There Are Two Ways To Judge People — Both Are Useless
We all do it. You do it. I do it. Your friends do it. We judge.
At the grocery store, we silently judge people waiting in line. We secretly rate our family members by how much they support us, our friends by how fast they call us back and our coworkers by how cocky they are. But we also make more subtle judgement calls. Ones we’re barely aware of making.
When we eat, our gut signals to us what’s safe to put in our mouths and what’s not. When we meet someone new, we can instantly tell if they’re attractive or not, without having knowingly sorted them into either category. When we’re in danger, we make split second decisions about where to jump, which corner to turn. Much of this is natural. It allows us to exist.
Judgement, both conscious and unconscious, is a fundamental part of the human experience. We all do it around the clock because it’s a necessary function of moving, acting, and living in a dynamic world. And while we can’t do much about the beliefs we form without actively contributing, we all have our own systems of how we evaluate others.
Sadly, most of those systems are fundamentally flawed.
Actions Or Intentions, Which One Is It Going To Be?
How we judge others is mainly affected by how we’re raised. The two most commonly ‘taught’ approaches are based on how people interact with us: one on their actions, the other on their intentions. The goal of either is to make human behavior comparable.
When you grow up in a home where little emphasis is placed on outcomes, where you feel that your best is always good enough, chances are, you will hold others mostly to their intentions too. Your boyfriend got you a terrible gift? No problem, it’s the thought that counts.
If you’re raised under the motto of “actions speak louder than words,” however, it’s usually the result that matters. No second-place trophies. You either showed up to your friend’s birthday, or you didn’t. You score the client or you don’t.
Both systems have their advantages and drawbacks, so it’s hard to declare one superior to the other. Placing importance on intentions allows you to be patient and kind, while focusing on actions…