On the Topic of Judgment

Last week I wrote a post about judgment. I don’t believe my pup should be judged because he’s a pitbull, and I am a huge supporter of the breed because they are so badly maligned by the media. The post got me thinking about judgment in general.

I recently had a conversation with two friends about a couple divorcing after more than 35 years of marriage. I’ll call the couple Mark and Sharon. One day, Mark opened a conversation with Sharon that he fell out of love with her years earlier, and doesn’t want to be married anymore.

According to Sharon, the conversation was a complete shock. 

Apparently, Mark had initiated the process without Sharon’s awareness, and had already drawn up papers splitting their things, their financials and their life 50/50. Weeks later, she learned that he had starting dating an old high school friend a while earlier. 

I was talking with two of their friends, and they had strong feelings about Mark and his behavior. They felt that while the personal relationship between their neighbors wasn’t really their business, they did feel strongly that Mark’s behavior was hurtful, and it impacted their relationship with him. “If he could behave like that to her, then he’s a bad person, and we really don’t want a continued relationship with him.”

It got me thinking about judgment, and how our behavior and our decisions influence the perception others have of us.

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Image from http://www.istockphoto.com

Several years ago, a friend told me that I’m very judgmental. At first I was surprised, but as I thought about it, I believe he was right. Growing up in the family I did, I had to learn to quickly evaluate to see if I was safe. I learned to sense emotion strongly and to judge situations. Old habits die hard, and I suppose I do judge people to determine if I will feel safe in my relationship with them, based on their behavior. I don’t do it consciously usually, but he was right. I do judge people. 

I’ve had the same thing happen to me, where I was the recipient of someone else’s judgment. I was working at a job with a bully. There were several instances of inappropriate behavior, and then I got smacked in the face with it: in a meeting with 12 other people, he started screaming at me and threw me from the room. 

I was shocked. I had never encountered this kind of behavior in a corporate setting, and immediately called a meeting with my boss and Human Resources to address it. This was the third similar instance of this behavior.

Months later, I was given two weeks notice that I was being laid off, mostly due to this and repeated incidents with my peer and the damaging things he said to my manager.

I learned that he was doing something extremely inappropriate which threatened the security of the company, and he was stupid enough to publish it in a instant message group that he invited me to.

I reported it. He got fired.

I told my friend about it, and she told me that she thought what I did was awful and that she could no longer be friends with me.

Ouch.

Was what I did wrong? I’m not sure. What I did was right for the company, however, in truth, my intentions weren’t about the company at all.

So, is it right to judge people based on their behavior? And just because someone behaves in a poor manner in one part of his life, does that mean he is a bad person?

 

2 thoughts on “On the Topic of Judgment

  1. Chanté

    Yikes! There is a LOT rolled into this post. What I will say may appear contradictory, but I believe that we are all changing and evolving everyday; we have to in order to survive. But, I do think that we “are who we are.” Some of what and who we are isn’t always the most attractive, but we are imperfect creatures, and in my opinion, we are all allowed to make mistakes.That is how we grow and evolve.

    While we all may judge (it’s an innate behavior), there are varying degrees of judgment. I try to be open-minded when meeting people, and I’m so thankful for that willingness to look behind the exterior, because had I not, I may not have met some of the most wonderful people I’ve known in my life.

    Reply
  2. samglauser Post author

    Thanks for posting, ‘Te! There certainly is a lot of complexity both with people, and how we interact with each other. This topic sure got me thinking..

    Reply

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