Every one of us knows that judging people is a bad habit. Nonetheless, we still find ourselves doing it most of the time.
There’s a certain feeling of superiority that comes from knowing that other people are guilty of the mistakes we are convinced we’re never going to make.
And this desire to be superior makes us forget to be compassionate. We fail to look at mistakes as potential opportunities for growth; instead, we only see them as simple, glaring failures.
That’s what makes judging people a very bad habit that everyone should avoid.
If you find that you have this habit, don’t fret — it’s not too late yet!
Here are the 8 reasons why judging people is a very bad habit (and what to do instead).
1) You see everything in black and white
As people, we’re predisposed to thinking in binaries—good and bad, man and woman, and everything else we can separate into two categories.
But life is so much more complicated than that.
We shouldn’t box people into two categories of good and bad. This erases the possibility of change, making us convinced that every “bad” person is incapable of change, and every good person is too perfect to make a mistake.
What to do instead: consider the shades of gray in between
When you unlearn the notion that everyone is separated into unchanging good and bad categories, you will learn that self-improvement is always possible.
In fact, no one is too far gone to be saved.
Learn that you have the potential to become a good person, even if you feel you’re beyond redemption. If you’re not satisfied with who you are today, that doesn’t have to mean you’ll stay that way forever.
So if you see someone making a mistake, learning to cut them some slack instead of judging them immediately will make you kinder to yourself, too.
2) You don’t cut people slack
Being too harsh in your judgment of others means you don’t cut people slack, even at the smallest mistakes.
People feel like they’re always treading on eggshells around you because you’re always quick to judge their character based on their mistakes
But this is not a good way to be.
There are so many nuances in our lives that often hinder us from fulfilling our responsibilities, even if we really want to.
That’s why it’s so harmful to judge someone for being late or for failing to finish their tasks. Their mistakes are almost always caused by something you can’t see and probably won’t understand.
What to do instead: be considerate of others’ struggles
More often than not, people’s mistakes don’t necessarily indicate that they’re bad people.
So before you label someone as “lazy” for being late or “irresponsible” for failing to do their tasks, perhaps you can try to ask them what’s going on first.
That way, you’ll understand the reason why they’ve made these mistakes instead of being quick to judge them.
3) You become unforgiving
If you find that you’re constantly judging people based on their mistakes, you slowly become unforgiving, even if you don’t realize it.
You’re unable to see past the mistakes people make. You fail to realize that there’s a wonderful tapestry making up the person behind this mistake, which is why you fail to understand them.
What to do instead: learn that it’s okay to make mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes, and it’s okay—yes, even for you.
Making mistakes is an essential part of being human. Wouldn’t it be nice to be offered kindness and compassion as you stumble upon some bumps in the road?
Because when you’re convinced that people aren’t more than the mistakes they’ve made, you unconsciously apply the same unforgiving attitude to yourself.
In short, you become terrified of your own judgment.
4) You become terrified of your own judgment
You know what judgmental people fear the most?
And if you’re one of them, you’re probably afraid of the same thing, even if you refuse to admit it.
You judge people so harshly—from the way they dress to the way they talk—that you end up being overly conscious of yourself.
What you don’t realize is that your perfectionism doesn’t only manifest in your relationships with other people—it manifests in your relationship with yourself, too.
What to do instead: be compassionate with others so you can be kind to yourself, too
When you practice kindness in your interactions with other people, it’s easier to be kind to yourself, too. When you forgive them for the mistakes they made, soon enough, you will be forgiving to yourself, too.
And as your judgment of others becomes a little more flexible, your judgment of yourself will also transform for the better.
5) You end up setting unrealistically high standards for yourself
When you have a habit of judging people, the standards you set for yourself grow higher and higher as you become more and more judgmental, to the point where they become borderline unrealistic.
You point out other people’s mistakes so much, even the smallest ones, that you end up unconsciously doing the same for yourself. The slightest mishap, a slip of the tongue, and the smallest bumps on the road are all failures for you.
And you need to learn that life could be better than this.
What to do instead: learn that you can only do so much as one person—and it’s okay
Even the most incredible person in the world is not capable of doing everything there is, and it’s perfectly fine.
You don’t have to know it all.
You don’t have to do everything.
You just have to be kind to yourself and forgiving of your own mistakes, and you will be fine.
6) Your friendships become toxic
Friendships bonded over gossip are the most toxic friendships you could probably have.
You always have something to talk about, but it’s always about people you hate and the mistakes they’ve made. You bond over the superiority complex you get from judging all these people.
But what do you talk about when you’ve run out of gossip?
If there is only uncomfortable silence as you run out of people to talk about, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the friendship.
What to do instead: learn to talk about more meaningful things other than gossip
The most meaningful friendships are built on a stronger foundation than a shared interest in gossip.
You need to find friends who will bond with you about the hobbies you both have, the books you’ve both read, and the genres of music you both like listening to.
Remember that the people who talk crap about others in front of you will probably talk crap about you behind your back.
That’s why having the bad habit of judging people can make you lose your safe spaces.
7) You lose your safe spaces
We all need safe spaces to learn and grow as individuals.
Much like plants, as people, we need safe, healthy environments to bloom and reach our fullest potential.
But if you’re surrounded by people who have a bad habit of constantly judging others, it can never be a safe space for you.
You might even start feeling afraid of their judgments and of how they might be talking about you when you’re not with them, without you knowing.
And when you start feeling terrified of your friends’ judgments, paranoid about how they talk about you when you’re not around, then you don’t have a safe space anymore.
What to do instead: Be kind not just to your friends but to other people as well
The most important thing everyone should do is practice kindness.
When kindness, rather than judgment, becomes a habit, we learn to love other people’s flaws instead of nitpicking them.
And when we learn to love other people’s flaws, we’re able to give them the safe space they need.
They could be their true selves without fear of judgment, and you could be your true self when you’re with them, too.
8) You will be disliked by everyone
A bad habit of judging people comes from the tendency to feel entitled to other people’s time and efforts.
When they fail to fulfill their tasks, you refuse to see the possibly valid reasons behind it—you’re just quick to think they’re lazy for not being able to give you their time.
But you’re not entitled to other people’s time. In fact, these harsh, quick judgments make you so unlikeable in the eyes of many.
You might think: I don’t care what they think! But here’s the deal—you should.
When you’re behaving badly, it’s just right that you consider what other people, especially your close friends and family, think about you.
Remember that everyone in your life also has a life outside of you.
You need to understand that just because they failed to be there for you once doesn’t mean they’re irresponsible or negligent.
What to do instead: learn to treat people with kindness
Treating people with kindness is the best thing you could possibly do.
When you’re kind to others and have the right intentions, most people will learn to love you.
And if they don’t, that’s the only way you could stop caring about what they think. Because who would ever judge a person who’s just trying their best to be kind?
Remember that it’s never a bad decision to be kind to other people, so we must practice it every time we can.