I think what’s happening when someone asks for an *objective opinion is an untethering of you, the asked, from the protection and safety of polite social niceties. You’ll notice I said “protection and safety”,not “crushing niceness” or whatever. Maybe this is key in how I think about this. Whether or not we claim to like them, polite social norms often protect us from saying what we really think in situations where it doesn’t matter what we really think.
When a friend asks for an objective opinion, they are asking to cut you free to possibly hurt them. They are cutting you free from safety to tell them that their paper isn’t up to standards, that their wardrobe could use improving, that their kid is a shit, that they are going bald, or maybe they are really codependent. They’re setting you loose to give an honest opinion from your heart, and they are not saying that nothing you say will be held against you.
They’re not giving you permission to be cruel.
This isn’t coming out of anywhere in particular. Occasionally I just spend inordinate amounts of time thinking about word usage and why we think the things that we mean, may not mean exactly what we think they do. (could I have said that more confusingly? V unlikely)
I love you. Be nice to each other.
* I don’t really think there’s such a thing as a genuinely objective opinion.
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