People who are overly opinionated often say these 8 things without realizing their impact

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I’ve always been outspoken.

In my younger years, I had a nasty habit of putting my foot in my mouth.

That’s because I would speak first and think later.

It took plenty of reflection and cultivating greater self-awareness to see the error of my ways.

There’s nothing wrong with having plenty of thoughts and ideas, it’s what also makes you interesting.

But if we are to be liked and get along with others, we also have to recognize the power of what we say.

We have a responsibility to choose our words wisely.

That’s why people who are overly opinionated can blurt out certain things, without realizing their impact.

1) “You’re wrong”

Highly opinionated people can have a black-and-white way of seeing the world.

I know I did. It took many years and a lot of growth for me to understand things are rarely quite so clear-cut.

There is a huge grey area, but we have to be prepared to see it.

When we instantly dismiss someone else’s thoughts, ideas, and opinions it’s because we can’t see their point of view.

But we’re not willing to.

We’re trapped in this right/wrong attitude. An opinionated mind is great, just as long as it’s open too.

Rather than seeking to understand where the other person is coming from, often highly opinionated people are more concerned with pointing out to others the error of their ways.

2) “You’re missing the point”

Saying something like this is pretty much the same as saying:

“Hey, dumbass, you just don’t get it”.

A sense of superiority is something that highly opinionated people cling to. This is a really important part of their identity.

That way their ego feels safe in the knowledge it’s better than everyone else.

This condescending approach serves an important role in trying to keep control of the situation, as pointed out by Mark Goulston, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute.

“Offensive opinionated people are all about being in control and never losing that control. By talking down to you they will do one of two things that keep them in control of you. Either they will intimidate you to the point that you become submissive, or they will so infuriate you that they hijack your ability to think clearly and respond rationally. That’s because you’re using all your energy to keep a lid on wanting to rip their throat out.”

3) “I’m just saying”

This is often used when you’re on the cusp of making a criticism or complaint, with the hope it might act as some sort of buffer and so be less likely to offend.

But of course, it doesn’t.

Highly opinionated people can see themselves as warriors of truth.

Yet they are blind to the fact that it is their truth, not the truth.

They take it upon themselves to dish out “hard truths” and feedback (whether it’s constructive or not).

They may even see themselves as heroes who are prepared to put themselves in the firing line for the sake of being honest.

But this martyr approach ignores one important fact:

They lack tact.

Anything we say, no matter how it’s intended, loses impact when it’s not done sensitively.

You’re never going to win people over or change minds when what you have to say creates defensiveness. 

4) “It’s probably none of my business, but…”

You’ve literally just admitted that this has nothing to do with you. But that’s not going to stop you.

Inserting yourself into other people’s drama is rarely a good idea.

Whenever we pull out this phrase it’s safe to say a judgment will follow.

But it’s just another way of dishing out commentary and advice on someone else’s life.

And as we’re about to see next, that’s not a good idea for lots of reasons.

5) “If I were you”

I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt and say that most advice given is actually well meant.

But we need to be very careful when it comes to throwing around unsolicited advice.

It’s very easy to give your two cents when you aren’t emotionally invested in the outcome.

But the issue with “If I were you” is that you are not them and you never will be.

Neither will you ever 100% understand what it is like to be in their shoes.

In most cases, it’s a much better approach to offer support and sympathy to someone who is in a tricky spot.

Either way, we should ask before we throw around our opinions on someone else’s problems.

No matter what your intentions, the other person won’t always appreciate your assessments, and may even feel attacked by them.

As psychotherapist Sharon Martin cautions, it can feel invalidating to the person at the receiving end.

“It’s disrespectful and presumptive to insert your opinions and ideas when they may not be wanted. Unsolicited advice can even communicate an air of superiority; it assumes the advice-giver knows what’s right or best. Unsolicited advice often feels critical rather than helpful. “

6) “The way I see it is…”

…Or, another classic that’s very similar:

“If you ask me…”

Yet 99.9% of the time nobody did I ask you.

But that doesn’t stop highly opinionated people from spewing out unhelpful commentary all over the place.

These are yet more phrases that can be a prelude to sharing your thoughts on something when nobody wants to hear it.

It’s often followed by a blunt and entirely useless summary of events.

For example, when you’ve just been dumped and your opinionated friend decides to share with you:

“Well, if you ask me, he was always good for nothing” or “The way I see it is you’re better off without him, good riddance!”.

Rather than helping, it’s a shallow assessment that fails to acknowledge the nuanced complexities of the situation.

7) “I know you don’t want to hear it, but”

Of course, it’s an incredibly arrogant stance to assume it’s down to us to help others grow. Especially when we’re about to do it in an insensitive way.

We’ve already touched on the fact that overly opinionated people view themselves as honest to a fault.

Yet deep down they believe this is a noble quality.

That’s why phrases like “I’m just being honest” or “I’m sorry, but someone needs to tell you this” are some sort of badge of honor to them.

They secretly believe they are brave and wise for blurting out their take on things to others.

But it’s very easy to do when it’s not your feelings on the line.

Disregarding how whatever you have to say will land ultimately shows a lack of empathy.

Despite what they may think, they don’t have the other person’s best interest at heart.

If they did, they would be a far more delicate and considerate approach. 

8) “I don’t have to listen to this”

Here’s the funny thing about very opinionated types:

They are often the most fragile when it comes to being challenged.

They love to dish it out, but they can’t always take it.

That ego of theirs that needs to be right in order to feel validated, is usually pretty fragile.

When faced with someone who cannot be shouted down or condescended into submission they can quickly become indignant.

Their defense mechanisms kick in and they go down the “How dare you!” route.

If they can’t win a debate or disagreement, then they may haughtily exit the conversation.

“I don’t have to listen to this” allows them to leave with the impression that you are not worth their time and effort.

Nobody likes a no-it-all

So much of my identity has been based on being opinionated that it’s not been easy to dismantle.

It’s certainly not all bad. Some bits do need to be dismantled, but others are certainly worth keeping.

I like the parts of myself that are principled, passionately vocal on issues, and curious about the world around me.

But what I’ve come to appreciate is that they also need to be balanced with sensitivity, understanding, restraint, and an open heart and mind.

We don’t have to share every single thought we have. In fact, plenty we should probably keep a lid on.

It’s not just for the sake of our relationships and the people around us either, it’s for our own good too.

Us highly opinionated types would do well to remember that:

We tend to discover so much more when we shut up and listen than when we’re busy talking away and “putting the world to rights”.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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