Do You Ever Judge Other People? Here’s What That Says About You.

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Thursdays are for sharing interesting articles about dating, relationships, sex, gender, marriage, and personal growth and this week is no different. Juliana Breines, PhD, contributed this insightful piece to Psychology Today that is well worth your time.

Entitled “5 Things Our Judgments of Others Say About Us,” it’s a useful window into dating behavior, in which we are far more likely to blame the opposite sex for our failures than to see how our realities and experiences are shaped by our beliefs.

1. If you tend to see people through rose-colored glasses…

…you might be high in agreeableness, a personality trait characterized by warmth, kindness, and empathy. Perhaps not surprisingly, agreeable people are more likely to view others positively, focusing on their good qualities and giving them the benefit of the doubt when they behave badly. 

2. If you can’t stand narcissists…

…you’re less likely to be narcissistic yourself. But if narcissists don’t really bother you, you’re more likely to have narcissistic characteristics.

3. If you judge someone’s personality based on a single behavior…

…you’re more likely to have an independent model of the self, which emphasizes autonomy and internal motivation. By contrast, people who don’t link behavior and personality as strongly are more likely to have an interdependent model of the self, which emphasizes social roles and context… It’s not that one perspective is more valid than the other, but when we tend to lean in one direction, we might be more likely to miss instances where things actually sway in the other. 

4. If you irrationally dislike someone…

…it could be because you feel envious or threatened by their success. There are plenty of reasons why we might not be a fan of someone, but when the level of scorn seems out of proportion to the offending behavior, this tells us there might be something more going on.

5. If you’re critical of someone who has a different lifestyle than yours…

…it might indicate that you have underlying doubts about your own lifestyle. 

We all want to feel good about where we are in life. So when we see someone thriving in a different situation, it can create an uncomfortable feeling of cognitive dissonance. One way our minds cope with this feeling is through a process called normative idealization which involves viewing our own status as the ideal for all people and viewing those who don’t conform to the ideal in a more negative light. 

The author cites married people as an example of normative idealization, which makes sense. However, from this dating coach’s perspective, I hear a lot of women trying to rationalize that they really are HAPPIER being single, which justifies their decision to give up on love, not date and remain alone.

The vast majority are NOT actually happier being single

In fact, the vast majority are NOT actually happier being single. They TOLERATE being single but are more petrified of dating, getting hurt, wasting time, being rejected, getting their heartbroken, or investing in coaching and discovering that Mr. Right hasn’t shown up yet. So they talk themselves into “I’d rather be single,” when the actual phrase should read, “I’d rather be single than in a miserable relationship, but I’d rather be happily married than single.”

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    sylvana

    Well, I’m sure for a lot of women, I’d rather be single than in a miserable relationship definitely applies. But it’s not just the relationship itself. A lot have probably chosen to stay single rather than continuing to spent many more years miserable LOOKING for that relationship that might make them happy. Years and years of effort, time, energy. Hundreds, if not thousands of dates. All for what will hopefully, at some point, lead to a good relationship IF you manage to lower your expectations of what a good relationship or partner entails enough. Then there’s still no guarantee that it will last (even if it manages to lead to marriage).

    Can’t say I blame those women for no longer being willing to go through all of that, rather than just focusing on other things that will bring them happiness right now (which is probably no surprise to anyone here lol). .

    For me, it was finding out just how stressed out I was in a relationship, and that even the mere thought of one stresses me out. Nice as they can be, I like solitude and peace and quiet. I like having my own place just the way I like it. I’m not a fan of compromise. I like watching what I want to watch, eating what I want, when I want, without having to plan anything. I like getting up or going to bed when I want. I like the temperature in my house just so. I like long masturbation sessions, watching porn as freaky as I like. I want to be able to tune out when I get home, not having to pay attention to anyone. I like that I have to please just myself, not someone else on top of it. I like being able to own as many animals as I want. I like making financial decisions without having to ask someone else’s permission (it’s my money, after all, and I work hard to earn it). If I want to buy that third horse or bring home two more strays, so be it.

    Most of all, I like wearing comfortable clothes (especially around the house), never having to wear makeup, do my hair, or any of that other torturous nonsense women have to go through. I love not having to worry about my looks, or being appealing to men. I love not having to try to constantly figure out how a woman would/should act/react/feel/think at any given moment since it’s not natural for me.

    Having someone to hang out with and have sex with on a regular basis whenever the mood strikes is great. But I much prefer them to have their own house, that way I don’t have to deal with them when I’m not in the mood. Honestly, I can happily go weeks without talking to or seeing another person. People are exhausting. And – well, I like variety. I have a huge range of tastes and interests in everything, including sex. Life is more fun when you can switch between men to suit whatever you’re in the mood for that day (whether that be camping, taking the airboat out, a trip to the zoo, or a trip to the museum or even opera, a fun night at the country bar or at the techno club). And yes, it’s more fun and way more productive toward getting off to have more than one men in bed at the time.

    In short, I’m totally selfish. And a relationship puts a total crimp in my style… lol.

    Then there’s my early Aries stubbornness. I can accept certain behaviors, others, not at all. And no matter how many times I’m told that it’s normal for men to act certain ways, it irritates the crap out of me, I don’t like the message it sends, and I know for a fact that it won’t make me happy, quite the opposite. Especially, seeing how I have the same response, but won’t be able to act the same way because the high majority of men will not tolerate the same behavior from a woman (for the same reasons a woman doesn’t like them in a man). And reading this blog confirms this over and over again.

    But I think Evan is correct. Most women would rather be happily married than single. But they’re tired of the heartache, the wasted effort, all the misery getting to a relationship. Then there’s the disappointment in the relationship itself. Or the failure of such. As I said before, the problem with relationships is that the outcome doesn’t depend on just what you’re doing. They depend on someone else as well. And as such, chances of the outcome are 50/50.

    1. 1.1
      jo

      Sylvana, what you wrote doesn’t make you selfish. If a person would rather be alone doing his or her own activities – as long as they’re not harming anyone else, they are not selfish. It’s only selfish if you have a partner or friend and insist that they go along with whatever you want.

      Your first paragraphs describe a very rational calculus, which every woman (and man) should work through in her head to determine if she really wants a relationship given all the costs, or if she can forge a happy life with a roommate or friends, animals, community activities and work, and/or just living alone. Right now, I have a partner, but if he were selfish or put all kinds of restrictions of what I can do, and when, and what I should wear – he would be out of my life. And I would not do the same to him. We respect and love each other too much to try to control the other. But having been with partners in the past who did try to control me – I would agree with both you and Evan: far better to strike it alone. If a large fraction of people would be controlling in a relationship, then it makes sense to go with the odds and design a satisfying single life.

      Since we don’t depend on each other as much now (where in the past, women depended on men for finances and men depended on women for childrearing and housekeeping), and now we can all do both, more and more people may choose singledom. This would help take away the stigma that further contributed to singles’ relative unhappiness in the past. And relationships, when they were made, would be more fulfilling and equal.

    2. 1.2
      MilkyMae

      “Years and years of effort, time, energy. Hundreds, if not thousands of dates.”
      Yikes. I think I know what my problem is. I don’t have a spaceship.

    3. 1.3
      jo

      Sylvana (and Emily), also, you wrote: ‘no matter how many times I’m told that it’s normal for men to act certain ways, it irritates the crap out of me, I don’t like the message it sends… I have the same response, but won’t be able to act the same way because the high majority of men will not tolerate the same behavior from a woman (for the same reasons a woman doesn’t like them in a man). And reading this blog confirms this over and over again.’

      I, too, have noticed this inequality IRL. For an example we both see, I have noticed how Emily has been chastised more than once for sharing what gives her the hots in men. To my recollection, she has never shared her desires in a demeaning way, yet she gets called out for it, in rather strong language. What is so wrong with women being intensely attracted to certain things in the opposite sex, as men do – as if we don’t get the hots as well (isn’t that a good thing), and as if we’re not allowed to act on them? Men do this constantly and don’t get chastised to nearly the same extent; if anything, behind closed doors, they get applauded. One can say that it is foolish, but that judgment of foolishness depends on assuming that the other person has the same desired outcome, and they may not. Moreover, simply sharing personal turn-ons doesn’t mean that they pursue those for LTRs.

      FWIW, I agree with a funny comment Karmic Equation made in another post about how women only get extremely turned on (out of all rationality) about once a decade, so when that happens, we may as well go for it. So I accept that men and women’s depth and frequency of physical desire are different, but that doesn’t mean that one gender should get applauded while the other gets shamed for indulging, either just as a fantasy or in real life. It is possible to not engage in double standards even while acknowledging broad physical differences. (not you, Sylvana, I know you’re a special case 😉 )

      1. 1.3.1
        Emily, to

        Jo,
        “FWIW, I agree with a funny comment Karmic Equation made in another post about how women only get extremely turned on (out of all rationality) about once a decade, so when that happens, we may as well go for it.”
        I think the key is “out of all rationality.” We’ve asked male posters on here if the same thing happens to men and they say no, but I occasionally watch “Snapped” or similar shows and it’s often some guy who’s left a good, long-term partner for a woman half his age who’s clearly using him for his money.

        1. jo

          Emily, I wasn’t even thinking that seriously (and don’t think Karmic Equation was either) about jettisoning a LTR over that. Rather, if you’re unattached and feel this strongly attracted… then go for it. But it is interesting, isn’t it, how men and women may describe the same action as rational or irrational, praiseworthy or slut-shaming, depending on whether they or someone else does it.

        2. Emily, to

          Jo,
          “Emily, I wasn’t even thinking that seriously (and don’t think Karmic Equation was either) about jettisoning a LTR over that.”
          I was just saying that men and women are equally capable of acting irrationally.

      2. 1.3.2
        Bbq

        From what I’ve seen of her (Emily to) getting called out by Evan for liking what she likes, it’s usually because she’s talking about men being mysterious types or sexy in some “dangerous” way or similar, which is fine in fantasy, but this is a relationship blog after all and most of the time the odds are against those qualities making for a stable relationship, compared to the qualities she finds a turn off. You couldn’t say the same about men liking “nice” or “caring and sweet” in women, those things are more likely to make a stable relationship.

        You are right that it shouldn’t matter what her or other women’s personal fantasies are tho, but if they’re espousing them on a relationship blog and they’re likely to lead to bad relationships then they’re pretty likely to be called out. If I were to come to a relationship blog and constantly post something like “I like bad ass biker bitches with wild pasts who can keep me on my toes – that’s what gets me going” – I’d probably expect to be called out on it by people on the blog who are mostly presumably interested in relationships in some way (otherwise why come to a relationship blog).

        So if your looking for a stable relationship and maybe marriage or family of course liking qualities that are disruptive or destructive to that in a potential mate are likely to be called out.

        Also are men really allowed to express what they really like that often in women today tho? You won’t find it in any mainstream forms of entertainment. Yet movies like 50shades and others based around women’s fantasy relationships are common fare – they cater solely to women’s fantasies, yet you’d have to have to go back probably to the 80’s and further to find anything written for the same way for men. Beyond that there is at least a touch of girl power attitude in characters even supposedly meant to be appealing to men (yet that holds no appeal).

        One last thing – men are often called out for liking the qualities they like, often by women on this very blog – even Emily to lol.

        1. Emily, to

          Bbq,
          “I like bad ass biker bitches with wild pasts who can keep me on my toes – that’s what gets me going”
          I would love to hear more about that, but I don’t think you have it in you. 🙂 LOL

        2. jo

          Second that, BBQ and Emily. Badass biker bitches sound perfect, as lovers for men and friends (and lovers?) for women.

          Not everything Emily has shared about what makes her prefer certain men is indicative of bad relationships. Most recently we were agreeing that men who manage to get tasks done, who don’t need to keep being prodded, and who have a sense of responsibility and decisiveness are hot. It doesn’t matter what they look like or how old they are. In the animal world (which includes humans), these are alpha qualities, and they are attractive to many women – most of us want men who can get things done.

          Besides, these qualities allow us to respect men, and men need respect so much that they themselves would not be happy in LTRs where women didn’t respect them. If things need to get done and we women have to resort to nagging to get men to do them, then we feel more like their mothers than their girlfriends or wives. How unsexy. I wish more men realised this. Even physically attractive men become demoted in our eyes if they can’t take responsibility for anyone or anything.

        3. Emily, to

          Jo,
          “In the animal world (which includes humans), these are alpha qualities, and they are attractive to many women – most of us want men who can get things done.”
          I mentioned my current boss who is very “can do” in another post. I make it a point of thanking him. “Thanks for getting back to me.” “Thanks for taking care of that.” I don’t expect competence because I’ve had so many bad bosses. I don’t know if it means anything to him, but I want him to know that I appreciate him and that his help hasn’t gone unnoticed. But then, he’s good to me and is very encouraging. So it’s easy to be generous with him.

        4. Bbq

          Jo

          I’m not going to get into a debate about bizzare theories of alpha men and the animal kingdom – only to say that men who are capable of “getting things done” should be pretty easy to find for women who want one. Whether or not these things are the things women feel need to get done is a whole other question – there are plenty of nags amongst women who do it more in a neurotic way when it’s totally unnecessary. If a man constantly gets all the things done women want him to do – no matter what, is he still alpha in your eyes? (whatever that is) Or a whipped wimp?

          If you’d spent more time around “badass biker bitches” (the real thing), you’d know they’re far less likely than seemingly “nice” or “sweet” women to be perfect as lovers and friends for men and women. But that’s the difference between reality and fantasy.

        5. jo

          Bbq, one of my best friends is a biker babe, and all my life I’ve had biker friends (men and women) who are some of the best, most caring people I’ve known. They’re fun-loving, they have a sense of community, and if you accept them and don’t throw harsh judgments on them, they love on you and care for you fiercely.

          (It’s probably best not assume things about other people that you don’t know. Not sure why you would think I or anyone else don’t know bikers.)

        6. Emily, to

          BBQ,
          “If you’d spent more time around “badass biker bitches” (the real thing),”
          We’re waiting for the details, dude, not cliches. Specifics. Since you know so much.

        7. Bbq

          Jo

          Your right I shouldn’t have assumed anything about your life based on your ideas about relationships, the two are not related.
          However, I guess my experience with it hasn’t shown me the same, I mainly remember a few kids dads being in prison (for assault and drug dealing – ya know, the kind of things real bikers actually do), the “bad ass biker bitch” who used to show up screaming on people’s doorsteps cos kids wouldn’t play with her (pschycopathic) kid, more recently there’s my aspiring “bad ass biker bitch” cousin, who had her new biker boyfriend show up on her ex’s door and threaten him and his new girlfriend, as well as stories of various other aquantinces. Oh and that biker guy I used to buy pot off with all the swastika flags in his house (whoops does that sound judgemental?).

          Your right there are some who are perfectly loyal, but don’t pretend that all that shit I mentioned doesn’t go on in their community often because it does and that’s a community I can do without. And before you say all communities have their good and bad – not to that degree they don’t, not unless your talking about a community inside a mental hospital.

          So then I ask myself – will a close relationship with a “bad ass biker bitch” be likely to provide a stable future that doesn’t involve me becoming part of a gang or risk going to jail? Seeing as “bad ass biker bitches” usually tend to go for “bad ass bikers” or at least be involved in organised crime (which is kind of a staple of being a real biker), I’d have to say no. Maybe you can explain otherwise.

          Emily to
          I’m not claiming to know that much, only that in general the chances of that relationship being stable or a good one to build a future in isn’t too high in my eyes. Guess that isn’t the mysterious answer but whatever.

        8. Emily, to

          BBQ,
          ” … only that in general the chances of that relationship being stable or a good one to build a future in isn’t too high in my eyes.”
          From what you’ve written, I’m assuming you’re not a biker, so it’s probably best to stay away from bikers as biking is not your hobby. Just as, if you weren’t all that family-oriented, it would not be wise to marry someone who wanted to attend their family’s Sunday dinner every week. But aside from that, I think it’s best to asses people as individuals. I think where you and I differ is that I personally look for different qualities for a short-term situation than I do for a longer one. But that’s me.

        9. Bbq

          Emily to

          How does choosing different qualities for long term partnerships work tho? Doesn’t that imply that your not actually attracted to the men you would choose as long term partners vs short term? Doesn’t that just lead to long term boredom and resentment? Wouldn’t that mean (assuming something is disqualifying the short termers from being good in the long term) both would fail as long term relationships?

          For someone who actually wants long term relationships that sounds like a impractical frame of mind to be in to me. Your right tho, long term attractive and short term attractive are both short term attractive to me.

        10. Emily, to

          BBQ,
          “Doesn’t that imply that your not actually attracted to the men you would choose as long term partners vs short term?”
          No, just not as much. Short term is all gut reaction, heat, sexiness. You’ll worry about liking the person later. Long term you actually want to like the person, right? You have a lot of other qualities to consider. Does that mean the attraction isn’t as high? Usually, yes, but any short term I’ve tried to make into a long term usually implodes

        11. In Hiding

          BBQ, I don’t tend to fret about what other people like. I couldn’t control it even if I did so there’s no point.

    4. 1.4
      In Hiding

      I’m kinda like you. Where I stop is, I don’t care if I ever have sex again. It’s not a dislike of sex ad much as it doesn’t matter to me enough to even have the occasional hook up. If I have no emotional attachment it ain’t gonna happen. The ones that could get me to consider it are not good for me anyway. So I remain free.

  2. 2
    Bbq

    Blog post: asking if YOU ever judge others.

    Replies: all about feeling judged BY others.

    Lol, what does that say about us?

  3. 3
    Mrs Happy

    To bluntly answer the title of this piece,
    Yes, I judge people non-stop, from the moment I first start interacting with them. I like to think I then continue to modify my evaluation of them based on further observations, though I suspect I don’t do that as much as I believe I do, since that’s what research suggests.

    But surely most grown adults do this? I mean, the first 20 years or so on the planet a person is new to the world and situations and circumstances. But once that’s all fairly familiar, and becomes background noise, don’t all of us start categorising each other? And if not, I’m genuinely interested, what is your brain doing when you meet new people?

    1. 3.1
      jo

      Mrs Happy, yes. Too often, we speak of judgment as if it were a bad thing (when it comes to judging others and situations), but I think it’s part of our survival instinct. Surely one of the benefits of growing older is that we become better at judging others: whether we can trust them, whether we can count on them to get a job done, whether they’re in it for themselves or are more community-minded, and whether they would hurt us or treat us well.

      There is a personality test called the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) that has four scales, one of which is J vs. P: Judging vs. Perceiving. They say that your personality type doesn’t change over your lifetime, but I think, like you, when we progress in adulthood, we should shift more from P to J (when we’re young, it helps us to perceive; when we’re old, it helps us to judge). It’s just part of growing wiser: using past experiences to inform us.

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