Have you ever met someone who can pull random old facts out of their brains on command? Fact fairies. Evidence elves. Truth trolls. No matter what you call it, they’re not of this world. It’s genuinely a skill – you’ll be mid-conversation about how efficient you are with conserving toilet paper on each trip to the restroom and they will throw out a gem like ‘every time you lick a stamp, it’s technically 1/10 of a calorie’. How does one respond to that? My opinions were focused on how many sheets are too many sheets and you’ve caught me off guard with calorie counting. I need a second, if you don’t mind, to slow this high speed spinning opinion and come back to where I left you.
Facts are harder to know. You need stuff like evidence, to make people accept it. To get this evidence, you have to research and with research you have to properly credit the source so there’s no risk of plagiarizing. Even if it’s a conversation between you and your dog – if there’s a hidden bug in the room and someone is really out to get you, they could take you down for not properly quoting the website on whence thou didst read it < taken from my limited knowledge of how some really old people used to write in a time long, long, long, long, long ago. Probably before the dinosaurs #reference #bibliography #facts.
Opinions, however, need zero backing. Zero proof of any sort of validity. They do, ironically, need the opinion reference to make sure no one asks for a follow-up on where these ideas came from. A simple ‘in my opinion’, ‘I think’, ‘that’s just my opinion’, etc. will do just fine. These statements are completely customizable to the user.
The only real downfall to opinions, is that anyone, and I mean anyone, can contradict you. Then you run the risk of looking, well, a bit dumb if I’m honest. Guess that’s the price you pay for avoiding the effort of learning something. Some opinions are very insightful, though. You could actually get a new perspective, which arguably is more valuable than knowing how much the biggest pumpkin ever grown weighs.
There’s a time and a place for facts. A good rule of thumb I like to live by is that if there is money involved, facts are probably recommended. Now, I realize this is a broad statement so I’ll clarify my opinion to help enlighten you. If you are paying to be there (hello college!), then the professors could care less what late-night epiphany you had on margarita Monday. Your friends, on the other hand, are probably all for it. They may even be contributing to your nightly indulgence to better enjoy their part of the experience.
Another scenario – if someone is paying you, and you are not a social influencer / celebrity / famous outside of your hometown / being actively sought out and followed by people you don’t know on the gram / etc. then facts are a safer bet. Unless of course you get paid to share your opinions, in which case, bravo! Are there exceptions to this theory? For sure, but I don’t care enough to explore them. If you’re stressed about which to use (fact or opinion), go with your gut. Better yet, don’t care what people think and live your life like nobody’s watching.
In theory. Like nobody’s watching, in theory. Because there are actually a LOT of people watching everything that you do. We’re all like zoo animals today except that you don’t have to actually leave your couch. You can see everyone online. Sort of like a horror version of Back to the Future – maybe that’s what the modern remake will be. We all know it’s coming, clearly all the “new” movies are based on timeless classics because the writers are where? On strike? Who knows.
Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who loves facts, tell them to stop one-upping you. If you, like mwah, love a solid opinion, know that we are in this together. Thanks for reading!
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