Author Topic: Do you want opinions or do you just want validation?  (Read 8191 times)

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Just Lori

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Do you want opinions or do you just want validation?
« on: September 20, 2010, 07:29:17 PM »
I feel like I'm seeing more and more etiquette questions that are probably just vents.  OPs may ask a question, but if people disagree with their actions, it becomes apparent that they really didn't want dissenting opinions.  They wanted validation.  For instance, someone might say, "Today I refused to tip my waitress because it took her 1.5 minutes to bring my coffee and it usually takes 1 minute.  Was I rude?"  Ten people say well, an extra 30 seconds doesn't seem like a lot, and maybe there was something going on in the kitchen, and maybe the coffee was still brewing, and really, anything under five minutes seems like good service.  The 11th response is, "I don't blame you.  1.5 minutes is .5 minutes too much to wait for coffee!" and the OP will say, "Finally, someone who understands!"  Or, the OP will tell the naysayers that they'll just have to agree to disagree on this topic.

I don't think we're in any danger of becoming a vent board, thanks to our moderators and a healthy degree of self moderation.  And I think it's good and healthy to occasionally say, "I'm having a bad day.  The service at the coffee shop was slow and I just started my day off grumpy.  Can I have a hug?"  But I want to suggest that we be honest with ourselves before posting a question.  Do we really want answers, or do we want to be told that we're right?  Because I think the beauty of this board is it makes us take a good look at ourselves, and if we're not open to considering other answers, what's the point of posting the question?

(And if everyone disagrees with me, I promise I won't come back and say we'll just have to agree to disagree.  ;) )

Dindrane

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Re: Do you want opinions or do you just want validation?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2010, 07:39:35 PM »
What I'd really like to figure out is a good way to question what a poster is actually after when it's unclear, or it seems like they just want validation.  I find myself getting very frustrated with threads at times, when I either can't get a handle on what the poster actually wants, or when the poster doesn't seem to actually want advice.  I've just never come up with a good way of asking about it.

The fact is, I think everyone sometimes gets stuck in their own head and thinks they want advice, even though they really just want someone to agree that they are right.  No matter how good we are at self-regulation, I would guess that people are bound to slip up in a way very similar to what you describe.  For anyone who isn't a repeat offender on that score, I always end up with conflicting emotions--I want to clue them in to the fact that it sounds like a rant or like they are seeking validation, but I don't really want to hurt their feelings.


ch1pch0p

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Re: Do you want opinions or do you just want validation?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2010, 07:41:38 PM »
I have noticed several of these lately, too, and I'm never sure what to say. Sometimes the OP is so convinced that s/he is right, it really doesn't seem like opinions are wanted!

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Re: Do you want opinions or do you just want validation?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2010, 07:44:59 PM »
I feel like I'm seeing more and more etiquette questions that are probably just vents.  OPs may ask a question, but if people disagree with their actions, it becomes apparent that they really didn't want dissenting opinions.  They wanted validation.  For instance, someone might say, "Today I refused to tip my waitress because it took her 1.5 minutes to bring my coffee and it usually takes 1 minute.  Was I rude?"  Ten people say well, an extra 30 seconds doesn't seem like a lot, and maybe there was something going on in the kitchen, and maybe the coffee was still brewing, and really, anything under five minutes seems like good service.  The 11th response is, "I don't blame you.  1.5 minutes is .5 minutes too much to wait for coffee!" and the OP will say, "Finally, someone who understands!"  Or, the OP will tell the naysayers that they'll just have to agree to disagree on this topic.

I don't think we're in any danger of becoming a vent board, thanks to our moderators and a healthy degree of self moderation.  And I think it's good and healthy to occasionally say, "I'm having a bad day.  The service at the coffee shop was slow and I just started my day off grumpy.  Can I have a hug?"  But I want to suggest that we be honest with ourselves before posting a question.  Do we really want answers, or do we want to be told that we're right?  Because I think the beauty of this board is it makes us take a good look at ourselves, and if we're not open to considering other answers, what's the point of posting the question?

(And if everyone disagrees with me, I promise I won't come back and say we'll just have to agree to disagree.  ;) )

Hmm, depends... Do you want opinions, or do you just want validation ;D

See, you can think you have a perfectly good reason for posting this, but it really could come across as venting, KWIM?  Try to assume good faith, and let the mods take care of the rest, is my motto (which I admit I don't always live up to ;P)

M-theory

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Re: Do you want opinions or do you just want validation?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2010, 07:48:25 PM »
I think people sometimes get confused about the difference between just wanting validation and rejecting opinions that are patently nonapplicable.

penelope2017

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Re: Do you want opinions or do you just want validation?
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2010, 09:04:03 AM »
I think people sometimes get confused about the difference between just wanting validation and rejecting opinions that are patently nonapplicable.

I think those are harder to tell apart if every single alternative is rejected.

Ceallach

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Re: Do you want opinions or do you just want validation?
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2010, 05:58:21 AM »
I think people sometimes get confused about the difference between just wanting validation and rejecting opinions that are patently nonapplicable.

A couple of thoughts I have on this:

1. Just because an opinion doesn't relate 100% to the OP or they feel the problem has been misinterpreted, doesn't mean they need to argue or even respond.  There are dozens of posters reading each thread, and often it's useful to share similar situations or parallels.  IMHO this is ok, and it's not necessary for the OP to respond personally to every alternative that's raised or argue that people aren't "getting it". That kind of behaviour makes an OP appear argumentative and as though they only welcome assenting opinions. An OP can choose simply to ignore responses rather than engage in debate.

2. From eHell I feel my communication skills have improved. Why?  Because as a newbie, I was like many others slammed frequently for statements that were "misinterpreted" because I had posted hastily, emotionally, or simply my choice of words was taken differently to how I had intended.  I realised that I could get annoyed that people didn't understand, or I could pause before posting and try to think about how others might perceive it, and structure my sentences appropriately. What information is relevant?  What might confuse people? I'm no saint and I still screw up, but I have to say it's been a long time since I've been involved in any nasty conflicts or misunderstandings here. My point is that you can't change the way other people think, but you can change the way you communicate if you feel they are misunderstanding - because if several people all interpret a statement or situation a particular way, then they're not *wrong* per se.  So possibly taking a step back and trying to gain some perspective would be better in these situations. The OP could try to learn something for next time, rather than "rejecting" the opinions of other posters. 

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Betelnut

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Re: Do you want opinions or do you just want validation?
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2010, 07:29:04 AM »
Not trying to be snarky, I swear!

What is wrong with wanting validation?  Or simply telling a funny etiquette related story?

Is the forum an only "advice" forum or a bit of advice and a bit of interesting stories?




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Re: Do you want opinions or do you just want validation?
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2010, 07:43:01 AM »
Not trying to be snarky, I swear!

What is wrong with wanting validation?  Or simply telling a funny etiquette related story?

Is the forum an only "advice" forum or a bit of advice and a bit of interesting stories?

There's nothing wrong with just telling a story however it might be helpful to the board to say at the beginning that's what you're doing.  Many posters go in looking for a question and when one can't be found, sometimes the responses get a little weird (e.g., nitpicking one tiny, unimportant point).  If we all know it's a story, we can sit back and enjoy the story instead of dissecting the post to find a question.

As for wanting validation, I think it's good in theory but may not play out so well in real life.  People may not agree with the poster and will say so.  It's wishful thinking to think that people will just pat you on the back and tell you what you want to hear, even if you're wrong.  Using the example above, it's a bit obnoxious to come to the board and say "I stiffed a server because she was a little slow with my coffee, please make me feel better about my actions (and don't you dare tell me otherwise)."  Well, no.  The fictional poster was wrong and people will tell her that.  So, you can come seeking validation but you should also be prepared not to get it.

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Re: Do you want opinions or do you just want validation?
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2010, 07:43:35 AM »
What is wrong with wanting validation?  Or simply telling a funny etiquette related story?
Is the forum an only "advice" forum or a bit of advice and a bit of interesting stories?

I've never thought there's anything wrong with wanting validation - as long as the person wanting the validation was behaving correctly, etiquette-wise, and not wanting validation for retaliatory rudeness.

I've been on the forum since it started on Delphooey and it was always okay to just have discussions. Lately some people have apparently decided to be the posting police and want every post to ask an etiquette question, even though the rules don't say there HAS to be a question (this was addressed in another thread very recently). Some even went so far as to quote Jeanne or the mods to prove their side. My take on it is, is it mentioned in the rules or not? If not, then it should be okay. Not everyone agrees, and you're likely to find some people posting here to support either side of the argument.


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Ceallach

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Re: Do you want opinions or do you just want validation?
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2010, 08:31:05 AM »
Not trying to be snarky, I swear!

What is wrong with wanting validation?  Or simply telling a funny etiquette related story?

Is the forum an only "advice" forum or a bit of advice and a bit of interesting stories?

Nothing at all, as long as you're honest about it.  There's a big difference between stating that something has happened and wondering if you were wrong, or telling a funny story, versus asking for validation in a roundabout way. e.g. person posts an etiquette issue, then getting stroppy when people say "here is what I would have done differently".  The fact is, being on eHell means that there are going to be people who disagree with you, and if an OP argues with every poster that disagrees with them it is very obvious to objective parties that this OP is not really interested in discussing etiquette, but rather just wishes to complain/vent or seek validation.

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Deetee

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Re: Do you want opinions or do you just want validation?
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2010, 09:57:49 AM »
Not trying to be snarky, I swear!
What is wrong with wanting validation?  Or simply telling a funny etiquette related story?
Is the forum an only "advice" forum or a bit of advice and a bit of interesting stories?

Just to take off from this, sometimes validation is good.

Often times, people are so immersed in a problem that they can't see their problem. They can describe it, but (and this usually involves people the poster has very strong emotions for-love/dislike/guilt) they can't really see it. This seems to be true when the other people involved are much more comfortable letting their emotions be known (weeping or screaming abuse). The other person's strong emotional response often makes you wonder about your own feelings and interpretations of events.

ydpubs

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Re: Do you want opinions or do you just want validation?
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2010, 03:06:53 PM »
I know what you are saying. I've seen a few threads that appear to me to be vents wanting validation. It might not be obvious in the first post, but with subsequent follow ups by the OP, very much so.
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Re: Do you want opinions or do you just want validation?
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2010, 03:08:54 PM »
I think people sometimes get confused about the difference between just wanting validation and rejecting opinions that are patently nonapplicable.

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Allyson

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Re: Do you want opinions or do you just want validation?
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2010, 03:40:32 PM »
One thing that gets to me is the "oh, thank you!" to Poster #11 who agrees with them..as though all the disagreeing posters shouldn't have bothered. I think there's a problem on this board with seeking validation, because with most of the folders, we're going there wanting to discuss and possibly disagree...not immediately agree with the OP. Or maybe, there's nothing wrong with wanting agreement from others, but sometimes it seems like there's this attitude given to those who don't agree.

Also..I think that terms like 'pileon' and 'dogpile' are overused. I mean, if everyone is straight up telling off the OP, and being insulting or really harsh, that's one thing. But if it's just that the majority of people don't agree with the OP, I really don't see why that's being nasty. It's not as though people go to a thread and then decide to 'jump all over' the OP because everyone else is doing it. They probably genuinely disagree.