The differences between each of the title words are significant and complex.
If I personally experience an event this is Fact to me; participation not hearsay or opinion. That is, “I was physically there, I saw and heard firsthand.” On the other hand, if I express what I think and what I feel, but have not personally experienced an event I express only my Opinion. Fiction is false, a made up story, but often designed as if true and Fact. Knowing the difference and responding appropriately to Fact, Opinion or Fiction is never easy. Seeking hard data to support what is said and heard is not a simple process. One must search for hard proof. Saying it is so does not make it so.
Examples abound around most “Kitchen Tables” where much talk takes place and where separating Fact, Fiction and Opinion is often next to impossible and why I include Expectation in the title. Expectation is usually below the surface, but plays a big role in communication. Often the Expectation is that “I win you over to what I say is true.” Here is where Opinion and Fiction becomes one and turning Fiction into Fact is what the speaker wants the listener to buy into.
The dialogue experience may be the only way we are able to communicate with each other if a speaker believes so strongly in what they say even if what they say comes only from hearsay or what they have read. In other words, what many people believe as true is not based on Fact, which must be actual, but sources that say “what I say is actual.” This most serious problem with communication is more common today than ever due to social media and the technology that so easily makes Fiction appear as Fact.
It used to be that most people communicated their Opinion to each other and they would say so, but this is becoming rare between us. It is why I suggest asking questions: Is this your experience? Were you there? If told, how reliable is your source? Fact demands irrefutable proof, and we are each responsible for separating FACT from FICTION. This mountain is getting harder to climb. Sy
Our world is changing—-Must we also change with it?—-Maybe, maybe not.