Several years ago when our son was a teenager, he walked into our kitchen where I was making dinner and reached around me to tear off a paper towel. Instantly, he wadded up the offensive thing and threw it into the trash. “Whoever invented these half-sheet paper towels is an idiot and should be shot!” he said.
Think what you will of half-sheet paper towels, but give my son credit for being decisive. I, on the other hand, am the poster child for the opinion-less.
One reason that I have trouble with opinions is that, in so many instances, I don’t have a strong one. Every time we set out to buy a new (new to us) vehicle, my husband asks, “What would you like to have?” “I really don’t care,” I say. “As long as I have a reliable car in the driveway, I am happy.” It is the truth.
I also have trouble with opinions because I am a people-pleaser. I don’t want my opinion to contradict the opinions of other people. When friends and I go out to eat, I let someone else choose the restaurant.
Thirdly, if I do choose to have an opinion, I am afraid it will be the wrong one. What if I choose this carpet and then a year from now decide that I hate it?
There is a difference between having opinions and being opinionated. All of us know people who are experts on everything. They share their opinions with anyone who will listen, defend the positions they have taken and work hard to convert other people to their way of thinking. I don’t want to be like those people.
On the other hand, people who never have opinions are a nuisance to society. When the clerk at the grocery store asks me whether I prefer paper bags or plastic, I will cause problems for her and other shoppers if I answer, “I don’t know.” I don’t want to be like those people.
I want to be a person who forms opinions carefully, states those opinions when asked to do so, and is respectful of other people’s opinions. That is not an easy goal to accomplish, but I am going to reach for it.
Generally, when people ask for opinions, they genuinely desire feedback. Thus, the next time my husband asks me what kind of vehicle I want, maybe I will say, “Something small enough to be easy to park but large enough to accommodate car seats.” When my friends ask my opinion about which restaurant to choose, perhaps I will say, “Anything is fine for me, except Indian food.” When I have to choose new carpet, I hope I will say, “This seems to be my best option and I will resolve to live with it.”
Maybe I will actually say those things. Maybe I won’t.
In a shop recently I saw a tee-shirt that read: I used to think I was indecisive. Now I’m not so sure. I couldn’t decide whether to buy it or not.