When I was living in California, I pointed out to a friend of mine there that so many people substitute the word "think" for "feel." For example, this particular friend would very often say statements, such as "I feel this isn't the right way to go" or "I feel like you would play better if you hit the ball this way." What my friend really meant was that he thought these things. How does one "feel" that a particular answer to a question is right or wrong? How does one "feel" that in order to improve at a particular sport or task, one must change certain bad habits? This is nonsense.
In a day where feelings are paramount to most other things, people have largely replaced the correct word "think" for "feel." I mistakenly thought (or should I say "felt") this was only occurring in CA; I was wrong. Now that I'm back living on the east coast, I see this frequently. Typically, it's common among white yuppies but others do this as well.
I suspect this is the case because our culture has inundated us with notions of sentimentality and emotionality. This is why we see policies put forth at colleges, workplaces, etc. that care so much about offending people. This is the cardinal sin of our time. Our society has preoccupied itself with making sure no one feels offended at any time or in any place. Actually, it's a one way street. It is only certain types or groups of people who are worthy of being protected from offense. Homosexuals, blacks, Muslims and others are among these protected groups of people.
Indeed it is sad that we have come to this point in our day but the reality is we are here. But perhaps the next time you hear someone incorrectly using "feel" for "think" you can ask him what he means by that. Generate a discussion and point out his incorrect usage. Some people are so enmeshed within their surrounding culture that they don't even realize they do this.