Have you ever heard the phrase, “Don’t force your opinions on me!” in conversation? Possibly directed at you. It is normally said in a way that implies an injustice is being declared because an opinion is being passionately discussed. What is being implied here is that it is fine for a person to have a different opinion, just don’t discuss it with anyone, or don’t share reasons for carrying that opinion.
We have conflicting opinions on varying levels about many topics and with many people, especially with people that share close connections. To not allow someone to have a different opinion to you is considered to be disrespectful, and rightly so… The majority of people realise that they are not the centre of the universe and need to accommodate others around them to exist comfortably.
Forcing an opinion on someone else, I think, happens a lot less then we believe. Where someone actually gets ‘forced’ to accept an opinion is within a situation when a person is actually powerless to do anything except accept that opinion.
The situations that I most hear this phrase used, however, is by competent, intelligent people who are independent in thought and spirit. These are not powerless people. Their response in this situation speaks more volumes about a mind being closed to influence. The risk here is that it can be used to bypass intelligent thought for the sake of suppressing a discussion or topic. There are times when discussions become overwhelming and threatening and it certainly is reasonable to cease the conversation if you wish, but trotting out this phrase does not improve the situation.
There is a big lie that is being covered up by the phrase, “Don’t force your opinions on me.” That lie is that by stopping the conversation, the opinion doesn’t have an effect, or that by not entering into a discussion about any of these opinions that it ceases to affect. This is definitely not true!!!
In fact, by refusing to discuss a particular topic or issue, what is effectively being said is, “I will force my opinion on you and I won’t give you an avenue to communicate how this affects you.” The act of talking about these topics is not and should not be an issue.
The truth that I see around me is we all accommodate and tolerate different opinions, even the ones we don’t have to. By talking about them we can figure out which issues are important and then can either be better understood and so better accommodated or identified as areas of work for both people to maintain a successful community together.
what a rant today…