Do you remember to open your mind before you open your mouth? How stubborn and set in your ways are you? Are you receptive to new ideas? Some of us get angry and antagonized when faced with an opposing view. Is that you perhaps? In order to tolerate others’ opinions, you may have to step out of your comfort zone. Well, no need to step so far out of your comfort zone that you forget how to get back.

At times our opinions should change due to new information. You know what they say: A ship may be safe in the harbor, but that is not what ships are built for. If we are being sincere, sweet friends, we must be willing to consider evidence, and not agree to beliefs or claims without reliable proof.  Do not hesitate to ask questions of those in authority. By all means, don’t blindly follow those in power who can make drastic changes in your life.

You know that women have been scientifically proven to be right, even when they’re wrong. If women are never wrong, what happens when two women have a different opinion?

But seriously, some people don’t want to hear your opinion. They want to hear their opinion coming out of your mouth. You may learn something that conflicts with what you have been led to believe. Personal growth includes challenging incorrect or outdated information that you have been fed. How tolerant are you really? Can you see things from his perspective?

Friends should feel free to express their mindset around you. I disagree, but I respect your right to be wrong. No, no.  It’s all right to ask questions or to respectfully challenge her presumptions. They say you’re supposed to respect your elders but it’s getting harder for you to find one now. Sheesh.

If you think you know all the answers, you haven’t been asked all the questions. I know. It can be difficult and daunting to be empathetic to him when you disagree so strongly. You need not be compassionate toward an ideology that you find offensive or immoral. But please try to understand the influences that may have led him to his way of thinking.

Of course there will always be topics that you may take a much harder posture on. It’s okay to be impassioned and even intense about some social issues. Having strong sentiments does not mean that you cannot consider her perspective as well. Stay curious and inquisitive about what he thinks. A healthy sign is if you allow your beliefs to be challenged by others.

Are you humble about your understanding or even your expertise? You know what they say: An expert is someone who can take what you already knew and make it sound confusing. Remember, sweet friends, that there are always new things you can learn about yourself. It’s kind of difficult to grasp new ways of thinking if you surround yourself with the same ole’ ideas. We always seek out information that confirms what we already think. That’s human nature. But please do not make snap decisions or incomplete judgments about matters. Sure, it’s easy to generalize, stereotype, or latch onto first impressions. It takes a moment to judge her, but a lifetime to truly understand her.

How are you at listening? Are you engaged and present when he is speaking? Next time she shares, focus on her. Make eye contact and, whatever you do, don’t finish her sentences for her. Ask him open-ended questions. He who asks a question, may remain a fool for five minutes. He who never asks, remains a fool forever. They say: A friend asks you questions; an enemy questions you.

Life simply does not fit neatly into black or white compartments or divisions. We live in a generation where “deleting history” has become more important than creating history. It’s been said: The greatest deception men suffer is from is their own opinions.

Hey, that brain surgeon really opened my mind. Uh, oh. In an attempt to feel in control, some people will be quite opinionated and uncompromising. Please be careful not to automatically reject alternative ideas simply to minimize your perception of risk. Being open-minded can actually inspire you to have a more optimistic attitude.

Always ask yourself if your sources for information are trustworthy and reputable. How often do you try to prove him wrong? You’re awfully tempted to let her know just how wrong she is. When was the last time you actually changed your mind about something?

Just how approachable and accepting are you? Perhaps we need to think twice before inserting our opinion. Our ego tends to blind us, my friends. Admit your mistakes, please. Okay, maybe you weren’t wrong, but only slightly less wrong. Is that easier on the fragile ego? Still think you’re right? Ask yourself what evidence you would need to change your mind.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at