To use ‘think’ or ‘feel’? That is the question.

(feel: perceive, emotion, etc. / think: rational reasoning, objectivity)

I lay awake at night for at least an hour before my mind can usually quiet itself enough for sleep. And last night, my mind was muttering about something that had annoyed me.

That thing? People consistently using the phrase “I feel…” (or “How do you feel…”) when they really should be using “I think…”. I want to shout at them: “Feelings are for emotional states, and temperature!”

When someone says “I feel safer” in regards to (for example) airport/airline security procedures, that doesn’t mean that they actually *are* any safer. They may feel safe, but there is no proof that they really are any safer. A colleague asked me recently, “How do you feel things have been going?” I’m not going to say “I feel fine.” I’m going to say “I think they are going fine.” I have thought about it, and feelings don’t enter into it. If the situation isn’t working, it’s not working because something needs to be fixed.

Additionally, consider how strong a statement sounds when ‘think’ is substituted for ‘feel’. The latter ranks up there with ‘I believe’. I will give more consideration to an idea that has a rationale and facts behind it than something which is based entirely upon emotion or a belief.

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2 Responses to To use ‘think’ or ‘feel’? That is the question.

  1. Daisy Harris says:

    I’ve heard that men more often say “I think” and women more often say “I feel”. But I believe they really mean the same thing. (Unless, of course, a person is writing a research paper or dissertation. 😉

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