I think we can all agree that having an opinion is a good thing.  After all, opinions form the basis of almost every conversation, they showcase a point of view, etc.  I mean, one could argue that MIS (and other blogs) is one big blob of an opinion.

However, I think we can all agree that it’s also important to know when to share your opinion and when to keep your mouth shut.  Just because you have a particular stance on something doesn’t mean it’s always appropriate to express it.

Having an opinion is important, but knowing if/when to share it is more important.

And this is exactly what I’m working on as part of my year of the pause.

I’m not exactly known for being a quiet person.  If I have something to say, I’ll usually find a way to say it.  And to be honest, I kind of like that about myself.

But as with everything in life, there’s are potential downfalls to being less selective when sharing your opinion.  For example, the other person may not want to hear what you think at that time, and it may frustrate him/her that you’re interjecting with your own thoughts before they’ve had the opportunity to fully think about/state/feel whatever they’re going through.  You can also come across as a know-it-all when sharing your opinion trumps hearing the other person out.  And sometimes we really need to keep our thoughts to ourselves, even when we think them with the best intentions – this one is VERY IMPORTANT.  For instance, if a friend of mine is venting to me about someone/something, it’s so easy to share the same opinion and perpetuate the thinking.  But we all know this isn’t healthy – for our friend or us.  Negativity only breeds negativity.

I only realized this was an issue for me when I asked my mom and Vishnu (separately) if they think I overshare my opinion at times and whether they find that helpful or not.  Well, guess what…their answers were a gentle yes and no.  They both said that sometimes they just want to vent to/talk through something with someone who won’t judge them.  I’m that person for both of them, but I wasn’t allowing them to do so because my own thoughts would always surface to the top of the conversation.  Lesson learned!

Now when I feel the urge to share my opinion, I quickly run through a series of questions in my head.  Is sharing my opinion what’s best for the other person?  Is the other person even looking for me to share my thoughts?  Would it be better to share my opinion at a different time?  By not sharing my opinion, am I be doing myself a disservice? 

Based on the answers to these questions, I decide to move forward or keep quiet.  And don’t get me wrong, this is absolutely a journey.  It’s taken a lot of work (and will continue to take a lot of work) to get to this point.  But by pausing and checking in to see what the right thing to say/not say is, I find that I’m slowly becoming a better listener (not my strongest attribute).  I’m also able to separate myself from the other person’s issues, whereas before, I was unable to do so.  Their problem became my problem.  Not so much anymore.

In addition to (mentally) thinking through the questions I mentioned above, you can also get curious and actually ask the other person questions instead of sharing your opinion.  Personally, it really helps me when the person I’m talking to asks thought-provoking questions.  When that happens, I almost don’t mind when they share their opinion because it’s based on something a little more substantial.

Taking a pause before sharing my opinion has helped me help the people I care about.  I obviously don’t have it all figured out (who does, right?!), but what I do know is this – having an opinion is important, but knowing if/when to share it is more important!

By Parita

15 thoughts on “Pause Before Sharing Your Opinion”
  1. you are so right about negativity only breeds negativity. usually people tell me im a good listener (my internship trained us to listen, listen, and listen to our patients) but i do give my opinion to people but like you said, it’s important to share that esp with your loved ones. and sharing opinion and being upfront can be good sometimes because it provides a different perspective to people/situation.
    dixya @ food, pleasure, and health recently posted…Peanut Butter Sriracha NoodlesMy Profile

    1. I can imagine that in your profession good listening skills are crucial! I find that I’m better at work than I am with loved ones. Funny how that works!

  2. Absolutely agree with you on these points. I can use these reminders, to be a better listener, not necessary to state the opinion all the time and never feed the negativity with your negative opinion. Simply because it is not helping either talker nor listener. Keep thinking and talking positive will effect you first before effecting the others. Good post, LOVE it!!!

  3. You are so right. It took me some time to realize that sometimes people just want to vent and not hear my thoughts about ‘their thoughts’ 🙂 Now I only give my opinion, where it is valued. I have also realized, that some people just like to collect opinions (or advices) but never really take any action. I try and save my breadth with them.

    Good post! Xx

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    1. That’s a great point, T. I also try to save my thoughts for those who I know value them. Otherwise, I just end up getting frustrated (and probably frustrate the other person too).

  4. This is an awesome post. Especially for someone like me!!! I like to think of myself as a great listener, but I think I could do a LOT better if I took on your line of thinking by using the questions you ask yourself before I state my opinion . You’re so wise <3 Love you!

  5. Wow, this read comes to me when I am right in this with a family member and you are saying exactly what I have been struggling with with this person. I shared a bit with her last night but I don’t think it came across like this.THIS is how I feel, I think I’d like to share this post with her and let her know that THIS is how I feel.

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