In Which I Quote Myself

I had an argument with a friend. Since we don’t see each other in person very often, it happened online. And since nothing gets my brain going like online arguments do, I thought I’d repeat some of the things I ended up telling her.

I imagine most people probably regard these as common knowledge, so I apologize if all you can say to this is, “Duh.”

As I see it, there are three perfectly fine ways to reply to something you don’t agree with:

a) I think you’re wrong, and this is why.
b) I don’t understand your position, please explain.
c) I disagree, but I respect your opinion and will keep that in mind during future discussions.

Of course there might be a fourth or even a fifth option that I haven’t thought of yet. All I was trying to say at the time is that blunt statements such as “you’re totally wrong and your opinion sucks” are generally unhelpful. Which, uhm, should really be common knowledge.

opinion = “I disagree with you.”
“What you said is bullshit.” =/= opinion
“bullshit” = [a word] that, while not being necessary to express one’s opinion itself, can be used to emphasize said opinion and to imply that the person it’s directed at is stupid.

I actually remember an old math teacher of mine trying to explain this concept to a bunch of boys who absolutely didn’t get it. In fact I got the impression that nearly the whole class didn’t get it, so I experienced a strong urge to hit the desk with my head. Repeatedly. We must have been, what, at least 16 at the time!

This is why I love people who curse like sailors and do it right. 🙂


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