Where's The Line Between Opinion and Judgment?

We tread the line between opinion and judgment a lot in social media. Some are quick to call out others as being “too judgmental” when their own beliefs or opinions are being challenged. There’s no point in getting all bent out of shape over something as seemingly mundane as text on a screen, especially when we are putting our thoughts out there to be judged in the first place. Yet there is still some question as to how one should present themselves in a way that is both unaggressive and adds to the conversation.

The only difference between a judgment and an opinion is the existence of evidence to support an opinion therefore making it final or absolute. There is nothing wrong with a judgment of this type, however, the problem arises when we judge others in an aggressive tone.

Opinion: You might get more readers if you improved on the quality of your writing.
Judgement: You are not getting a lot of readers because of the quality of your writing.
Aggressive Judgement: Your content sucks so you are not getting any readers.

Opinions usually leave room for error in your thought process therefore leaving the recipient a little more at ease. Sometimes it’s as easy as adding words like might, i think, probably, maybe, etc. It seems kind of silly, but in a space where it’s so hard to express tone, it’s important to express these emotions through words.

So, in my opinion, the line between opinion and judgment is when we use an aggressive, absolute tone while expressing one’s thoughts. I personally don’t have a problem with judgments because I can see them for what they are … opinions expressed as facts. For the rest of the world, accept the fact that you might not know everything and leave some room for doubt. Doubt is ultimately what pushes us to explore further into our minds, and is there anything wrong with that?

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7 replies on “Where's The Line Between Opinion and Judgment?”

Ok, I like where you have gone with this. I also would like to contribute by stating my “Opinion”. Everyone has an opinion, and many of those who have a clear understanding how to express an opinion without drawing their readers into the belief that they are dictating their view will spur good conversation. It’s not always necessary to go too far. Good writing leaves open to opportunity for the reader to form their own opinion. Remember that opinion is made up of ones own life experiences, knowledge, and environmental influence. Judgement is far less flexible, is made from facts and rules, and a high percentage of those who form a judgment from the same set of variables (the facts and rules) should result in the same conclusion. Simply said, Judgement is not often open to Opinion. So I agree, for engaging communication we should strive to leave plenty of room for opinions, encourage the voicing of opinions, and not restrict ourselves by rules and facts…the place for that is in Law and who wants to go there, that’s not very fun…just my opinion.

I am often told “Do not judge”. I feel that I am not a judgmental person! I feel that I am very accepting of others, their backgrounds and their choices. For example, I recently commented “If I were that father, I would be pretty angry with the mother”. To which I was told “Don’t judge”. I did not make a negative comment about the mother or her ability to parent. Nor did I make a negative comment about how the father appeared to be responding to the situation. I feel that I was simply commenting that if I were in that situation, I would be upset by the mother’s role in the problem that arose (as stated by both the child and the father). Please help me to understand how others perceive opinions vs. judgments.

Suppose someone is writing an article about growing up with a Narcissistic mother, even though the mother has never been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder; only based on the daughter’s experience. The daughter writes very candidly and supports her writing with symptoms of NPD and how her mother was a textbook case. The daughter is writing from her truth, from her experience and the writing is so passionately-written, it feels stronger than her daughter having an opinion about her mother. Is the daughter using judgement? I’m confused because in this case judgement may not be a bad thing. I think “don’t judge” starts going into shades of gray, especially here. The daughter feels like a victim and wants to break the cycle of Narcissism in her family. I think by telling the daughter to not judge her mother would only further victimize the daughter. What are your thoughts?

I too think that a lot of people think that being opinionated is more likely taken as a judgement. I recently told a guy ” I think that’s a lame excuse for not paying a ticket” to which he replied that the girl had problems not doing community service because she was injured in the car accident, the main reason she got the ticket in the first place. One point he brought up was lack of transportation to which I replied but it’s not like there isn’t buses. The second point being that she was injured and could not do her community service. I didn’t finish what I was about to say because he up and left because I was being too “judgmental”. Second opinion would’ve been that she didn’t let the judge know of her extensive circumstances. She lost out on a lot of avenues by simply being complacent and not doing her diligence. Sorry not sorry but my opinions are not judging someone. Now if I would’ve said well she is dumb af for not paying her ticket. Then that would’ve been me judging her character thus judging her, or so I think, but hey that’s just an opinion of mine as well XD.

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