I doubt anyone can convince me that it should be illegal to be homeless and that all homeless people are lazy and refuse to have jobs when I know for a fact that anyone can be homeless and it can happen to anyone and the fact lot of them have a mental illness and have no families to help them out and the fact someone has no way of getting a job if they don't have an address or phone to get one and have no friends or family who can help them get on their feet. When my ex boyfriend expressed his hate and disgust on the homeless and how it should be illegal, I told him how anyone can end up homeless so not all homeless people are jobless and my parents could have been considered homeless when we sold our house and had to move out but we stayed with a friend until our new house was finished being built and they had jobs so instead of living in a hotel room for ten weeks, we stayed with one of my dad's friends.

    My ex then thought I was self centered and always had to be right and he saw me as opinionated. All I was doing was trying to educate him because his view was very ignorant and his comments, ooo so horrible and judgmental about the homeless. So you see, I didn't change my view on the homeless because of him and I think everyone has opinions they stick too and will not change.

    I don't think I am obligated to change my view. What if someone told me the sky was red? Should I now believe the sky is red because I had to consider their viewpoint?

  6. #6

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    In my experience folks don't mind opinionated people unless they disagree with them.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talula View Post
    Being opinionated is defined as "characterized by conceited assertiveness and dogmatism."


    Quote Originally Posted by Calico View Post
    ... when I look it up, it's another word for prejudice, bigoted, inflexible, narrow minded, arrogant. How are these good?
    Looks like we either have to come up with a more neutral word to describe "expressing one's opinion" or change the meaning of "opinionated". Expressing opinions is all we ever do in debates. Some people think they have the evidence on their side but that is just another one of their opinions, IMHO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    Looks like we either have to come up with a more neutral word to describe "expressing one's opinion" or change the meaning of "opinionated". Expressing opinions is all we ever do in debates. Some people think they have the evidence on their side but that is just another one of their opinions, IMHO.

    Well they are synonyms which means similar. It just helps me understand the meaning better of the word because I don't always understand the definition of a word so I have to look deeper into the words and meanings and thesaurus helps.

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    It's like how people will say naive when they mean ignorant because naive is a nicer word. I think opinionated would be a nicer word to use than calling someone a bigot or prejudice.

  9. #9

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    I'm not quite sure that having or expressing an opinion and being opinionated are the same. Opinionated generally seems to follow with belligerence and arrogance....where expressing an opinion, while showing some conviction toward that, just demonstrates character IMHO lol.

    It's good to have diverse opinion especially together with an openness to listen to the views of others.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vic92 View Post
    In my experience folks don't mind opinionated people unless they disagree with them.
    I'll hold my hands up and admit to this myself. If someone's angry and opinionated on a cause I can get behind I'm not so bothered by it, but if it's something that I really disagree with then I'm not so keen.



    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    Looks like we either have to come up with a more neutral word to describe "expressing one's opinion" or change the meaning of "opinionated". Expressing opinions is all we ever do in debates. Some people think they have the evidence on their side but that is just another one of their opinions, IMHO.
    To express oneself, is what I would personally use. He/she is not afraid to express their opinion.



    Quote Originally Posted by ozbub View Post
    I'm not quite sure that having or expressing an opinion and being opinionated are the same. Opinionated generally seems to follow with belligerence and arrogance....where expressing an opinion, while showing some conviction toward that, just demonstrates character IMHO lol.

    It's good to have diverse opinion especially together with an openness to listen to the views of others.
    You're absolutely right. At the end of the day, language is always in evolution, and although currently opinionated might well mean dogmatic and vain, etc, in the future it might well come to be used as a word to just say that someone has a strong opinion. It's an interesting thought.

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