Being truthful to yourself is vital, but being truthful to others can be quite painful. People don’t always want to hear your opinion (even if that is the truth), so here is a tutorial on how to avoid being a dick, while still maintaining your integrity. A few questions you can ask yourself before opening your mouth and speaking that opinion that is right on your tongue:
1. Ask yourself, is it necessary to express your opinion? What will happen when you state your opinion? When your friend or boyfriend or girlfriend comes home completely happy with new clothes, puts them on and asks you whether you like them, it’s not necessary to say that you don’t like them. After all, what will they gain by knowing your opinion? They obviously like the clothes, so it will only result in crushing their self-esteem. I personally hate people who bluntly tell me the truth: how is it going to help me to know they think my hair looks awful today? It doesn’t. If your opinion is going to help the other person in life or in that moment, you should say it. If your opinion is only going to make them feel hurt and not help them, keep it to yourself.
2. Ask yourself, how can you phrase your opinion so that it doesn’t hurt the other person? Whenever stating your opinion, it is a good idea to phrase it in such a way that the other person does not feel offended or hurt. There are many ways of telling people how you feel or what the truth is that don’t require you saying things bluntly to their face. How do you do this? Stating your opinion can definitely help other people, so don’t be afraid to do it when it’s necessary! But stating your opinion in such a way that it is constructive and not destructive is a delicate art. Here are a few tips that can help you phrase your opinion:
- Ask ignorant questions. Acting as if you don’t know about something often helps. When I was confronted with someone gloriously talking about Twilight, I had difficulties containing myself because I don’t like the books nor the movies. However, that person did and it was annoying me that they were speaking about it as if it was as good as The Lord of the Rings, so I wanted to point out to them what was wrong with it. I didn’t, however, put this in an aggressive way, because I asked them “Isn’t it true that the movies often have long pauses with no dialogue or music and that makes it incredibly slow?” and “But what about that part where an old guy falls in love with a baby?” and “I heard the book was very repetitive?”. This way, I did not attack the person, but I did mention everything that I thought was wrong with the whole concept (I admit, I asked a dozen more questions). I didn’t create a hostile atmosphere, however, so I didn’t ruin our friendship.
- Cushion the blow. Don’t say things straight to someone’s face, dress them up a little. Instead of saying you hate something, say you had no particularly good feelings for it. You don’t “hate” it when people think songs are famous because they were in Glee, you don’t particularly like that. Of course when you are with other people who hate it as well, feel free to express your hatred, but to avoid incredible arguments and stating your negative opinion to others, you can just put it delicately. There will always be people who hate stuff and people who like it a lot, and neither benefit much from knowing the other’s opinion in their face. If you subtly phrase your opinion, people are less likely to be insulted or offended by it and more likely to agree or at least value it.
To conclude, I would like to state that I don’t think Facebook should have a dislike button that everyone keeps asking for, because (this will sound quite soft) there are already enough places on the internet where you can dislike things together.