Do you even have an opinion?

Published: September 27, 2010
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When you agree with everyone you make no enemies - except those who hate people pleasers.

I knew a kid in college. Average looks, squinty eyes, admirably tall and a mop of unruly hair. He had an unusual gait which he blamed on Roger Fedrerer for some reason I could never understand. But it wasn’t the gait nor the unruly hair which made him unique to me.

It was the fact that he agreed with everyone about everything which helped him stand out from the crowd.

I know I might sound a little weird when I say this. You must be wondering what’s unique about that? But I firmly believe that he was. He agreed about anything and everything. He’s nod his head at even the most ridiculous ideas. He was a yes man. Sometimes I would find him saying ‘Bon Jovi! Oh, I love them’ and on his iPod you would hardly find one band close to them. (The closest was Greenday and I know that is shameful comparison.)

Anyway, this kid had no side of a penny to bet on. He would side up with a Manchester United fan and the next moment he would yell ‘Go Chelsea’. It bordered on weird. In an argument, he sided with both parties diplomatically letting both know he was with them.

Once I had mapped out his no-opinion psyche I asked him why he was the way he was. He wasn’t dumb so he couldn’t blame his no idea policy on lack of intelligence and he wasn’t a robot and humans by nature are partial to one thing or the other – so why oh why was he doing this?

First, he was amazed that I had actually zeroed in on his policy and in the next short breath he said:

“Anam, you gotta play the game, agree with everyone about everything. Once they know you agree with them it boosts their ego. You are suddenly their friend and they trust you. Even if you just listen to the music they listen to. It’s an easy way to stay in everybody’s good books’

“People pleaser!” my mind shouted but then I kept my opinion to myself. Would I succumb to such weird politics of psychology, where you don’t have opinions on how  freaky Lady Gaga is? Well. I hope not.

In a world of opnions, where you have clubs like ‘Black Nail Color Lovers’ and ‘Quidditch is better then Lacrosse’ likes on Facebook, people thrive on opinions. Everybody has to has an edge on whats happening under the sun. Facebook likes are the best example of that. What started as dedicated Pages to weird ideas such as ‘We hate the toaster that burns our breakfast’ and ‘The urge to yawn between a conversation’ soon changed into a Like-Lists.

Apparently it was heedless to make a whole Facebook page for an idea now you can just add your idea to one of the Like Lists. If your idea is twisted enough you will soon be hit by 30,ooo Like mark. People are tweeting their opinions about a new movie they watched and how Taylor Lautner is next Clooney, they are sending tweety-pinions (opinions on tweets) out in to the world of invisible people, comforted in believing somebody actually cares!

In today’s world if you don’t stand up for something, even if it is as ridiculous as I Love the Color Purple, people are going to roll over you with a bulldozer of their inflated self esteem. They are going to push you down with their  ideas – which are not necessarily  in any need of authentication.

Its amazing how a person’s self worth is often tied to people agreeing with them. For some celebrities it literally keeps them sane. Plus, it’s equally amazing how someone’s ‘twisted opinion’ is all it takes for something to go down in history. Remember the colorful slinky we all played with when we were little? The coiled springy thing. Well, that came from World war 2 weapon part that was being shipped to be ‘re- melted’ when somebody yelled ‘In my opinion these would make a fun children’s toy’ – and that is what exactly happened.

However, it is all pretty when you are talking about the color purple, celebrities and football clubs but things tend to go ugly when you voice opinions about rights, drone bombardments and massacres. It is an opinion that it is freedom of speech when someone makes a shameful cartoons. In another’s opinion someone who is protecting their culture and territory can make be a terrorist.

I draw the line at freedom of speech turning in to freedom to hate. Thank God, I am an opinionated person.

anam.ashraf

Anam Ashraf Ali

A system engineering student currently studying at NEDUET

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.