This series of posts have been about judging people, i.e., reaching decisions or assumptions about people or their actions before you meet them and sometimes after you meet them.
Judging people is a bad habit and the person most harmed by judging is you. I admitted in the earlier post that I used to judge people all the time and I did it as a defense mechanism. But from reading personal growth books, I grew into accepting myself as I am and learned to truly accept other people the way they are. However, I still sometimes catch myself judging so I implemented some strategies to counteract this tendency. If you have a tendency to judge other people these strategies will help you:
1. Realize you are judging. Recognizing you are doing something that will harm you, which judging does, is the first step toward stopping it. Tell yourself to stop and immediately do so!
2. Be open-minded. Put away your personal views and ideals about people. Views and ideals are like noses; everyone has one and, quite frankly, your views are just that – your views. They are not gospel. When you are open-minded, you will see and appreciate the rose not the thorns. In other words, you will see the value of the person.
3. Introduce yourself first. Let your guard down first and say hi. This will let the other person know you value him or her enough to speak to them. Your action will also help put the other person at ease.
4. Focus on the other person. Repeat the person’s name once you hear it. This not only will let the other person know you were paying attention, but also will help you remember the name. (I know it helps me!) If the person gives you a business card immediately read the card. Compliment or congratulate the person on his or her position in their company because it took hard work to reach that position. If you don’t get a business card, find something to genuinely compliment the person about.
5. Connect with the other person. Find a common interest with the person by asking questions and listening to the answers. Let the other person talk and don’t be so hasty to jump in. I must admit this strategy is the most challenging one for me because I’m naturally outgoing and talkative. I have to literally bite my tongue and tell myself shut up and let the other person talk! An excellent book about connecting with others is Everyone Communicates, Few Connect by John C. Maxwell. It really helped me.
6. Ask the person. This strategy is particularly useful for a person you know, or rather think you know, as we talked about in Part Two. Very often in life you are placed in a situation or have a need where you must talk with another person or get another person’s input. Because you are not comfortable talking about the situation or need, you assume the other person’s response and act on that assumption. In other words, you don’t actually talk to him or her. When you do this you are not according the other person the respect they are due as a human being. You wouldn’t be very happy if someone disrespected you this way. Bite the bullet. Talk to the person. If need be, let the other person know you are nervous talking about the situation, then listen and respect their response.
I hope this series added value to you.
Question for Comment: How has this series help you? Do you use any other strategies to stop judging people?