If you display these 9 behaviors, you’re being judgmental without realizing it

Being judgmental is not a good quality.

We all judge one another from time to time. Being judgmental means being way too quick to judge others, especially in a negative way.

The trouble is, it’s such an easy trap to fall into.

We have a tendency to think that everyone’s life is more or less the same as ours, and therefore we judge the choices that they make based on what we would do.

But the truth is, you never really know what other people are going through. What looks like a relatively easy and simple life from the outside can in fact be complicated in ways most of us can barely imagine.

A good way to avoid being judgmental about the lives of others is to recognize that tendency toward judgment in yourself and stop it before it can begin.

Keep an eye out for these behaviors that can show you you are being judgmental without even realizing it.

1) You gossip

You know you do. We all do.

Gossip is part of human social life, just as it probably was for our hairy ancestors.

In fact, noted anthropologist Robin Dunbar once wrote a book called Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language, in which he argued that gossip about our primate social groups was a major factor in the origin of human language.

In other words, gossiping is part of who we are as humans.

However, it’s easy for gossip to go too far. Talking about other people behind their backs can destroy their reputations, and have serious consequences for their mental health if they ever find out.

If you find it impossible to resist sharing the latest juicy morsel of gossip you’ve found, it may be because you’re being judgmental.

Although it can be fun to talk about other people, especially in a negative way, it’s important to remember that you are not living their lives for them.

You don’t know everything that’s going on with them, so actions that don’t make sense to you may make perfect sense to them.

2) You jump to conclusions

Part of being judgmental is jumping to conclusions.

In other words, you see a person behave a certain way, and you jump to a conclusion about what that says about them as a person.

Psychologist Katharina Star breaks down jumping to conclusions into two different categories: mind-reading and fortune telling.

Mind-reading “assumes that a person can tell what others are thinking without having any evidence to back up those negative assumptions,” Star says.

And fortune telling means “predicting a negative future outcome or deciding that situations will turn out for the worst before the situation has even occurred.”

Notice that both of these varieties of jumping to conclusions involve making up your mind without having all the facts.

The reality is, we rarely have all the facts about other people’s lives. It’s hard enough having all the facts about our own.

And when we assume that we know other people’s lives and all the factors that contribute to the way they behave, we are being highly judgmental.

3) You don’t consider different perspectives

How often do you take the time to think about things from a point of view completely different from your own?

If you’re like most people, the answer is, not often.

After all, it takes a considerable mental effort to put ourselves in other people’s positions and think through all the nuances of what they may be dealing with. It’s easier not to think about their perspective and instead judge them by our own views.

It is important to remember that not everyone feels the same way as you do. Not everyone has had the same life experiences, and so their perspectives and opinions will necessarily be different from yours.

It would be a more boring world if we all thought the same thing. And being willing to consider different perspectives is one of the best ways to avoid being judgmental.

4) You overgeneralize

Another key to judging others harshly is to generalize.

This is another common human trait. After all, the world is easier to deal with when we can break it down into broad categories. But reality is rarely that simple.

This kind of lazy thinking is part of what contributes to negative social phenomena such as sexism and racism.

Instead of seeing other people as unique individuals, we take a look at one or two of their characteristics and decide that tells us all we need to know about them.

This kind of overgeneralization can easily lead to being judgmental, so it’s important to recognize it when it happens.

if someone uses these superfluous phrases theyre probably overcompensating for something If you display these 9 behaviors, you're being judgmental without realizing it

5) You give unsolicited advice

I’ll admit, I’ve been guilty of this from time to time. It’s a tendency I’m trying to overcome.

It’s normal to have opinions on the way other people conduct their lives. But it’s often not helpful to give unsolicited advice. Even if someone comes to you with complaints about their life, it doesn’t mean they want your advice on how to do things better. They may just want some sympathy.

You may think that your advice is intended to help. But often, offering advice to someone they haven’t asked for is just another sign that you’re being judgmental.

6) You dismiss other people’s ideas

We all have our own ideas and opinions. And often, those ideas seem so obvious to us that it’s amazing that other people don’t agree.

The truth is, what seems obvious and like common sense you will not seem that way to somebody else. Just as their views, which are just a sincerely held as yours, don’t necessarily make sense to you.

It takes patience to be accepting of other people’s views, especially when you don’t agree with them.

But if you’re tempted to assume that other people’s views are automatically inferior to yours just because they are not yours, it’s a good sign you may be getting judgmental.

7) You speak in absolutes

As Obi-Wan said in Revenge of the Sith, “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.”

Of course, that statement is itself dealing in absolutes.

When you use phrases like, “people always…” or “you never…”, you’re falling into the same cognitive trap.

As counselor Ugo Uche writes, “absolute beliefs are simple, easy to comprehend, and false positives that offer us a false sense of security.”

They are also completely wrong.

Humans are complex creatures, and for every rule you might try to formulate to describe their behavior, there will be some exceptions that will make the rule meaningless.

It may seem easier to group people according to simple beliefs about their behavior. But it’s just another way of being judgmental.

8) You have high standards

It’s fine to have high standards, especially when it means holding yourself to a certain level of behavior.

But things get a lot trickier when you start applying those standards to other people.

The truth is, we are all different. We all have different skills and abilities, and those differences show themselves in the ways we behave.

What seems obvious and simple to you can be anything but that to the people around you. So judging other people by your own standards is a bad road to go down.

Remember that other people are fallible humans, just like you. So if they fall short of your high standards, maybe it’s the standards themselves that need to change.

9) You blame others for not meeting them

This is the other side of having high standards that leads to being judgmental.

Remember, not everyone agrees with your standards. What seems like the right way to behave to you may not seem that way to others who had a different upbringing or different life experiences.

And yet, we are all too quick to apply our own standards of behavior and conduct to other people who never asked for them.

Here’s the thing: no one is obliged to meet your standards of behavior.

It’s fine for you to apply standards to yourself, but when you start applying them to others, you are heading down the path to becoming a judgmental person.

Judge others a little less

Judging others is an unfortunate part of human psychology.

And there are cases where it’s appropriate, where the behavior of other people crosses so many boundaries that it would be crazy to try and pretend it isn’t wrong.

But in most circumstances, the right and wrong way to behave are up for debate. In most situations in daily life, it’s a matter of opinion.

So try not to judge others too harshly. After all, we all do things sometimes that other people could judge us negatively for.

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

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