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?!?!**