Judgmental. Nobody wants to be accused of it. If you disagree with anyone, about anything, you might be called judgmental, which is to say, you’re hateful. People say, “She’s so judgmental!” in the same tone of voice they’d say, “She kicks puppies!”
I don’t think of myself as mean, so this perception of judging as hate troubles me. It’s how I end up in socially awkward conversations.
Am I judgmental? I definitely have my own way of doing things, my own values, my own beliefs. Can I believe what I believe without ever judging anyone else?
I don’t think I can.
Even though I don’t say anything, I really do think that if a toddler is thrashing, screaming, and throwing food in a restaurant, that their parents should not ignore them and continue their meal. I think that poor child is tired and needs to go to bed. I think the rest of us would like to dine in peace, even if it doesn’t bother the parents.
Does that make me judgmental?
When a young friend complains about finances, but says she really needs this trip to Hawaii, and asks me how we ever managed on one income, I’ll tell her. When she looks downcast and tells me that I don’t understand how badly she needs a vacation, she is right. I never considered vacation a need.
Does that make me judgmental?
I think it does. I’m evaluating others based on my values, not theirs. I’m being judged, too. All the time. When I hear, “The only reason people don’t put their children in public school is that they’re racists,” I have just been called a racist. When I’m told, “All my educated friends kept their maiden names,” I realize that person does not consider me well educated.
I won’t recount here all the things I’ve heard over the years about adoption. That would take several posts. Or the assumptions about homeschoolers. Suffice it to say, people have opinions.
But are those opinions hateful?
Sometimes, yes, people are mean. No doubt about it.
More often, people are ignorant, with limited knowledge or no experience to guide them. Sometimes they’re open to learning more; sometimes not. Some things cannot be fully understood unless you’ve experienced it.
Sometimes, our critics are right.
Sometimes, our beliefs are so different that we won’t be able to see things the same way.
I think the only way I, personally, could never judge would be to never care. Then, no matter what my friends and family did, I could react as if they’d told me their favorite colour is beige. Beyond my comprehension, but inconsequential.
So why does judgmental get the mean girl label?
On Urban Dictionary, the top entry for judgemental (sic) reads
1.)A way of making ones self feel better, by hurting others. Usually caused by closed mindedness, and a lack of manners.
I don’t agree with this popular definition, but it explains the puppy-kicking tone. It’s not possible that people have reached different conclusions about life or hold different values without it being an assault on me, this definition implies. If you are not cheering me on, endorsing my every move, you are closed minded, or rude, or like to hurt people. The only motivation you could have for disagreeing with me is to boost your own sorry ego.
To judgmental me, this sounds both self-centered and, well, judgmental.
It also sounds like a demand that others be pleased with you all the time, no matter what you do.
I wonder if the person who wrote that definition was allowed to throw food in restaurants?