You like to think of yourself as quite open-minded and non-judgmental. But…are you really?
The truth is that it’s VERY hard to actually be one.
Want to know if you’re truly a non-judgmental person?
Check out this list and find out how many of these judgmental things you’d NEVER do.
(But if you’re guilty of one or two or five, don’t worry. We’re all a work in progress. I told you it’s not easy!)
1) Checking someone’s background to “connect” better
Judgmental people—especially those who don’t want to SEEM judgmental— would like to believe they always have good intentions.
They’d want to think they’re just “genuinely curious’ ‘ or “trying to connect better” when talking to people.
They even stalk them beforehand to “know what they have in common.” But the truth is, what they want to look for are the ugly bits of a person.
They want to dig deeper to know whether the person they’re talking with is “alright” by their book because, well…they have standards.
And of course, the information they gather from their stalking and short interaction will determine whether they should keep talking with someone or not.
Some think it’s just the wise approach to meeting people, but actually…it’s a bit judgmental if you really think about it.
Why? You’re not giving the person a chance to show who they really are.
2) Listening to gossip (and thinking it’s no biggie)
If there’s one thing that judgmental people simply can’t resist, it’s gossip.
The ones who don’t want to seem judgmental think that it’s okay to listen to gossip as long as they’d never share it.
But gossip is gossip, and it’s an inherently judgmental thing to do no matter if you’re actually sharing things or are “just listening.”
After all, if you’re not judgemental at all, you wouldn’t even be interested in listening to gossip in the first place.
Non-judgemental people would rather distance themselves from people who love to gossip. Or if it’s really impossible, they’d try to change the topic.
And they’d definitely not engage the other person further by asking “Who did what?” or “So what happened next?”.
3) Using the “I have a ___ friend!” excuse
It’s incredibly common for judgmental people to invoke their friendships in order to get some heat off their back.
Someone might express their prejudice towards trans people by using transphobic tropes when they crack jokes, or by stereotyping them for laughs.
And when someone calls them out, they’d defend themselves by saying “What? No, I’m not judgmental! If I’m truly judgmental I won’t have trans friends—and I have a lot of them!”
They say it as if having a trans friend somehow makes them magically incapable of being prejudiced against trans people…which is, of course, rubbish.
A truly non-judgmental person would find it difficult to make fun of people who are already marginalized.
4) Using other people’s misfortune to comfort themselves
There’s a lot of misery in this world.
And one of the ways that judgmental people betray themselves is that when THEY are miserable, they will point at people who have it worse and go “well, at least I’m not like them!”
Someone who is truly open-minded and compassionate won’t try to comfort themselves and their loved ones by putting down those who are worse off. If anything, they’ll feel guilty if that thought even crosses their mind.
They will never look at a friend who’s single and broke at the ripe age of 50 and go “well, at least I’m not like THEM. I still have a chance to find love at 35.”
But judgemental people—even those who try to be seen as not—have no issues with comforting themselves by the misery of others.
5) Using other people’s misfortune to teach a lesson
They might point at an old store clerk and tell their kid “do well in school so that you won’t end up like that guy”.
Or they might tell their depressed brother “Move your ass or you’ll end up like our good-for-nothing cousin Peter!”
The thing with these comparisons—even when they’re motivated by a genuine desire to help other people—is that it requires the person making it to already have some kind of negative preconception towards other people.
Sadly, this is so common that many of us will have made it without even realizing that we’re being judgmental.
But the thing with non-judgemental people is that they do their damndest to always be better and will never use other people for negative comparisons.
6) Judging people and then saying “I’m just trying to help!”
Sometimes it’s when people “try to help” that they reveal their hidden biases.
They think they’re doing something good, so they easily end up forgetting that they’re being judgmental.
They might scold their child for reading “stupid” comic books instead of the classics, for example. They’ll tell them that they’ll never get places if they just waste their time reading “nonsense”.
Or perhaps they’ll just randomly tell their friend—because they’re “just being honest and direct”—that they’re too fat and they should hit the gym to finally get a guy. They do this because “real friends pull each other up”.
Many forms of “tough love” are inherently judgmental.
Of course, when it’s others’ time to “be real” with them and tell them they’re judgmental, they would throw up their hands and say “I’m just trying to help!”
They’ll try to convince you that they’ve actually got the best of intentions and how dare you question their love.
7) Speaking up when people speak out
They might think they’re not judgemental, or they might know but are trying their best to hide it.
And yet they somehow feel compelled to speak up when other people try to speak out against judgemental people.
They might say that the people speaking out are just sensitive or malicious… or that they’re making a mountain out of a molehill.
And sometimes they might be right.
But the fact that they somehow feel compelled to object when people speak out is in itself damning.
It can’t be avoided that we will sometimes have opinions on the things that other people do. Even the most non-judgmental among us will still have these kinds of thoughts.
What sets judgmental people apart from those who are not is that they will let these opinions dictate how they see and treat others.
Non-judgmental people, on the other hand, know how to acknowledge those judgy thoughts, set them aside, and bury them if needed.
It’s a matter of habit too, so if it turns out that you’re actually quite judgemental (we all kinda are to some degree)… you can still learn how to be better.
It just takes conscious effort to change and lots of practice.
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