I like to think I’m a pretty nice guy.
I never litter, opting instead to hold onto my gum wrappers and minty floss picks until I find a garbage can. I sometimes keep doors open for others when I’m the first one in a group to exit an establishment. Once, I told my boyfriend to help an old Chinese lady carry her suitcase as she walked down a flight of stairs.
That’s why it’s shocking to me when I constantly get told that I’m a judgmental person or that I’m judgy or that I’m too critical.
But aren’t these good things? Why do people call me these things with disdain in their voices?
In my English classes we’re constantly being told to think critically and come up with our own conclusions. Was it a bad thing that I used those very skills lauded by professors in the real world?
Apparently so; after all, dozens of people have let me know throughout the years.
The thing is, I just can’t help it. In a world of censorship, political correctness, sexual repression, and the like, I am one of the few people I know who is honest – often to a fault I suppose if everyone is calling me judgmental.
There, then, lies the reason why people think I’m judgmental and why I know I’m not.
Semantically, Google defines judgment as “the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.” It sounds logical enough. People often take in details and observations to come up with a decision or conclusion. And when people ask me for my opinion on someone or something, I use that judgment to tell them exactly what I think.
This apparently makes me judgmental because I don’t filter myself and I may say insensitive things that would affect, say, a person I’m talking about. This very fact of uttering the words is enough to make me a harsh and critical person in the eye of someone who calls me judgmental.
However, a good question to ask is whether anyone is actually getting hurt by my opinion. Never do I tell people the truth about themselves because the truth is often ugly. If Person A asks me if Person B’s nose is large (and it is), I’ll say yes. But if the same Person B were to ask me whether their own nose were large, I would deliver a more diplomatic response knowing that a yes would likely hurt their feelings.
What matters, then, is intent and consequence.
I am judgmental in the sense that I have eyes and I can see that Person B has a large nose and will tell the truth when asked about it because I believe in honesty.
I am not judgmental in the sense that I am overly critical and shallow and aim to hurt people with my conclusions because I would never pick out what people are most insecure about and use it to disparage them.
And as part of my judgment; I would love for readers to think about the intent and the consequences of their actions before they jump to their own conclusions about people. Often, things are a lot more nuanced than they appear.