I’ve been chided in the past – by friends, acquaintances, and people who don’t necessarily fit into either category – for what has been described as my sometimes judgmental personality. I’m sure you too have on occasion been instructed snappily, “Don’t judge,” immediately after being made privy to some bit of personal news or information that – let’s face it – calls for just that.
So what are people so afraid of when they say this? And if other people’s judgment is enough of a pressing concern for these people that they feel the need to make a disclaimer before revealing what is presumably confidential information, why do they even bother sharing what they have already logically predetermined to be judgment-worthy information in the first place? I’m getting a headache.
The thing is: I don’t necessarily see the problem with judgment. If we assume said friend/acquaintance/other is sharing this information with you to glean some sort of objective third party perspective, doesn’t that inability to see one’s own dilemma objectively inherently indicate that something is probably off-kilter? And doesn’t the objective advice this person is requesting naturally imply a belief by this person that you possess a sort of better judgment than that which led him/her to his/her predicament to begin with? As I always say to anyone within earshot: the only people who worry about being judged are the people who have already realized they’re about to do, or have already done, something stupid.
I’m sure it’s never pleasant to hear “Wow, you’re a slut!” after divulging details of your one-night stand with the overly-tattooed 22-year old barista you met playing darts at the bar last Tuesday night. Nor do I think it’s easy to stand there under the condemnatory gaze of your gainfully-employed friends after telling them you’ve quit your well-paying job to create abstract collages from public restroom accessories. But the fact remains that, consciously or not, you are sharing this information with these people for a reason. You WANT their judgment. You may, in fact, NEED it.
Assuming the person with whom you’re sharing this nasty bit of business isn’t some stranger off the street, chances are you think this person can offer value to your thought or decision-making process. So don’t get all bent out of shape if the bit of good advice you seek comes with a small price tag (namely: a momentary assault on your dignity). Own your decisions. And certainly don’t be apologetic for them. Unless, of course, you’re thinking of sleeping with that overly-tattooed, 22-year old barista playing darts at the corner of the bar on a Tuesday night. Dangit, there I go again being all judgmental.