Whether it’s because we are finally old enough to realize what is happening in the world or society is quickly deteriorating, shit has been internationally hitting the fan. Wild debates in the upcoming U.S. Presidential Election, protests on campus, the increasing presence of ISIS, and millions of refugees in several countries have been prevalently featured in the news, as well as our Facebook newsfeeds. We are college educated women and should all have an opinion about important issues in the world. Having an opinion is not synonymous with being a bitch. However, there is a right way to have an opinion and definitely a wrong way.
Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself
Before you go balls to the wall with a ranting Facebook status or calling someone out at a casual get-together, make sure you know what you are talking about. Research information about the topics that interest you and check the sources where you get your information. If you’ve never heard of the website before, if it’s shared by that one kid from your high school who never left your hometown who shares racist articles for a living, or if it’s Fox News, you probably can’t trust it. An opinion without facts to back it up is like an empty Starbucks cup; it looks good but there’s actually nothing to it.
Read Past The Title
When reading an article, the little words under the big words tell you more about what the big words mean. Editors add provoking titles to draw attention to articles, and it is very easy to make something sound more dramatic than it actually is.
Don’t Be An Asshole
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if it’s wrong. If both of you have well-developed arguments then there is no reason to get indignant or rude. Take this opportunity to hear what the other side thinks. You already know what you think and you won’t benefit from hearing yourself talk. There is a time and place for debates and please, for the love of everything that is good, know what they are. The only way to create social change is through open dialogue, so bring your educated opinion. If you don’t have one, just shut up.
Make Your Own Opinion
Don’t adopt other people’s opinions because you don’t feel like making the effort to create your own. Your parents and your friends, although I’m sure they are great people, won’t always have the same values as you, and you should challenge that. You may find that it brings you closer because you will either find you have something to agree on, or you may be able to learn more about each other through your different ideals.
Stand Behind Your Opinion
If you put time and effort into further educating yourself on a topic, you have every right to contribute to any debate or discussion about it. Make sure you do it justice.
Don’t start your sentence with the following:
• “I just wanted to say…”
• “I might be wrong, but I think…”
• “I don’t know, it’s just…”
• “Sorry, but I think…”
Don’t end your sentences with the following:
• “…so yeah.”
• “…I don’t know.”
• “…and yeah.”
• “…so like…”
When you sound like you don’t think your opinion is valid, then no one else will either.
So go forth, find your passions, and educate yourself on them. It’s important for the advancement of our society. Or at least that’s just my opinion..