What is your first impression when you meet someone for the first time? What makes you think about him or her that way? Likewise, how do you want to be perceived by that person? Do you think you will come across as the way you think you are?

The following article is dedicated to my friend who was mentioned in this article and other fellow readers and bloggers who might have experienced this. 

When we form an opinion about someone for any reason, this kind of act is called judging. This judgement is sometimes right, and sometimes wrong depending on information or evidence we have. In this article, I will not talk about whether you should or should not judge someone because it depends on a situation you are in. For example, if you are interviewing a candidate, of course, you will need to evaluate and judge whether the candidate is a good fit for the company. The context I will be talking about is when you just see someone in public, on media, or anywhere for the first time. In this article, I will share with you why we judge others, and why we should slow down to judge people. When we are more aware of these, we will change how you react to others’ behaviors and communication, and we will see a better difference.

This world will be a better place when there is more positivity and less negativity, isn’t it?

Why We Judge Others

Our brain tends to make automatic judgement about people’s behaviors, which is technically called attributions. There are two types of attributions (attributions are thoughts we have about others that help us make sense of why people do the things they do)- situational attributions and personality attributions, according to psychologytoday.com. Situational attributions is when we believe someone’s behavior is impacted by situations they are in while personality attributions is when we believe someone’s behavior is a result from their personality. Which one do you think is better – situational or personality attributions?

A True Story of My friend

Let me share with you a true story of my friend. She used to be a part-time English teacher in one local English school. She did not talk much with her colleagues. She only smiled and said hi to them when she saw them. Usually, her colleagues sat and talked with each other a lot in the staff room before their classes started. However, for her, she rarely went to the staff room because she usually headed to her class directly when she arrived at the school. Because of this, she came across as being unfriendly and arrogant though she actually wasn’t. Behind this story, she had a serious family issue. Her parents divorced. Her mom ran away from her. Because she did not want her dad to have more arguments with her mom, she hid the truth from her dad and lived alone in a rental house. She was mocked by her neighbors for being abandoned by her mom. She desperately could pay her rental house, utility bills ,and her studies. She used to be a talkative person before she was hit by this trauma. She underwent a huge depression in her early adulthood. This changed her into a complete different person. She did not want to associate with people, and nor did she want to talk to anyone much. She was like a 2 different person at home and in class. With her students, she was a very active, helpful, and loving teacher, but at home, she was like a very lonely and silent girl. All she wanted to do was after working, she came back home and sleep.

One day was the day she knew how her colleagues thought about her, and it’s also the day they changed how they thought about her because one of her colleagues told her what she thought about her before. She helped this colleague who was seriously ill. It was not a financial or any physical help but an emotional help. Her ill colleague wanted to commit a suicide because she had a severe financial problem, and depression; her mother was really old. She felt she added more burdens to her elder mom because neither could she work nor take care of herself, so her mom had to sell things at the market to save some money for her illness treatment. When my friend knew her colleague was ill, she talked to her, and her colleague told her about her problems. My friend talked to her every day to motivate her despite the situation she was in. That time her colleague told her that she was wrong about my friend. She used to hate my friend so much because she did not know much about my friends, and so did other colleagues of my friends, but then she realized how kind my friend was.

You see? Had that colleague switched her thinking a bit about my friend, my friend would not have come across as being a negative person by her and other colleagues, and they would have felt more positive. My friend would have almost had troubles at work due to people’s quick judgement on her. I meant she could have been hated by more and more people at the school, failed her performance due to lack of support from her colleagues, and her reputation could have been hurt too. Luckily, they had realized what a true kind of a person my friend was and what my friend was undergoing before a bigger problem happened.

So next time:

  • when you call someone, and they do not pick up your calls, instead of getting angry, let’s think that they might be busy instead of thinking they want to avoid you.
  • when your girlfriend or boyfriend does not talk much to you, try to understand what really happens to her or him instead of assuming she or he has someone new or falls out of love with you.
  • when someone bumps into you without turning back to say sorry, instead of swearing at that person, think that that person might be in a hurry because their relative is in the ICU or that person does not realize he or she bumps into you.

By thinking negatively about someone, you can’t make things better, and you gain nothing but losing. You lose your peace of mind, happiness, money, time, energy, and health. I understand that sometimes we do not have enough time to seek to understand someone, but at least, for the sake of your well beings, be positive as much as you can.

From now onward, let’s practice switching our thinking when we see someone next time. It is hard to do at the beginning, but we’ll be able to do it. When you can’t help judging someone or thinking negatively about someone, please think about the story I shared above. I highly recommend the book below titled How to Win Friend and Influence People for you to read. It will help understand more about people’s behavior and psychology, which will help you to respond more positively and effectively to people’s behaviors.

Click here to buy the book : How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

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