This semester has been difficult for me when it comes to maintaining new friendships. Recently I have had time to reflect on the friendships and why they ended. I think it is because I am too opinionated for them and they do not respect my opinions because they differ from theirs.
Like I have said in my previous columns, it is entirely possible to be friends with people who are at different ends of the religious and political spectrums. I believe that the reason some people do not get along with others that have different opinions is because they were not raised to respect opinions that differ from their own.
I also think some people grew up without forming their own opinions and instead just believe what their parents do because they have trouble making their own choices or because they were not encouraged to have their own opinions. I was raised to have an opinion on everything and anything, whether it differed from my parents or not. Still to this day, I debate with my mother on certain topics that we differ on. Yet, as opinionated as I am, sometimes I have trouble making simple decisions on topics like paint colors or clothes.
Recently I had a friendship that lasted around a month. This person would always ask my opinion on things but when I gave it to her she would get mad because she disagreed with me. Usually, she would not say why she got mad but then send me an angry text later that night. On the other hand, she did not have opinions at all on several topics, which I still do not comprehend. I prefer to surround myself with opinionated people, because it comes across as passion to me.
We all have something we are passionate about and along with that passion comes an opinion. For example, if you like children you might be opinionated about fighting childhood hunger or volunteering at a local school to help with tutoring.
Having an opinion does not mean you have to change someone’s mind about theirs. I do not voice my opinion to change someone’s mind, I voice it to let people see it from my perspective and understand where I come from. In the workplace, having an opinion can be tricky. Arguing about politics with someone you work with is usually frowned on. Sharing your opinion in a group discussion on a work project is important to solve problems. However, if you are neutral on everything it might mean you may not be able to make decisions quickly or effectively.
I do not think there is such a thing as being too opinionated, but I do think parents and others need to start learning and teaching others to respect people’s opinions, even if they differ, because we are all human and deserve respect.
Kate Rehwinkel is a senior management major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]