The Damaging Effects of Being Judgmental

Nov 25, 2019

Photo by Steve Harvey on Unsplash

I was in the car when a friend of mine jumped into the back seat.

Almost immediately after shutting the door, he said, "Okay, can we take a minute and talk about those guys?"

We had just spent a weekend away at a bachelor party for a friend of ours. As with many bachelor parties, there is often an amalgamation of different friend groups coming together to celebrate a common cause.

This bachelor party weekend was no exception.

In fact, I already knew (and was well acquainted with) half the people in attendance. The other half, however, I was only meeting for the first time.

And to be honest, I didn't like them very much.

Now, I'm not going to get into why I didn't like them - those details are irrelevant.

But once my friend hopped into the car and opened his mouth, I knew that I wasn't the only one feeling the way I did.

At first, I was a bit relieved. I felt a sense of belonging and acceptance upon hearing his harsh criticisms of the others at the weekend getaway.

But it wasn't long before I had gotten my fill of connection. I began to feel intense discomfort with what my friend was saying.


It's not that anything he was saying was inappropriate. To be honest, I agreed with almost every judgment, diagnosis, comparison, insult, and put down he had.

What had me feeling uncomfortable was a lingering thought. It went to the tune of, "is he also judging me?"

That's all I could think about for the rest of the conversation: was this friend of mine speaking poorly about me behind my back?

Whether he was doing this to look good, or to make himself feel better, or to vent his frustrations, or for any other reason... In the end, I'm left wondering whether this person is secretly judging me behind my back.

Have you noticed this with people in your life, particularly the ones who tend to express many judgments of others? Do you find yourself hesitating to share things about yourself in anticipation of them possibly bad-mouthing you the moment you leave the room?

How we show up in one area of life is often how we show up in other areas of life.

This may not be a new concept for you. If you're showing up late to dinner with your friends, you're probably showing up late to work. If you're doing incomplete work in the office, you're likely doing incomplete work with your taxes. It may not always be so straightforward, but you get the picture.

And if you're judging someone behind their back, you're definitely doing that to others. Here is the lesson for myself: the next time I'm thinking of speaking poorly of someone who is not around, I will think twice. It's important I recognize the larger impact of how I am showing up to others around me.

Have you had a similar experience before? How did you feel hearing someone being judgmental around you? Have you caught yourself as the culprit of the judgments before? What actions will you take moving forward? Please comment and let me know!


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