Opinion polls are bad?
How can I say such a thing?
How about those run by quite respectable organizations, and for the most noble of purposes?
How noble are those who excavate your innermost dreams and fears, organize and categorize and analyze them, and then publish the results for all to see?
And do so for personal or corporate gain… money or prestige or institutional advancement.
You really see nobility of purpose in that?
It all starts with that questionnaire in the mail. Or the phone call. Or the cute young woman with the clipboard. What do you think about this, what should we do about that, are you in favor of A or B?
And we answer. We tell. That is how they know what we want to hear, what they need to say to get our attention, our support, our votes.
What can we do about it, this.. this.. it isn’t even invasion of privacy, it’s invitation to publicity. We invite them in. We are, to put just a fine enough point upon it, we are fools.
It doesn’t have to be that way. We can escape this soul stealing. There is a multi-step program with which we can ease or blast our way out.
The first step is to say no. This can be done in kindly fashion, almost sorrowfully. “Gee, I do so wish I could help you, but the scones need to come out of the oven and..” You get the point. It needn’t be scones in the oven. It can be your daughter’s homework or a leaky faucet.
The second step is more assertive. “I prefer not to talk with you, and request that you and all like you kindly leave me alone in future.” That usually works, although a few persistent callers will ask if anyone else in the house will speak to them.
There is a lovely game to play when you reach this point. I’ll outline it next.