Q: People in my office are going on crazy diets and they just keep talking about it. I think it’s ridiculous and I’m wondering if I should tell them so!
A: To what end, my friend? While I understand (REALLY understand) the desire to cease annoying nattering, you need to question what’s to be gained and/or lost by expressing your opinion. If you Google the phrase “Opinions are like…” you’ll find a bunch of quotes (one in particular) telling what people think about opinions in general. While I’m all for each of us having a voice, it’s in everyone’s best interest to sift through our personal pile of judgements before we distribute them, publicly or privately. Words are powerful, and when you choose to bring them to a public forum to be offered up for debate? Choose them (and your subject) wisely.
That said, if you still dig down to the potato storage bin of your soul and find you absolutely have to say something, then I encourage you to write out your point of view. To tell you the truth, we should all do this anyhow. Writing our thoughts – getting them out of our head – gives us a clearer understanding about the things we care about, helping us better express what we believe. Oh, and not on social media first, either. That’s too impulsive a place to pour out your interpretations of things. You should gather your personal reflections and outside information (don’t just rely on what knowledge you currently have on a subject) and spin it around the roller rink of your brain a few times. Then? Take pen/pencil to paper or fingers to keyboard, store it away for a few days and come back to it with new eyes. If you still feel as strongly as you did when you first released those words, share it with someone who is removed from the subject. That objectivity will often provide you with a little more to think about before you enter into conversation on a topic, whether passively or passionately.
This time of year does inspire people to reconsider what they’re eating (in anticipation of swimsuit season) and talking about it may help their commitment to a diet. Their enthusiasm about a new way of eating or dietary restrictions may be a topic you no longer wish to hear about or engage in, but your thoughts on the matter don’t really add up to a hill of beans (something they may have added or eliminated from their food regime) unless they ask for your opinion. Otherwise, you don’t have to engage. You can cease any non-stop conversation with a smile and a glassy-eyed stare (old Jedi trick). It also helps to change the subject. But, don’t be passive-aggressive about it, offering up recipes that go against whatever diet they’re gabbing on about. That’s just mean. Which could put you in a quote about opinions, hopefully this one: “Maturity is realizing how many things don’t require your opinion.”