How to Be Less Judgmental

Опубликовал Admin
30-06-2018, 20:00
Expert Reviewed It’s easy to be judgmental without knowing you are. For example, you may think you know how everyone should look, think, and act. Oftentimes, thinking you have everything figured out can give you a sense of comfort; however, being judgmental can prevent you from making new friends and trying new things. Fortunately, you can learn to be less judgmental by changing your perspective, broadening your horizons, and keeping an open mind.

Changing Your Perspective

  1. Embrace positive thinking. A negative mindset can lead to judgmental thinking. Try to see the positive aspects of every situation, rather than the negatives. When you catch yourself having negative thoughts, challenge them. Then, challenge yourself to pick out something positive.
    • You can still be realistic while being positive. You don’t have to ignore negative aspects, just don’t focus exclusively on them.
    • It’s okay to have bad days. Forgive yourself on days when you are feeling down and negative.
    • Having a positive attitude can improve your life in many ways!
  2. Separate people’s individual actions from their personality. Sometimes people will do things that you find abhorrent, such as stealing someone’s lunch money or cutting in a line. Although their actions may be wrong, it’s important not to judge them solely on one action. They likely have positive qualities that you haven’t seen yet.
    • Consider that their actions in that one moment may be driven by a circumstance you don’t understand. For example, they may have stolen the lunch money because they haven’t had a meal in 2 days.
  3. Notice when you're judging. Nip judgments in the bud by identifying how and when you’re thinking about other people. When you catch yourself having critical thoughts about someone, ask yourself how you or they benefit from those thoughts. Then, offer a compliment instead.
    • For example, you might catch yourself thinking, “That girl needs to lose some weight.” Challenge that thought, asking yourself why it’s your business. Then say something nice that you noticed, such as, “You have a beautiful smile!”
  4. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Every person is a unique individual with different talents, skills, personalities, and life experiences. Additionally, people are shaped by their upbringing, including where they grew up, how they were treated, and their living conditions. As you get to know people, try to imagine yourself in a similar position. Even if you may not have made the same choices, accept that they have a right to make their own decisions.
    • For example, a person you consider to be too needy may have grown up without a supportive parent. Similarly, a person that you believe has not applied themselves enough academically may have prioritized earning money to help support their family.
  5. Find common ground. Whenever you find yourself tempted to judge someone who is different from you, look for commonalities rather than differences. We all have something in common because we’re all humans! This will help you see them in a positive light, rather than one clouded by judgment.
    • Casually mention a few topics until you find something that you can both talk about and be interested in. This will help you realize that people aren’t so different from you.
  6. Be grateful for what you have. Appreciate the good things in your life, especially those that have helped you get to where you are in life. Celebrate your friends, family, health, opportunities, relationships, and how you grew up. Recognize that not everyone has had the same benefits that you have had, so judging them for living differently is unfair.
    • If you feel tempted to say something negative about someone, take a deep breath. Instead, wish them all of the luck you’ve had in life.
  7. Show compassion. Being compassionate is the opposite of being judgmental. Instead of judging people and thinking bad thoughts about them, try to empathize with a person and to really try to imagine what that person is thinking or feeling. It won't be easy to go from thinking bad things about people and wanting the best for them, but this transition is possible. Focus on wanting to give people what they need and to help them out instead of wanting the worst for them.
    • Compassion is also one key to happiness. If you want to be a more compassionate person, then you have to have positive feelings toward people and the world.

Broadening Your Horizons

  1. Be curious. Curiosity is a great tool for overcoming a judgmental attitude. When you would normally think judgmental thoughts, instead explore your curiosity about something you don’t understand. Let yourself see possibility instead of something wrong or different.
    • For example, you may see someone cut the line at the lunch counter. Instead of judging them to be a rude person, consider if they might have a pressing appointment or have a health issue.
  2. Step out of your comfort zone. Actively seek out new experiences that are different from the things you normally do. At first, this may be scary, but it can also be a lot of fun! Invite a few friends to join you as you try new things. Here are some ways to step out of your comfort zone:
    • Use a different mode of transportation to get to work.
    • Try a cuisine that you’ve never sampled.
    • See a movie with subtitles.
    • Go to a religious service outside of your belief system.
    • Do something that scares you. Stand on top of a tall building, go mountain climbing, or eat raw fish.
  3. Hang out with a diverse group of people. Making an effort to hang out with people who are different from you in many ways can help open up your mind. Whether your friends are different because of their race, culture, religion, interests, class, ideas, hobbies, careers, or whatever else, being around people who come from a variety of backgrounds and have a variety of perspectives can help you have a better sense of all of the ideas that are out in the world.
    • You don't have to recruit friends of a variety of backgrounds, but you should make an effort to get to know more people who aren't exactly like you. You'll only grow from the experience.
    • Befriending someone you always thought you had nothing in common with can help you be more understanding and open-minded.
    • Let your friends know that you’re interested in attending events with them, if they’d like to invite you. Say, “It’s so cool that your family moved here from Japan. I’m really interested in Japanese culture, so I’d love it if you let me know when public events are happening.”
  4. Attend an event that would normally not appeal to you. Choose an activity that you would normally think was boring, stupid, or lame. Challenge yourself to go and participate. Try to learn something new! Doing this once will let you meet more different people, understand different perspectives, and will also make you more likely to do something that will open your mind in the future.
    • For example, attend a poetry reading, salsa dancing class, or political rally.
    • Talk to the other people there and try to get to know them. If you feel tempted to judge them, remember how you would feel if they were judging you, especially since you’re not normally a part of their scene.
  5. Travel as much as you can. Traveling can broaden your horizons and show you how other people live all over the world. If you don't have a big budget, you can travel to the next town or take a weekend trip to the next state. What's important is that you'll see that there are an infinite amount of ways to live your life and that no one person is right about what to say or do.
    • You can save money when traveling by staying in hostels.
    • Make a goal of traveling at least once a year. This will take you out of your comfort zone and will expose you to a variety of people.
    • You can also try armchair traveling. Pick up a travel book about a faraway location and immerse yourself. Take it further by watching a movie based on that location.
  6. Spend a day with a friend's family. This will help you see that other families operate in completely different ways from yours. Even if you do a lot of things the same, you likely have some differences. This is okay!
    • Ask your friend to include you in a special event, such as a cultural activity or religious service. However, don’t push them to include you if they aren’t comfortable doing so.
  7. Learn something from every person you meet. Every person you meet offers value for your life because they all come with lessons you can learn. Ask yourself what each person has to teach you, whether it’s knowledge, a skill, or a lesson about yourself.
    • For example, a person from another culture may be able to share knowledge about their practices with you. Similarly, a person who has a talent for art may be able to show you a new skill.
    • Pay it forward and share something from yourself as well. Be the first to open up and share.
  8. Ask a lot of questions. This will help you better understand people and where they’re coming from. It’ll also help you expand your understanding of different backgrounds, cultures, and practices.
    • If you want to get to know a person for real, then you have to learn more about where they're coming from. You might ask questions like these: Do you have siblings? Where are you from? What are you studying? How do you earn a living? What do you enjoy doing on the weekend?
    • Don’t press the person to answer your questions. However, showing an interest in them may make them want to open up.

Keeping an Open Mind

  1. Stop your addiction to being right. Every person has his own ideas about how the world should work, and many times, those ideas are in conflict. Whether or not you’re acting from an educated knowledge base, your values will still shape your viewpoint. Others are in a similar position, so accept that they may not agree with you.
    • The next time you engage in a debate, remember that the other person may also have a valid opinion.
    • Focus on sharing your perspective without trying to change people’s mind.
    • Remember that most situations are complicated and can't be judged on what is "right" and "wrong" -- there are many shades of gray.
  2. Form your own opinions. Set aside gossip and negative information that you hear about a person, culture, etc. Challenge assumptions before making a decision about a particular person or group. Don’t let yourself be swayed by falsehoods.
    • Keep in mind that people have their own motives for sharing gossip or negative opinions. For example, a person may talk bad about someone because of jealousy, or they may share concerns about a foreign concept out of fear.
    • Think about times that you’ve had gossip spread about you. Would you want people judging you based on this?
  3. Don’t judge people based on their appearance. While it’s true that people often dress in a way that expresses who they are, that doesn’t mean that their appearance can tell you all you need to know about a person. Similarly, there are people of all different types within different lifestyles.
    • For example, don’t assume that someone who has a lot of tattoos and piercings can’t also hold a professional job.
    • The next time you go out, study yourself in the mirror. What would people think of you based on your appearance on this one day? How would they be right or wrong?
  4. Stop labeling people. Labels don’t tell the whole story about a person. In fact, they limit your perspective on them. Try to see each person as an individual. Learn to see past a person's appearance or the people they hang out with, and focus on getting that person's individual story before you jump to conclusions.
    • For example, don’t refer to people as Goths, Nerds, Jocks, etc.
  5. Withhold making judgments about people. Let people tell you who they are, rather than assuming that you already know. You are only seeing a small side of each person you meet, and if they perceive you as being judgmental, that will be a very small slice. Let your perceptions about a person change as you get to know them better.
    • Accept people on their own terms.
    • Would it be fair for the person to judge you based on talking to you for five minutes? How much could the person really learn about you in such a short amount of time?
  6. Give people another chance. Sometimes people are going to rub you the wrong way, but don’t assume the worst about them. Chances are, you’ve also had days when you didn’t put your best foot forward. Give other people the benefit of the doubt and keep negative thoughts at bay.
    • For example, the person may have been having a bad day when you met. Similarly, shy people may at first seem distant or stuck-up.
  7. Don’t gossip about other people. Gossiping spreads ill will and makes people form judgments about one another without knowing the real story. Plus, if you develop a reputation as a gossip, people will like coming to you for juicy tidbits about other people, but they won't really be able to trust you.
    • The next time you open your mouth to say something negative about someone, flip it around and say something positive. Instead of saying, "Did you hear that Annie hooked up with Jason last night?" say, "Did you know that Annie is an amazing artist? You should see one of her paintings sometime!" Think about how much better you'll feel about spreading goodwill.


  • Remember that everyone is different, and that makes the world more interesting!


  • Being judgmental can really hurt someone's feelings, just as it would hurt your own.
  • Focus on living your own life, not on dictating someone else’s.
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