After careful consideration, I’ve chosen a new phrase that sets my teeth on edge. I know you’re excited to know what that phrase is, so let me get right to it:
You have a right to your opinion.
People who say this don’t mean it. At least, what they say isn’t what they mean. What they mean is, “That is by far the stupidest opinion I’ve heard this century.” It’s a passive-aggressive way of letting people know you disagree with them.
I understand the temptation to use it. It’s easy to turn people’s right to have an opinion into the right not to have that opinion challenged. Just because you can have an opinion doesn’t mean it’s not a stupid one, and there’s nothing wrong with me or anyone else pointing that out. If you told me, “In my opinion, the Earth is flat,” I would happily tell you that that’s a stupid opinion, at least after I stopped laughing. “That’s my opinion” doesn’t exempt you from being wrong.
But if you’re going to disagree with someone’s opinion, come right out and disagree.