Advanced search

What's wrong with being judgemental?

(47 Posts)
Smitff Thu 05-Oct-17 19:43:31

I sometimes have moments of complete blind ignorance, when I just don't get something other people find totally obvious. But I've been on MN for years and have seen countless times posters saying or implying that being jusgemental is A Bad Thing, and I just don't get why.

Aren't we all making judgements about everything and everyone all the time? Isn't that how we get through life? Assessing the rights and wrongs of situations, conundrums, problems, behaviour etc? Learning from them and about ourselves in the process and moving on to do better?

I understand if people jump to conclusions without knowing all the facts. Obviously not a clever thing to do. But generally speaking people on this site set out their problems, try not to drip feed, and seek opinions. That's what most of this site is for.

What's so wrong about judging, here or IRL?

Ttbb Thu 05-Oct-17 19:48:43's not very nice? It's also a bit arrogant. 90% of the time you don't really understand what you are judging (yes, that's aimed at childless people who come out with nuggets of wisdom like just wean or don't feed him anything else until he has eaten what you have given him and then look at you while your eye twitches manically from the effort of suppressing a very loud 'no shit! I never thought of that!). The other thing to be said about judginess is the spirit of it. On MN a lot of people get very judgey in a joking way but a lot of people on the receiving end don't realise.

Aquamarine1029 Thu 05-Oct-17 19:53:17

Of COURSE we should be judgemental over things that matter, like someone's character or behaviour. To not be is to have no standards.

BuddingGardener2017 Thu 05-Oct-17 19:54:32

Would you like to feel judged? In real life? I know I wouldn't. You can reflect on something you've seen happen and imagine how you would like to do it if it happened to you, but you have to acknowledge that you might end up doing the same in their shoes. More kindness, less judging, I say!

BulletFox Thu 05-Oct-17 19:55:11

Depends what you mean; I have quite a laissez-faire attitude towards life, except for when people are invading my territory or it's extreme behaviour, and would go along with a quote by Kierkegaard 'to label me is to negate me'.

On the other hand judgements can save you time as it's an automatic filtering process

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Thu 05-Oct-17 19:56:42

What if it were your character or behaviour being adversely judged, Aquamarine?

Thing is, people generally have very little information to go on which makes the judgement moot. Doesn't stop them exercising their right to blether on though.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Thu 05-Oct-17 19:57:57

Agree absolutely with BulletFox; lots of things don't affect me and I don't have the information anyway to judge.

Smitff Thu 05-Oct-17 19:58:09

Thanks. I get that judging when you don't know what you're talking about is, well, idiotic and pointless.

But often here, and IRL, common sense situations arise where people behave in ways that we wouldn't. Don't we all judge?

Classic MN example: parent is judged to fall short as a parent for feeding the child sugary cereals for breakfast, 5 days a week. If I read this on here, i think "not great, I wouldn't do it, but who knows, maybe her kid just won't eat anything else and she has the same shitshow I do every morning getting her kids to school on time". That's my judgement. Am I arrogant? What's wrong in thinking that?

Smitff Thu 05-Oct-17 20:00:33

This is what I don't get Budding.

Being judgmental and being kind aren't mutually exclusive imo. And I'm sure that people are judging me all the time! I'm sure because as I say, don't people do it all the time??

BuddingGardener2017 Thu 05-Oct-17 20:01:02

Aquamarine I think there's a difference between "judging" against standards ("she was rude") and judging eg. parenting. The first decides if a behaviour was acceptable to you or not, the second implies that the person is not as good as you because of their behaviour. We probably all have unconscious bias in the second group but we should try to check ourselves when it happens.

BuddingGardener2017 Thu 05-Oct-17 20:04:56

Smitf I would say that thinking "that's not great" is your judgement but "maybe it's all he'll eat" is you checking yourself and being kind. When posters on MN hoik their judgypants, I don't think they go through step 2 of your process, and that's what's considered bad.

Smitff Thu 05-Oct-17 20:10:25

So if I said "not great, maybe she's just lazy and can't be bothered to get out of bed in time to organize a decent breakfast", would that be not ok?

What I'm getting at is, whether the truth of the matter is (1) the kid won't eat anything else (2) the mum's bone idle lazy and the kid is suffering for it, I'm judging. Why is (1) ok judging and (2) bad judging? I haven't don't anything different, it's the judgee who has done different things. Why should I curb my judging if the person is bone idle lazy?

greendale17 Thu 05-Oct-17 20:11:36

I'm with you OP

RoseWhiteTips Thu 05-Oct-17 20:15:47

...yes, that's aimed at childless people who come out with nuggets of wisdom like just wean or don't feed him anything else...

Hmmm. I judge you for using "childless" when everyone knows the correct reference is childfree.

BuddingGardener2017 Thu 05-Oct-17 20:17:39

Ok, I do get what you mean, but in (1) you've chosen to assume the good in someone and in (2) you've chosen to assume the bad which I equate to kindness/unkindness. So you are right that judging and kindness are not mutually exclusive, but if you accept that you don't have all the facts, I think the "kind" action is to give the person the benefit of the doubt smile

tippz Thu 05-Oct-17 20:18:42

EVERYone is judgemental, and they are lying if they deny it.

PandorasXbox Thu 05-Oct-17 20:19:15

Everyone judges. Some do it openly and others pretend they don’t.

BuddingGardener2017 Thu 05-Oct-17 20:23:26

Isn't it the same as other unconscious bias like race - lots of studies into that. We all do it but we can work on being aware we are doing it and stopping it because it's a negative thing? OP wanted to know why it might be considered a bad thing - that's my explanation.

BulletFox Thu 05-Oct-17 20:24:53

I always find it helpful to have someone say their story rather than just designate a label to themselves; e.g. if I met someone and they said 'I'm a gambler' I'd think 'oh...ok then, you're a gambler' but if they tried to explain the processing behind it and described how it was a release/thrill/pain whatever I'd listen quite intently.

It is true though that you accumulate certain triggers throughout life and things people say might make you feel uneasy, especially if you have past experience. It's worthwhile being kind though as none of us are perfect

rogueantimatter Thu 05-Oct-17 20:25:08

How about this for a response? I can't imagine giving a child sugary cereal every day as healthy eating is a priority for me, but everyone has different priorities and maybe the poster is great at other aspects of parenting that I'm not so good at.

KarateKitten Thu 05-Oct-17 20:27:15

The problem is that people judge unfairly and with no understanding or empathy. Judgments are usually loaded with bigotry and racism and sexism and a will to put another person down.

So it's important, critical! that everyone spends a lot of time and energy trying to be less judgemental in life.

Smitff Thu 05-Oct-17 20:28:20

I'm still missing it Budding, I don't think I'm explaining myself well enough. (And I don't mean to pick on you btw, you've just got the closest to an answer so far!).

I'll try it like this: let's assume we have all the necessary information to reach a conclusion. Posters often start out with "so as not to drip feed...". Scenario is explained, opinions sought. Some opinions fall into a "kinder" category. Some opinions don't give the benefit of doubt and are more brutal. Why is the latter deemed worse? If both are opinions on the same facts and both stack up as reasonable judgements to make, why is the latter deemed A Bad Thing?

If the mum in the previous example is simply bone idle lazy, why should people hold back from judging her as so?

Eolian Thu 05-Oct-17 20:29:27

People use the word 'judging' to mean different things though. Whereas 'judgmental' tends always to be meant negatively.

When people talk about judginess on MN, it is pretty obvious that they mean nasty, unnecessary, unkind judginess which shows a lack of understanding and empathy for other people or their problems. They don't mean that you can't use your judgment to decide whether things are right or wrong.

60sname Thu 05-Oct-17 20:30:30

A quick Google tells you that 'judgemental' means 'overly critical'. We all judge, it's the extent and maybe also whether the subject is aware it.

Rose surely childfree is voluntary and childless is not?

Smitff Thu 05-Oct-17 20:31:22


You've exemplified my point: what you say simply doesn't follow. Just because some judgements made by some people are founded in bigotry or sexism or whatever, doesn't mean all judgements should stop. Surely not?? Some guns kill children ergo no guns should ever be allowed? Some opiates are addictive and lethal ergo all opiates should be banned?

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: