Life is full of situations that require us to make quick decisions and judgements. Sometimes it is for our safety such as when we find ourselves with someone who sets off our inner radar alerting us that being with them is dangerous. We make the judgements quickly that there is something wrong with this person and we need to get away from them. It is important to listen to that inner voice, especially when it relates to our protection. However, in our daily lives we often make decisions without all the facts. We become quick to react without giving the person or situation a chance. We make a judgement, jump the gun and say and do things based upon an incorrect interpretation. We may be wrong about something we think we are right about. There are enough challenges in life, so let’s figure out a way to avoid creating unnecessary ones and strive for more trust and harmony.
One of the first ways to overcome rushing to a snap judgement is to be aware of our tendency to judge. The only way to truly stop passing judgment is to know when we are doing this in the first place. A key characteristic of judgmental people is realizing that they are tuning out others. When we snap to a conclusion, we stop listening. Unfortunately, this often leads to inappropriate decisions. If we actually focus on listening to what a person says, we might draw a different, more informed conclusion. We are too concerned with proving our point instead of listening to the other person. We can avoid making snap judgement by making curiosity our default setting. When we are curious, we are open to learning and receiving information. We can pose questions that will allow us to understand the meaning of a statement rather than judging or making assumptions. We can also phrase questions so that they do not put the person on the defensive and shut down communication. Avoid stereotyping and profiling others. Try to be empathetic and put yourself in someone else’s shoes for a moment.
If we have an issue in a business dealing or transaction, we must act professionally and give the person the opportunity to respond. Being defensive destroys communication. Negativity needs to be left out of the conversation or email. Calmly discussing ways to resolve or rectify the issue often leads to a satisfactory outcome.
As we remember, girls in middle school and high school often found that judging others was a way to connect-and thus cliques were formed. This often led to bullying and belittling. There is a bond that forms when like-minded girls are similarly judgmental. Whether we were insecure, scared or needed the approval of others, we all wanted to fit in. However, we are adults now and it is time to stop this behavior. Just because someone else had a bad experience with or doesn’t like someone, doesn’t mean that you have to share the same feeling. Find things out for yourself and make your own conclusions. We need to empower one another, not knock each other down. In both our personal and business lives, it is important to focus on helping others as mentors and colleagues.
The world has changed with the anonymity of social media. We can post hurtful, negative judgement in a snap without repercussion. Add in Instagram and Twitter, and we react in seconds to quick messages and photos hundreds of times a day without thought or research. Now more than ever, we need to train ourselves to slow down, listen, ask questions and make informed decisions. Let’s try to relate to one another better and create a new societal change that embraces positivity, civility and respect.