Is There a Difference Between Opinion and Judgment?

I found myself in a discussion this morning during which I said, “It’s my opinion, not a judgment,” and it made me wonder – is there a difference?

I posed the question on my Facebook and got some really great answers.

“This just really got me thinking. I feel like maybe the judgment is caused by the opinion? So like my opinion is people should be free to marry who they love and my judgment is that anyone who thinks differently is an asshole.” Hannah responded.

So let me ask you:

Can you have an opinion about something and it not be considered judgment?

Let’s consider for a moment what it means to have an opinion. An opinion is based on your view of something which is not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. So, like Hannah stated above, it is quite similar to a feeling. That’s opinion.

To make a judgment on something means to come to a conclusion sensibly. The term common sense comes to mind when considering judgment. Hence, the title of Judge – he or she determines one’s sentencing based on the findings of the facts. So, that’s judgment. (As defined by Wikipedia: “the evaluation of evidence to make a decision.”)

(Side note: at what point did we start implying that judgment was in poor form – like, “being judgmental?” I have a feeling that’s another blog for another time!)

So judgment is based on facts, and therefore should not be based on emotions.

Yesterday I went on a mini-rant on my Facebook page about the classroom process for Valentine’s cards in my daughter’s kindergarten class. Instead of having the kids pick out specific cards for their classmates they were instructed just to sign their names. That way, “they can be distributed evenly.” I got a lot of supportive responses save for one. It was a kindergarten teacher who explained to me why that process exists. It was nice to hear her perspective but she ended her comment with:

“I usually ignore rants, however, as an experienced kindergarten teacher I have to suggest that next year you volunteer in the classroom to help pass out cards before you judge the teacher or accuse her of ‘taking away everything fun.’ ”

I didn’t feel I was making a judgment.

But what do you think? Is there a difference between opinion and judgment? Tell me your thoughts below!

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