A couple months ago, that Jason Aldean song “Try That In A Small Town” was making the rounds. Some of my friends were posting it saying they back it 100%. Some of my friends were ripping it to shreds. It was clearly controversial.
I clicked on the video so I could form my own opinion. It’s important to make up your own mind, instead of following trends or believing what everyone else wants you to believe, right? Sure. But then I paused the video before the first note and shut down my phone instead.
I realized “Who cares?” Is anyone waiting breathlessly for me to chime in on the latest scandal? Does anyone wonder “What does Chris Lundy think about this?” No, of course not.
I knew that in another few hours, there will be something else for everyone to get up in arms about. I could either expend the emotional energy to take sides, and debate it online, or ignore it altogether. I don’t remember what I did instead of watching the video but I bet it was more productive than joining in the national debate over a song.
In fact, does anyone even talk about that song anymore? I bet they don’t. If you were one of these people who fought about it, you spent your time and mental power on a piece of pop culture that doesn’t affect anyone at all. Was it worth it?
We don’t have to have an opinion about everything.
It’s a simple sentence, and it should be obvious. But in today’s culture, we’re constantly bombarded with issues and forced to take a side. We’ve gone beyond Coke vs. Pepsi to the point where every subject has a hill you’re supposed to die on. An hour goes by and there’s a new something to be upset about.
Part of this is because social media relies on us for its income stream. We have to engage with topics in order for Facebook and the others to make money. They’ve learned that people engage the most with things that either make them laugh or make them angry.
I guess it’s easier to make people angry than make people laugh.
We also don’t want to feel left out of the loop. We’re so desperate to have something to say, and for someone to listen to us. As social media connects us, we’ve become more lonely than ever. We want to be part of the in crowd. This is something we should have left behind in high school and yet we desire inclusion. Not only do we want to be part of the conversation, we imitate and repeat what others say in order to feel part of a group. “I’m team Jason Aldean. I’m against him. I’m a Republican. I’m a Democrat.”
The other thing I’ve noticed is how everyone has an opinion about every single topic. So many people are experts on immunology, Russian history, and more. Isn’t that amazing? So many geniuses out there.
It’s OK to say “I don’t know.”
We like to be proud of our knowledge and we don’t want to be caught unaware. Honestly, it’s impossible for anyone to know everything about everything. If someone has an opinion about every topic, they’re probably the most annoying person you know.
Besides, having an opinion doesn’t mean you actually know what you’re talking about. It just means that you’ve opened your mouth and blurted something out. It’s fine to leave yourself out of the conversation.
It’s also OK to say “I don’t care.”