Judgmental vs. Good Judgment?

Judgmental.  Just typing that word conjures up all sorts of negative images.  I don’t hear it being directed towards me all that often (although that may change after this post!), but I do “see” it a lot in the blog world.  People getting upset for others’ “judgmental” comments or “judgmental” remarks, people being accused of being judgmental in their posts.  You know what I’m talking about – “She’s so judgmental.” “Ugh, he is such a judgmental person!” “How could you be so judgmental?!”  I don’t think that I’ve ever heard of someone being called “judgmental” in any sort of positive light.

I can understand why.  Judgmental has two definitions – (1) of, relating to, or involving judgment, and (2) being characterized by a tendency to judge harshly.  The 2nd definition is certainly the one most people think of and use most often.  When someone is called “judgmental”, it typically isn’t because the person calling them that thought, “Yep, what they said relates to judgment, all right!”  Nooo, they’re thinking, “What. a. bum.  How dare they presume to tell me that what I’m doing/thinking/saying is wrong?!”  You disagree with someone’s choice, tell them that you disagree, and bam!, you’re “judgmental”.  Of course it’s usually not as simple as that, is it?

I have to say it – I judge.  I look at things, hear things, think about things, and then form a judgment about whether that “thing”, be it a lifestyle choice, action, or thought, is right or wrong.  I don’t know how people go through life believing that we’re supposed to remain in a neutral, on-the-fence position.  It seems completely obvious to me that I should form judgments – I should say, “Yes, this thing is right, and that thing is wrong”.  Because guess what?  Some things are right and some things are wrong, and a discerning person endeavors to know the difference.

I could really delve into the whole “but how do you know when something is right or wrong?” issue and share my views on whether “what’s true for you may not be true for me”, but I’ll save that for another post.  Let me wrap up with this important point – I may form a judgment, but that doesn’t mean that it’s OK for me to take my judgment and hurl it at someone in a cruel, insulting, or just plain petty fashion.  I may disagree with you and think that you’re wrong, but it’s not permissible for me to be mean about it.  I’ve seen cases where people read a blog, completely disagree with the author, and think that this is some sort of open entry for making a comment that is harsh, hurtful, and makes the blood boil. Yeaaaah, that’s not alright.

Here’s the other thing – choose your battles.  If you disagree with someone’s post, you don’t have to make an issue about it.  I’m guessing that 9 times out of 10, they’re not personally attacking you, and even if you think that they’re dead wrong, it’s their blog.  You came to read their opinion, not yours.  If you don’t like what they say, please, at the very least, hold your tongue (or fingers!).  If you still feel that you have to say something, be civil.  Do you really think that someone is going to be open to seeing your side of the story when you start out by attacking them?  I’m guessing not.

No, I did not write about this topic because someone called me judgmental (although I have been accused of that in the past).  I wrote about this because I’ve been seeing the word pop up a bit more frequently online, and it’s got me thinking.  I wonder if people really know what that word means.  Personally, I’m very-very careful about using that word.  More often than not, it seems like people just use it as some sort of thinly veiled insult.

So, my lovely readers, what do you think?  Have you been accused of being judgmental?  Have you accused others of being judgmental?  I’m curious as to what your opinion is on the subject!

**PS – anyone else out there going to be watching the South Carolina game tonight?!?!**

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9 thoughts on “Judgmental vs. Good Judgment?

  1. I am judgmental. I admit it. I’m not going to agree with every thing every person says. Usually if I don’t agree with something they do, I just don’t comment on that post. It’s not my place to be negative to them just because I don’t agree. I sure wouldn’t want people to treat me that way so… Good post.

  2. I really like this post! I actually pride myself on being a non-judgmental person in the “overly harsh” sense, but I absolutely do exercise my ability to make judgments daily.

    For example, I’m not going to “judge” someone who might choose to dye their hair hot pink and wear 80’s inspired clothing. Who am I to say what’s right or wrong with that? BUT, I will absolutely judge someone who does things like verbally abuse their children in public, smoke around infants, have a bumper sticker on their truck that says “My other toy has tits” (oh yeah, that one was parked right in front of my house!), etc… I judge those people because I know what they’re doing is wrong on a certain level.

    So yeah, even in my liberal, accepting, “I love everybody” mind, I still make judgments about what I think is right vs. wrong, and for people to act like they don’t is just a big fat lie.

  3. I feel a word we use less is opinion. I grew up learning I can have opinions, but maybe I should keep them to myself. I think this is a policy that has helped me out a lot in life. Unless someone is actually wrong – as in as misinformation or is breaking a law – you’re completely entitled to your opinion and me to mine. I’m happy for you to state your opinion as long as you don’t try to shove it down my throat. I like when people promote conversation (not judgy arguments). If you don’t care for my opinion, ok. It’s like people who don’t care for a certain tv show and want it off the air. Change the channel! I guarantee that what works for one person will not necessarily work for others. I think the way we phrase things has a long way to go also. I can say – “I think we should all eat beef only one day a week.” You can take that or leave it – I’m not the boss of you. Why do we have to fight about this point? Sorry – I got long winded. I like this topic.

  4. I totally, 100% agree with you! I will admit that I can be judgemental but I never acuse someone else of being judgemental. Unless I’m talking to a really good friend and we’re just joking around. I think people need to think about what they do and say before they do it. Great post. Thanks = )

  5. I love, love, love this blog post! I am trying so hard to not be so judgmental. In extremes, it is really ugly and I just don’t want to be like that. Thankfully, I haven’t had to many nasty blog comments. Just one telling me I was fat 🙂 Ha!

  6. I’ll be watching the game. Go Gamecocks.

    Now… since having the baby I’ve gotten quite a few judgmental comments. And they were judgmental. Someone told me I was silly for giving up breast feeding since I want to lose weight and breast feeding is obviously the way to do it. I hadn’t even mentioned weight loss in the post, but it was just something she thought she could throw in there for me.

    Then the same person told me last night that I shouldn’t neglect my smaller dog on walks. Then asked if I wanted my smaller dog to get fat. Yes, I obviously want Fiona to get fat!

    Anyway– I agree with you. It’s my blog and people come to my blog to read my point of view. I don’t go to their blog to give my point of view.

    I know that I judge people, too. But I don’t tell them or write to them and let them know what I think. I also try really hard not to talk about them with others. I think judgment is an impossible thing to avoid. You immediately have thoughts– “snap judgments.” I just don’t want people to share their negative judgments of me with me. It’s only hurtful.

  7. I don’t think that we have the right to judge people, to say “That person is evil” or “That person is a bad person”. But I do think that it is acceptable to judge a person’s actions as being either right or wrong.

  8. Yep… BIG difference from being judgemental & HAVING good judgement… but thing is too we have to remember, we have NO right to judge anyone ourselves… that’s hard to do, but something we all need to remember…

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