Handling People with Negative Opinions

I’ve had several conversations in the last month or so with people expressing negative – or super-negative viewpoints – on things like humanity, specific human traits, and technology.

“Facebook is stopping people going out and having social experiences”
“I’m worried about all this information available on the Internet – it’s making everyone stupid”
… And so on …

Notwithstanding the issue that the mythical golden days of loving human behavior probably never existed anywhere, for any significant period of time anyway, there is usually a simple way to scythe through theses opinions in a single swoosh.

“So, do you personally exhibit these symptoms… Does it affect you?”

And, invariably, they do not. These mythical bad behaviours are not part of the person’s behavior set. They are not experienced personally by them. And they struggle to think of any particular acquaintance who does behave in whichever spurious way they have come up with.

In my view, opinionated people like this need to be challenged – early, often, and decisively. They often suck out the positive energy from a discussion. They shift the discussion from building to destroying. And they are usually plain wrong-headed.

So, if you’re going to play the game with me, be prepared to back up your opinions with some personal reflection. Otherwise, you’ve been warned.

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