6 things judgemental people say to others because they’re insecure

Dealing with judgmental people is a pain, I won’t deny that. 

Whether it’s a critical co-worker, an overly opinionated relative, or that one friend who always has something negative to say. 

It can be frustrating. 

But what’s worse is when you’re not even sure if someone is really judgmental or if you’re just sensitive. 

As a recovering critic, I know a thing or two about pushing people down. Not my proudest era, BTW. 

There are just phrases judgmental people tend to use because they know it’ll hurt you. 

And I’ve rounded them up!

If someone is judgmental due to their own insecurities, they’ll probably say something like:

1) “That looks ridiculous!”

Judgmental people often criticize what others are wearing or the things they like. They’ll say something looks ridiculous or even ask why anyone would like it. 

They tend to form negative opinions based on their own biases. Sometimes, they also say mean things just to assert their views

You shouldn’t take it personally – ever!

This behavior usually stems from a lack of empathy. 

Kind people might say something like this instead:

“It’s not my style.”

“All that matters is that it makes you happy.”

“I’ve never understood why people like this. What’s the appeal?”

We’re all unique and have different preferences. Judgmental people don’t get this and aren’t open to learning.  

Their own insecurities also make it hard to see someone who’s happy and confident despite going against the norm. 

This is also why they’ll say things like…

2) “I would never do something like that. It’s so silly.”

When a judgemental person who’s also insecure sees someone doing something different or unusual, it can trigger their insecurity. 

Sometimes because it challenges their own choices or beliefs. 

Other times, they’re envious that they don’t have the guts to be as bold or fearless. 

Their insecurities are like a nagging voice in their head that makes them feel threatened. 

To cope, they often resort to judgment. 

For them, it’s easier to call something “silly” or criticize it than admit they have low self-esteem. 

Kinder people don’t tear others down to feel good about themselves. So, they’ll say something like this instead:

“That’s a really unique approach. I’m glad you have the confidence to express yourself so boldly!”

“I’ve never understood this hobby. Would you mind explaining it to me?”

“That’s interesting! But I prefer…”

Judgmental people will use any opportunity to reinforce their choices and way of doing things as superior. 

So, if whatever you do ends up working better, they’ll also undermine your achievements by saying something like…

3) “Well, you got lucky this time.”

You should never let this get to your head, though. These responses are typically rooted in jealousy. 

Insecure people need to maintain their own self-esteem. 

And paired with a judgmental nature, they can quickly belittle or downplay your accomplishments to steer attention away from their shortcomings. 

Judgmental people are often also competitive. They have a desire to feel like the best. 

So, if you’re winning and they’re not, they’ll diminish what you’ve achieved. You might hear remarks like:

“Anyone could have done that.”

“At least you got it right this time. Remember that time when you…”

“I don’t really understand what’s so great about that.”

They could also ignore your achievement and not acknowledge it at all. Which is equally hurtful. 

A kind person will congratulate you and even express if they desire to achieve the same one day. 

4) “You’re just like…”

Insecure people feel like they fall short. So, when someone triggers those feelings, they might lash out with a negative comparison to regain a sense of control. 

For example:

You’re arguing with your insecure boyfriend, who also has a judgmental side. 

You might point out that he often comes home late after promising not to. If he knows this is true, it could be triggering. 

Let’s say you don’t have the greatest relationship with your mom because she’s narcissistic. 

He might say something like: “You’re just like your mother! Always trying to control what people do!”

It’s a defense mechanism, really. 

By putting you down or comparing you to someone who’s hurt you, they temporarily mask their own shortcomings. 

It’s like saying, “I may have my issues, but at least I’m not like that.”

Someone who is emotionally mature and non-judgmental will listen to what you say and acknowledge if they have a problem. 

If someone continuously treats you this way, you should reconsider your relationship. 

5) “Do you really think that’s a good idea?”

When a judgmental person is jealous of your potential or simply lacks understanding, they’ll try to cast doubt on your plans. 

Their judgmental nature could make them criticize or question your ideas or decisions without understanding your perspective. 

The thing is, they mostly view their own opinions as right, and if they don’t like or agree with what you believe, they simply see it as wrong. 

The other issue is often their insecurities. When they see someone else taking risks that they wish they had the confidence to take, they feel inadequate. 

So, the best way to temporarily eliminate these uncomfortable feelings is to put others down. 

Kind, non-judgmental people will have a supportive approach, even when they don’t understand where you’re coming from or going.

They’ll say stuff like:

“I don’t really get it, but it sounds interesting! Could you tell me more?”

“I’m sure that approach could work, but have you considered these challenges?”

Non-judgmental people ask questions to get clarity or offer constructive advice

They never shut down ideas for their own benefit. 

6) “You’re so (insert negative adjective)”

Calling someone a derogatory term is one way to deflect criticism away from yourself. 

And judgmental people use this defense mechanism to protect their own self-esteem. 

You might hear them say something like:

“You’re so lazy. Why can’t you ever do something productive?”

“You’re so incredibly naive if you believe all that nonsense.”

“Why are you always such a know-it-all?”

These phrases are usually driven by a combination of insecurity and a desire to feel superior. 

But they’re damaging to relationships and a form of bullying. 

No one should ever criticize another person to elevate themselves. 

Non-judgmental people who actually care about others would say this instead:

“I know it can be hard to get going. But taking small steps is better than taking none. 

How about I help you get started?”

“Everything you see and hear isn’t always what it seems. I know you trust and believe easily, but I think you should ask more questions here.”

“I love how you always know everything, but sometimes it’s great to listen and learn from others too.”

Of course, judgmental people could use these phrases as a mask, but generally speaking, they lack respect and empathy, so the chances are slim. 

After you’ve learned not to take everything people say personally, you’ll have a pretty easy time discerning when someone is judgmental or helpful. 

Although, it doesn’t really matter what they are. As long as you remember, judgmental people are usually insecure. 

And what they say has everything to do with them and nothing with you.

Picture of Natasha Combrink

Natasha Combrink

Nats is a writer who loves creating content for purposeful brands. She enjoys spending time outdoors, crafting, and diving down rabbit holes. After rediscovering life, she wants to help others live to their full potential. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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